So I stumbled upon this great little article on npr the other day, all about the music you listen to and how it defines you. I’ve always been such a music lover, and my tastes have changed and grown over the years, so this struck me as a particularly interesting exercise. The task? Name six songs that define You by answering the following questions:
1) What was the first song you ever bought?
2) What songs always gets you dancing?
3) What song takes you back to your childhood?
4) What is your perfect love song?
5) What song would you want at your funeral?
6) Time for an encore. One last song that makes you, you.
Actually, when I first read the questions, I was intimidated. There are so. many. good. songs. How to pick? How to remember the very first song I ever bought? How to sum up myself in one song?! I realize this might take me far more time than I should devote to it, but I’m going to do it anyway….
“You Outta Know” by Alanis Morissette
Apparently my memory is not great because I do not remember the first song I ever bought. Perhaps because there have been so many??? I do know that the very first CD I ever owned was Hootie and the Blowfish’s Cracked Rear View. C’mon. Don’t judge. I was in middle school in the mid-90’s. Hootie was hot and I was all about my Top 40 radio at the time (still am, on given days). But that was a gift, so my best educated guess would be Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album. I know it’s one of the few I had in both cassette and then later CD form, so obviously I was pretty keen on it. Truth? I’ve always loved Alanis. Pretty sure I have every one of her albums. Favorite line from one of her songs? “I’m thirteen again; am I thirteen for good?” I so have those days!
“Seventeen Years” by Ratatat
I am not a fan of techno or electronica. At all. But a few years ago, a music buff friend burned a ton of mp3s for me and to my surprise, this little gem by Ratatat became an instant classic on my playlist. There are no lyrics, just a ridiculously catchy beat that gets me going very time. Seriously. I have been known to throw my arms over my head and full on jam out to this track, even when I’m on the elliptical!
Young at Heart
“Ripplin’ Waters” by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (slow start, but the audio is there)
Growing up, my mom would blast music on Saturdays when we needed to clean the house; it’s a wonderful trick for turning not-so-fun work into enjoyable activity and I plan to use the same tactic with my own children. We listened to all kinds of late 80’s/early 90’s artists like Wilson Phillips and Michael Bolton. Lots of classic rock, too, including The Eagles. But what really sticks out would be The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. I loved the tape we had and am pretty sure that I stole it when I left for college (sorry, Mom & Dad! I promise I’ll get you an updated replacement soon!). My favorite track, “Ripplin’ Waters,” stands out because, duh, it has my name in it. :
20+ years later and I didn’t even have to look up those lyrics; they are with me always, calling to my inner-child and daydreamer.
“You and Me” by Dave Matthews Band.
Wow. This one was hard. There are way too many good love songs. I picked this particular track because it speaks to where I am with love at this point in my life. Ben and I have been married for six years now and parents for three of those. We are a great partnership and the best of friends. Although we don’t get much time to ourselves these days, we both still believe that together, we can do anything. This song celebrates that and also speaks to the goals we have for our babies….we work every day in hopes of teaching them how to fly through this world with grace, awareness, and, of course, love.
“Darlin’ Do Not Fear” by Brett Dennen
I need more Brett Dennen in my life; that’s why, when my life is over, I want to leave my family and friends with some of his music. Dennen’s quirky voice, infectious guitar, and thoughtful lyrics get me every time. They make me wonder and they often make me smile, and isn’t that what saying goodbye should be all about? Remembering the person while smiling and celebrating the life that was? I sure hope that is how it can be for my loved ones. And maybe this song will help them get there by reminding them that they don’t need to fear what is next for me or for them. The worries will pass and the troubles they won’t last; you can bet I’ll be doing my best to make that happen for them in this life and the next.
“Bad Bad World” by Guster (if you can, watch this video; it gets me all misty-eyed every time I do!)
I don’t know how I could complete this list without including a song from Guster. I’ve listened to their music more than anyone other band’s, so of course they are part of Me. I love this song in particular because it is all about misconceptions. For as much bad news we hear/see/read, and as negative as some times can get, there is still beauty and peace and love out there. I believe you get what you give. I’m working every day to put out a little more good than I did the day before. That’s not always easy to do, and some days I don’t quite make it, but I bet that if I just keep trying, I won’t be disappointed (especially with good music to help me get there).