Riding the Bike with One Pedal.

Music of our Lives

We’re putting together a mix CD at work, and every employee needed to submit three songs for consideration; it’s something we’ll play during an upcoming event.

Three songs. It’s a lot of pressure. Kind of like those mythical genie wishes – you sure as shit don’t want to waste one, even though Justin Timberlake is kinda cute and he makes all those catchy tunes with Timbaland, because the next thing you know, your street cred is in the sewers.

Here are the three I picked:

Weezer – “Heart Songs”. What makes this one FABulous is that it references a jillion other songs IN it.

Cake – “No Phone”. One of my oldies-but-goodies, was my ring tone for a long time. I hate the phone. I love Cake.

Snow Patrol – “Set Fire to the Third Bar”. I am 99% positive this won’t make it onto the compilation. It was a tough decision, this #3, because I really, really, really wanted to use a Pete Yorn song, except all my favorites sort of convey the notion I’m going to put a plastic bag over my head & take a bath. Doesn’t really say “Party”. Unless you’re Jerzy Kosinski, of course.

Anyway. All this reminded me I hadn’t finished my playlist, over on -wait for it- playlist.com. You can make a 100-song playlist, using social networking. God I love the internets. Unfortunately, some of my songs aren’t the actual songs they purport to be, so I paste this player in here with a cautionary warning – some of the quality levels suck, and I need to wade back through it all and scrub it and buff it and maybe change the order a little bit. But I did, way-back-when, also start writing WHY I chose each song – I moved through my memories and what songs really resonated for different times in my life, and so, even if the tunes don’t naturally flow from one to the next, they all carry a thread for me. I’ll start sharing those descriptions below, to be continued….


* Hey Nineteen — Steely Dan – first song I ever heard on pop radio. I wasn’t supposed to listen to THOSE stations. I snuck into my parents’ bedroom and knelt by my dad’s clock radio, carefully noting the NPR station’s dial position so I could return it. I soaked up all the words and sounds, and then, out of fear, re-set the radio and crept back to my room. My rebellious years of subterfuge and disobedience had begun.

* The Pretender — Jackson Browne – I remember my father bringing home “Running on Empty”, on vinyl, after a trip to Madison, WI. He bought every album Jackson Browne made, and we memorized the lyrics. This was one of the songs that blew my dad away, and I remember his face, listening to it.
* You Can’t Always Get What You Want — The Rolling Stones – I also grew up with the Stones, and pored over their album covers, because they were so cool. My father also reminded me of the message in this song repeatedly, something I can’t claim to have fully accepted yet in life.
* Love Is Alright Tonight — Rick Springfield – What can I say? My first heartthrob. Once I was finally allowed to listen to Devil Radio (not out of any religious concerns, Dad just found most pop music to be “junk”), I became enamored with Rick Springfield. Loved the movie “Hard to Hold.” That soundtrack was one of the first cassette tapes I bought.
* Romeo And Juliet — Dire Straits — Another staple in our household, Dad loved Dire Straits, and I loved the lyrics to their songs. I thought this was such a romantic song when I was a tween.
* Little Red Corvette — Prince — First time I heard this, I remember being in my room, alone, waiting for my parents to come home from a wine tasting. As I listened to the words, I realized, “This is DIRTY!” and I loved it.
* Caught Up In You — .38 Special — Reminds me of High School. At the advent of music videos, we made our own to this song. I still remember my outfit for the video.
* Photograph — Def Leppard — High School again. We did a lip-sync performance to “Pyromania” and I went nuts on my wooden painted guitar. I still remember the shock on the teacher judges’ faces.
* Idiot Wind — Bob Dylan — Probably one of my father’s favorite artists, and a large chunk of mental real estate in my brain is devoted to Dylan.
* China Girl — David Bowie — I didn’t even know what David Bowie looked like or who he was, but I loved this song.
* WANNA GO BACK — Eddie Money — Another HS crush.
* Turn Me Loose — Loverboy — Oh god, pass the red leather pants. And keep on workin’ for the weekend.
* Billie Jean — Michael Jackson — Back when Michael was himself, utterly fascinating, talented and the biggest thing to hit the universe.
* True Colors — Cyndi Lauper — This song would one day define how I would feel about my husband, and she would be one of the best concerts I’d ever see. At the time, I loved the ballad and all of her fun music.
* Private Eyes — Hall & Oates – Which one from this duo could you spend the rest of your life with? I loved them both, with a slight edge to Oates. Must’ve been the clapping.
* The Reflex — Duran Duran – Which one WASN’T I going to marry? I don’t think I had a lot of discernment at this point in my life. While Simon was the obvious choice, there was nothing wrong with swapping eyeliner pencils with Nick, either.
* The Glamorous Life — Sheila E — My theme song for graduation. I so wanted out, out, out. And to live…the glamorous life.

1 Comment

  1. Becky

    The Reflex — I love that song — it used to be one of my favorite exercise tunes. I agree on Michael Jackson – when he was himself, he was so good (my favorites are Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough and Wanna Be Starting Something). I’ve never been known for my music tastes, so most of mine would be from the 80s.

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