A friend from college recently posted on Facebook about a project recently launched by The Guardian called “Six Songs of Me.” The objective is for people to name the significant songs that are part of the soundtrack for their lives in six different categories. My friend’s choices are here. Keep reading for my own selections and thoughts on the project.
1. What was the first song you ever bought?
“Cool it Now,” by New Edition
I’m not really sure if it was the New Edition cassette that was first (yes, I said cassette) or Hall and Oates “Big Bam Boom.” Both were released in 1984 and it’s even possible that I purchased them both at the same time. I’m pretty sure I made the purchase at ALCO and it was one of the first times I had actually spent my money on something. Up until that point I would save any money that I had. I recall being very nervous and worried that I was making a mistake. Turns out, I liked both albums A LOT and kept playing them over, and over again. If you’re wondering how I know I was at an ALCO, I grew up in a small town so it was either ALCO, Pamida or K-Mart. I have a one-in-three chance of being correct.
2. What song always gets you dancing?
“(It Must Have Been Ol’) Santa Claus,” by Harry Connick, Jr.
I know. A Christmas song is an odd choice for the song that gets you dancing, but this one gets me moving every time. There was a Christmas television special that Harry Connick, Jr. did back in 1994. I tried to find the video on YouTube but was unsuccessful. If my memory hasn’t failed (which at this point in my life, it has several times already) they were in a log cabin complete with snow falling outside the window, a roaring fire in the fireplace and a baby grand piano (which all snowed-in cabins have). During this song, he and his band got up and started parading around the room while singing. It struck me as funny and now every time I hear it I start parading around the room, too. Happy Ho! Ho! Ho! to you!
3. What song takes you back to your childhood?
“In My Room,” by The Beach Boys
Really it’s not just one song that takes me back. One of the greatest things I remember about growing up is that there was always music in our house. Yes, my mom liked Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond and Mannheim Steamroller but it was the Beach Boys and the Everly Brothers that I connected with the most. Whenever I hear one of their songs, I’m able to vividly picture sitting in my room – the desk, the bed, the posters on the wall, etc. When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing what a 4 minute long song can trigger in your memories – which I’m sure is the point of the Six Songs of Me project.
4. What is your perfect love song?
“When I Fall in Love,” by Nat King Cole
When I sing along to this song, there is just something inside of me that resonates “this is what love feels like.” Of course, when you have lyrics like “when I fall in love, it will be completely” then you know you’ve got a serious love song. Yes, if you clicked on the link, you were just Rick-rolled. We all have those songs/artists that we are embarrassed to say we like. Well, it turns out I happen to like Rick Astley. That being said, the Nat King Cole version is better – but they’re both better than the Celine Dion version.
5. What song would you want at your funeral?
“Harry’s Game,” by Clannad
I don’t know why I picked this song. It’s just the first one that popped into my head when I thought about death. There’s a haunting quality about the song that evokes several different emotions. It did bring some interesting thoughts that I’ll save for another post about friends and acquaintances and who would actually attend my funeral.
6. Time for the encore. One last song that makes you, you.
“Homecoming,” by Green Day
Actually, it’s difficult to pick only one song from the American Idiot album. When I go on bike rides, the album what I have playing. I find myself able to lose myself in the music and use the driving beats to pedal faster on uphill climbs. I chose Homecoming specifically for some of the lyrics that describe how I felt through much of high school, college and even some today. “Nobody likes you. Everyone left you. They’re all out without you havin’ fun.” For right or wrong, growing up I felt very lonely. In high school & college I was active in sports and music and was involved, but I didn’t feel like I had any friends. I’ll save the psychotherapy for another post, though.
What does it mean?
As I mentioned above, it’s really interesting what memories come flooding back when you hear different songs. This project actually brought back so many, I find myself overwhelmed by thoughts, feelings and memories (both good and bad). What this project doesn’t take into consideration is that it’s almost impossible to narrow it down to one song for each category. If I was overly ambitious, I would sit down with my iTunes account and song by song chart what memories come back. There’s no doubt I’d end up with the complete story of my life in 4 minute increments.