Music has meaning for most of us.
My boyfriend plays drums for a well known local musician and he is quite possibly the only person I know that doesn’t get anything from lyrics. He’s simply a human metronome. I can watch and listen to him play drum solos over and over all day and it fascinates me because frankly I have no sense of coordination. I can barely ride my bike without falling off.
I on the other hand, drive him nuts with music. In the car I’m constantly singing and dancing emphatically or I’m humming during thoughtful songs and looking out the window. One of his favorite things to ask me is:
“Who sings this?”
(Insert my response here)
“Then let them sing it.”
Don’t be mad at him. It’s our little joke. Sometimes though I wish he’d actually listen to the words. It’s not always just the words that get to me. It can be the mood a song evokes or maybe I was somewhere and a significant life event happened while that song was on the radio.
With that being said, let me serenade you with 10 songs that will always hold a place in my life. Who knows, maybe you’ll even like one of them.
White Flag by Dido
Wow. As I’m writing this piece I’m playing these songs to get the feels. This song represents a time in my life when I used to travel with a distributing company many, many years ago. Instantly I’m taken back to that casino in Reno, NV where I met a British transplant who checked me in at the hotel. I couldn’t even tell you his name now or the name of the casino but I certainly remember him. Truth be told he spent the night with me in my room and I was late to my meeting the next morning.
Two months went by and we had arranged to meet up again when I came back to town for work. This time at his place. I met up with his estranged girlfriend first. I watched her through his bedroom window as she mainlined heroin while sitting cross-legged on his floor. I turned, grabbed my bags and sadly walked away with tears in my eyes, never speaking to him again. For months after flying back home to Texas I listened to this song over and over. I still am not sure why but Dido always reminds me of that time in my life.
Louisiana Saturday Night by Mel McDaniel
This song holds so many memories of my son. I’ll tell you right now that there is nothing cuter than watching a 3-year old playing air fiddle and singing these lyrics. It was the first song he learned all the words to as well.
Everytime I hear this song I think of that one day in the kitchen when it was on the radio and he went at it like a pro. Up until he was about 12 he would still look over at me and smile when it came on the radio. He remembered too. I’m sure he still does but it’s not cool to play air fiddle anymore. At least not in front of me.
Come On Eileen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners
This could possibly be the most hated song by everyone I know. Seriously. I can count on one hand the people I know that say, “Oh I love that song!” Mostly I get eye rolls and cringing faces as if ears are bleeding across the World.
However I first heard this song while driving the back roads of Tennessee after meeting one of my brothers for the first time. No, my brother is not a creepy foreign guy wearing overall’s and chasing some chick named Eileen talking about how his thoughts verge on dirty. However, this song reeks of that first meeting and the feelings I had while watching the kudzu whiz by my car window as I played this song over and over. Some might say liking this song is why I see a psychiatrist.
Oh well. Too-ra-loo-ra, too-ra-loo-rye-aye!
Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond
This song. This. Song. I’m 6-years old. I can still smell the inside of my dad’s ’84 Chevy truck, laying my head on his lap while we drive, listening to this 8-track over and over. I don’t think the reason this song means so much to me needs anymore explanation. Thank you dad for this.
Hold On We’re Going Home by Drake
Before T-Rex I took care of my first ever pediatric patient “C”. She was 16-years old and on Hospice. These days being on Hospice doesn’t necessarily mean that you are bound for the grave immediately. That’s exactly what we all thought except God had other plans.
“C” became very ill and once home from the hospital I showed up for my shift one evening and her 15-year old sister was outside crying. I sat down with her and told her that I had just heard a song I really liked. She asked to hear it. It was this song. After the song was over she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “She’s going home.”
Rest in Peace “C”. You’re home now.
3×5 by John Mayer
One of my first trips alone with the company I used to work for was to Covington, KY. (I love that little town.) I stopped somewhere in Arkansas at a Wal-Mart and decided I needed new music for the trip. I stumbled upon John Mayer. Never had heard him before. As I’m driving through all these states and seeing the beauty of them, I’m thinking I wish I could take pictures to share with everyone when I got home. Then this song took over and I realized that not every adventure you go on needs to be captured on film or an electronic device.
Some experiences need to only be held inside your mind’s photo album. Not everyone sees the same thing that you do when you look at that sunrise. This song comes to mind a lot during my life since then. Not every moment needs to be blogged about or recorded for later.
Other Side Of The World by KT Tunstall
Pretty much anything KT reminds me of when I first met Bobby. Once again I’m walking through a store and stumble upon a collection of CD’s and the album cover to “Eye To The Telescope” caught my attention. I played it for Bobby one night and he was instantly in love. Just as I was instantly in love with him.
We have spent many nights sitting on the floor of his bedroom with only the glow of Christmas lights strung from the ceiling, drinking from a bottle of whiskey. Me singing and him playing drums with his hands, on his legs. 5AM comes quickly when you’re enjoying good music with your soul mate.
Black Horse And The Cherry Tree by KT Tunstall
Long before I knew who KT Tunstall was, I knew this song. My dad was going downhill healthwise and we used to take long drives on Saturday’s just enjoying the wind through the windows and music on the radio. Black Horse And The Cherry Tree quickly became one of my dad’s favorites.
Imagine a 75-year old man singing every lyric to this song. I have to say, I’m pretty damn proud that I could turn my father on to music like this. More memories that will forever be embedded in my mind.
Wide Awake by Katy Perry
Pretty much sums up how I feel about my life for the past 4 years since being diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. Katy Perry empowers me. Despite what people may think about her, most of her songs are about empowering yourself. Being the best version of you.
Fix You by Coldplay
As my father was dying in my home and I sat there in the room with him I played this CD over and over. By this point he was unconscious but would always attempt to open his eyes when this song played. I tried to fix him but couldn’t. So I’ll just let Coldplay finish this one for me.
Writing this piece has brought many memories and feelings to the surface for me, but it’s been cathartic. I encourage you to make your own list of the top 10 songs that you will listen to for the rest of your life. At least look up a couple of favorites on YouTube and enjoy them. Even the ones that make you cry have a way of cleansing your soul.