More Musical Memories

All songs are important.  Of course there are songs that stick out more than the others, but I have a brain that makes connections through music.  (Actually, I’ve heard that we all do, but mine is more keen to it.)  Any song I have heard is special to me in some way, weather I have bad thoughts about it or good.

The best way to figure out what songs are the most important to me now is to look at my “Most Played” list in the iTunes.  Lately though, I have been downloading songs that I want to have with me all the time regardless of wether I have a copy of it stored somewhere else.  There is a Paul McCartney song that keeps popping up in my head called “Great Day” and it’s very catchy.  I want to hear it all the time because it has a simple message that the day that you are having is in fact going to be a great day so take it a and make something of it.  He says that it “Won’t be long” which  is I think the qualifier for a good day.  The ones that matter are the ones that are suddenly over and you’re looking back on the memories you made bittersweetly.

Supertramp is not a band that I would say I am a huge fan of.  I like their songs, but their repertoire isn’t filling my playlists.  But the one song of theirs that never tires me is “Give A Little Bit”.  That song is just what I want to say to someone that I love.  It perfectly describes how I feel when I love someone.  All the person has to do is just give a little bit and I’m in.  I don’t want to describe all the great lines in the song that speak to me right now, because I would just be writing it out in its entirety.  It would be much more effective if you just put it on and thought of me as you listened to it.  Then you would know how it is that I love.

Again, we’re getting into a territory that I have covered many times before.  Music saturates my life so much that I cannot narrow down my favorites list to just three.  There are too many good songs with good memories.  If we’re talking about bad memories, though, there is the classical piece by Ravel titled “Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavane for a Dead Princess)” which electronic artist William Orbit wrote an arrangement of and was later remixed by Dutch trance guru Ferry Corsten.  I listened to that song at a very loud volume after my friend Charles died and I cried my eyes out.  He was the one that introduced me to electronic music and gave me that song.  I suppose now it’s not necessarily a bad memory, more of a beautiful and somber memory, and I cannot help but think of him whenever I hear it.  The music swells and I am swept away in it every time.

The hardest part about musical memories is that they take a long time to go away.  If I want to get rid of them, I have to wait until the vinyl has dust on it.  Only then will the memories’ echoes become faint and not dampen the enjoyment I wish to feel from them. Some of you may not understand what I mean by all this, but the most intimate connections I make with people are through music.  That’s why I wish it were easy to reset your brain after a breakup so you can restore the factory seeings or at least time machine back to before you knew that person.  Those imprints are harder to get rid of than the physical things they leave behind.

The Soundtrack of My Life

It was the summer of 1998.  That was the summer I started combing my hair differently.  That summer I didn’t go to see my dad in California until later in June instead of right after school was out.  And that was the summer that both my parents and my best friend Aaron’s were out of town the same week.  I didn’t have a car, so I stayed with Aaron and he drove me to and from work.  My shifts ended at 10pm, so there was still time to go out and do something if we wanted to.  I think we went bowling one night, or at least that was suggested.  I know we went several places, because in the car we listened to “Abbey Road” the entire week.  I had borrowed the cassette from a friend and copied the entire album on one side of a blank.  The other side was James Taylor’s Greatest Hits, but whenever that came on, Aaron just pushed fast-forward until it switched over to the other side.  That’s still one of my favorite albums.

Another song that takes me back, way way back, is “Endless Summer Nights” by Richard Marx.  It was around 1987 or whenever it was I was in Kindergarten.  My mom probably had that cassette in the car, among others, and as I listened to it over and over again, my lovesick little mind would think of my girlfriend April.  She was my first ever girlfriend and she dumped me for my best friend . . . twice.  And speaking of April, she always smelled strongly of perfume, probably her mother’s, and every time I unexpectedly get a whiff of that smell it stops me dead in my tracks.

It’s funny what memories stick, really.  For some reason one that comes to mind every time I listen to “Liberian Girl” by Michael Jackson is the time my buddy Phillip and I were in his garage drinking grape Hi-C and “working out” on his dad’s weight machine.  We were rocking the entire album because I had the cassette on extended loan from my friend Tony from up the street, but that’s the song that stands out the most.  I love that whenever I bring it up, Phillip remembers exactly what I’m talking about.  We seriously thought we were so cool pumping iron out there.  Odds are, we were doing all the exercises wrong, but we were having fun and that’s what’s important.

I could go on.  Being a musician means that there’s always a song to go with a memory.  I got it from my parents who used to drill me whenever a good song came on the radio.  “Who sings this?” they would ask, and I’d shout  “Phil Collins!” or “The Beatles!” or “Farris Bueller!”  (Until I was much older, I thought Farris Bueller sang “Twist and Shout” and “Donke Schoen”.)  There are many songs I have heard throughout my life that I can tell you what I was doing the first time I heard it or a time I listened to it and it had special meaning for that moment.  The first time I heard “Space Oddity” by David Bowie I was on the way to the Sacramento airport.  At church camp, my friend Karl an I had a yearly tradition where we’d sing “Be Our Guest” over hot chocolate after the midnight hike on the last night.  Now that I think of it, it probably would have been more appropriate to sing it at the beginning of camp . . . but what are you gonna do?  And of course there are always the songs that have popped in my head every morning that I have overslept and been late for something since I was in grade school.  There’s “Time For Me to Fly” by REO Speedwagon.  And let’s not forget “I’m In A Hurry” by Alabama.

So honestly, there are too many songs to cover them all here, and there will be more to come.  Why just today, I was listening to “Back In the High Life Again” by Steve Winwood and thinking how much I have always loved that song.  That’s one that doesn’t have a specific memory tied to it because when it’s on, I am just in that moment enjoying it.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Transporter.”