I was just listening to Sarah McLachlan’s “Wait” from the Fumbling Towards Ecstasy album. I had it in cassette form before I was forced to buy the CD. My friend Kim and I played it endlessly in 1994. Every time I hear a song from that album, I’m 16 all over again. It feels good.
As I get on in my years, I have found the amazing impact music has had on me. I don’t play instruments, except for a brief stint on the piano, yet my life seems categorized by the music that shaped it. Uploading old CDs and mixes to iTunes, to purchasing old school music that brings me back to my youth, most of my memories are defined by a song or album.
For example, when Whitney Houston died and her music was playing on the radio again, I was immediately brought back to the days when my girlfriends and I would belt out tunes from The Bodyguard soundtrack. Whenever I hear Nelly’s “Let it Ride” or Destiny’s Child’s “Bills, Bills, Bills,” I’m back on the road with Schro, trying to find something to do in our boring hometown.
The list goes on. Jay Z and Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” is my song with B; where we’re dancing at my wedding or he’s rapping it to me in the car. Blessid Union of Souls’ “I Believe” takes me back to high school with Lisa because the song has her name in it and at the time, we thought that was the coolest thing ever.
There are so many songs that remind me of people who are no longer a large part of my life or who made it a living hell. When “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” gets going, I’m back in college with my girls, “rolling our Rollies in the sky.” Kristine is always on my mind whenever I hear anything by Tori Amos. Guns ‘N Roses’ “November Rain” reminds me of Allan, my first boyfriend. And Bille Myers’ “Kiss the Rain” transports me back to the days I hung out with Hannah. Sophie B. Hawkins’ “As I Lay Me Down,” unfortunately reminds me of Karl, and Rush’s “If I Could Wave My Magic Wand” was the song Chris dedicated to me.
Back in the day, songs corresponded to everything; a boyfriend, a road trip, a break-up, girls night, and so on. I feel that as we get older, while we still have a deep passion for music, the moments aren’t quite defined the same way.
There are still a handful of tunes that have been added to the vault over the years: “At Last” by Etta James, my wedding song; Sam Sparrow’s “Black and Gold,” which, when played, my mom makes us dance around the kitchen with a cane, wearing a glitter top hat; my Guitar Hero go to, Heart’s “Barracuda,” “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas (Is You)” have me shouting from the rooftops every holiday season; and Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable,” which is the song my dad and I danced to at my wedding.
While I wait for more songs to create new timelines in my life, I’ll be relishing in the old times that still make me smile (and sing!).