Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 29 and 30: Stacking My Records and The Nile

December 30, 2011

If you could go on a trip regardless of cost, where would you go and what would you see?

Egypt. Everything.
And all over Europe. Or all over the World. Go everywhere, try everything. I want to devour it all with my eyes and a camera and my best travel companion, and a sharp thin ink pen and a fat lined journal and be away for a year. A long year, light on belongings and responsibilities, and heavy on experiences and emotions and all things new and strange.                                                                               

December 29, 2011

What was the soundtrack of your year? Of your life? Which songs most strongly represent the various eras of your life? What songs were playing for the most crucial, formative moments of your life? Or, if the chronological approach doesn't work for you, which songs best capture the different facets of your life? (Childhood, Love Life, Adulthood, Loss, Growth, Career, Happiness, Sadness, etc.)  Please elaborate.

Oh, for a music lover this puppy is difficult to answer. To go with a chronological look? With a facet approach? Or Rob Gordon's way, "autobiographical"? How can I write this and not take three hours, pausing frequently for music breaks?  I'm diving right in, stream of consciousness style and just writing down what pops into my head:

It starts with The Beatles White Album and the goofy charm of Rocky Raccoon.

My dad singing Blackbird to my brother and I. (Which coincidentally started playing as I type this.)

Singing along with my mom's favorite Frankie Avalon tape in her tiny black Sunbird with vinyl seats that heated up to thigh scalding temperatures in the summer. But the minute when that ice cold air conditioning began blowing on my face and Frankie Avalon's high falsetto started I didn't notice my legs burning.

They Call the Wind Mariah from Paint your Wagon in my mom's sweet alto.

Listening to Michael Jackson's Thriller in the car with my parents and they would drive down the scariest road in Kansas City just to freak us out. It was dark and lined with huge oak trees on both sides and we were certain that zombies were around every corner. It was the best three minutes of the night.

Dancing to PYT on the big dance floor at Fun House Pizza with my little brother, while my parents and grandparents chatted on a Sunday afternoon over a pitcher of beer and thin crust pizza. Dropping quarters in the juke box and knowing that whatever happened next was totally up to me.

Then learning to play the piano and falling in love with music, but hating playing it myself.

All things Van Morrison and Paul Simon's Graceland and The Police Synchronicity and stealing my dad's cassette tapes.

Then friends started to heavily influence my music choices. Friends with older siblings. Friends who listened to Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division, Madonna, Guns N'Roses, Queen, and classic rock. And then high school.

Hiding the Guns N'Roses cassette that I had borrowed from a friend inside of a Paul McCartney Pipes of Peace cover because my mother had specifically banned all GNR from our house.

Listening to Pretty Hate Machine so much that the tape warped.

My dad taking me to see Sting on his Nothing Like the Sun tour, one of my all time favorite albums.

Feeling like Tori Amos wrote Little Earthquakes just for me to listen to while driving home from work in my white Camry with the windows down, screaming along with teenage angst, not knowing exactly what each lyric meant but feeling them with painful clarity.

Making out in my boyfriend's dark bedroom to the melodramatic AM radio strains of  Dust in the Wind.

Receiving my first mix tape from a boy, filled with Billy Joel and Simon and Garfunkel and Kansas and thinking how amazing it was that someone created something like that just for me. Listening to it everywhere. Except only alone, never with other people in the room or the car. It was private. Just for my ears. Like no one else had ever heard these songs before.

My first heartbreak, soundtrack provided by U2's Joshua Tree, and embarrassingly Lisa Loeb's Stay and Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You, until I found the Dolly Parton version and fell back in love.

College was a Lawrence, Kansas music wonderland. My music collection exploded with easy access to used CD's and new friends with fabulously varied taste.  Years filled with Soul Coughing and Alanis Morrisette and REM and Beck and the Pixies and the Beastie Boys and Ben Folds and concerts and still Sting and They Might Be Giants and The Clash and it was as if the music world opened to me.

Billie Holiday and Jeff Buckley and Robert Johnson and Squirrel Nut Zippers, it was all right there, blending and melding together into this soundtrack of joy and pain expressed in a way I couldn't have comprehended earlier. John Coltrane, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Nina Simone and somehow Shaggy and Nelly and Dr. Dre and Eminem and whatever Joe was blaring in his red Escort with the assymetrical grill.

Then work and marriage and moving and buying a house, our first dance to Nina Simone's My Baby Just Cares for Me, and renovating our house to the subtle strains of R Kelly's Ignition (Remix.) Realizing that I might love The Rolling Stones more than the Beatles.

And then the indie sad bastard, via Jon Sands, started to infiltrate and hasn't let go. The White Stripes, my current obsession The Avett Brothers, Rilo Kiley, Arcade Fire, The National, Mumford and Sons, Modest Mouse, MGMT, Girl Talk, Cake, Florence and the Machine. These are who I listen to almost everyday. Everyday there is music. There has to be. I need it. I can't wait to see where my listening goes in the next ten years and where my life goes along with it.

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