January 9th, 2015
Fun lyrical factoid: If you’ve ever hung out with me for more than five minutes, and audio devices lurk nearby, you’ll inevitably face the “I’m just going to play you this one song!” San Diego Momma shakedown. That’s because I’m the person who makes you listen to her music, whether you’re complicit in the process or not. I’ve even been known to shut people in quiet rooms at parties with my phone and a pair of ear buds just they could “hear the words” of my latest favorite tune. One time, I emerged from a guest bedroom with a friend’s husband, looking flushed and pleased that he “got” the melodiousness of Blitzen Trapper’s Furr. Needless to state, this exuberant bedroom exit didn’t go over well with the party crowd, particularly those who were married to the husband.
My husband quasi-tolerates my hijacking of music systems and people’s ears with very few warning glances and heavy sighs. This past Christmas Eve, I sat with a fellow music-loving friend as we scrolled through YouTube, yelling “Just listen to this stanza!” and “Did you hear the guitar there?” at each other while our long-suffering spouses smiled stiffly and affixed glassy-eyed “Here we go again” stares into the middle distance.
When you’re in the company of someone who gets your squirming on your seat anxious to share your latest melodious love with him or her, there’s no equal feeling to it, if you’re not a meth addict. My friend, V, and I spend many long Friday nights hooking our respective iPhones to external speakers and rocking back and forth in unison to each other’s songs. Most often, those evenings devolve into us playing the same rotation of six or seven songs we’ve both heard 40,000 times but enjoy anew because once you’ve found “your songs,” 40,000 airplays is nothing.
This all got me thinking about which songs I might not mind listening to forever and into eternity. Then, in a twist of serendipity, I happened to visit my friend Gigi’s “Idea Bank” of blog post writing prompts and I was off. There’s very few songs I’ll listen to for the rest of my life, but I find myself turning to the same choices again and again, which follow below.
1. The Answer
I mean, Sarah McLachlan everything, but this song in particular makes me cry every damn time. It’s the orchestral maneuvers, and the cosmic humming in the background, and the lyrics. Always the lyrics.
2. Maybe, Tomorrow
When melody and words intersect into emotionally-raw alignment, I’m a goner. This song from Stereophonics thrills me each time I hear its opening strains. The singer’s rasp coupled with the yearning, and tripled with the instrumentals make this my always song.
3. Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word
I remember it well. After another epic fight with my mom, I took off in the Hyundai Excel, popped my remix tape into the cassette player, and listened to Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word 14 times in a row. Ever since, it’s been my forever song. Because my mom and all the things in my heart I couldn’t say right down to the time she died.
Vienna sounds like yearning and what you want to do with your life and what you might not ever do and what you hope your children will do to make up for you’re not doing it while hoping they do it within reason but secretly hoping they do it with abandon and a very small dollop of reason. But still survive and not get STDs.
5. Pour Some Sugar on Me
So this one’s here. Overriding reason: college. And a mental picture for you: a gaggle of twenty-somethings gathered around a keg excessively gesticulating, “I’m hot, hot, sticky sweet, from my head, head to my feet, yeah…” Please don’t perseverate on that mental picture.
6. Love’s Recovery
Just listen to the words. You’ll see.
7. When I Get My Hands On You
The newest song on my eternity list, When I Get My Hands On You is part of The Basement Tapes effort, and it’s amazing. I’ve made no less than two men cry when I played it in front of them and their wives. Those are good men.
8. Wise Up (Aimee Mann)
This one time I thought it would help my friend to hear this song because her boyfriend was an asshole. Turned out I was wrong. He was an asshole, but she didn’t find me telling her that in song helpful. I still love the words. The only good thing about assholes is they make excellent songs.
9. Wasted Time (The Eagles)
Ever since high school, ever since high school. Seems I like the yearning songs.
10. Be Still (Head and the Heart)
Actually, this might be the newest song to join the Forever Lineup. I’ve fallen in love with the Head and the Heart, and this song clinched the deal. Seems I like the crying songs.
Those are the songs! Come join me on the back porch and let’s play our eternal songs for each other! Bring your spouse! I don’t want a repeat of the party-guest-room incident.
(What are your 10 songs you’ll listen to for the rest of your life?)