Hey Mixed Tapers!
I wasn’t going to post this week because life’s been getting a bit hectic. And honestly? I figured if there was one to skip, I’d opt out of personal reflection. But I’d been mulling it over since seeing it as I tried to figure out if I really HAD “5 seminal songs”.
With that said, I’m in. So let’s all SHARE, shall we?
This week’s topic: the 5 seminal songs who made you the person you are today. The shutter-openers, the wakers, the “I can see clearly now the rain is goners.” The tunes that forced you to look in the mirror and say, “Hey good-looking, you seem familiar, yet new.”
Wow. Um. Huh.
Don’t get me wrong. Music speaks to me. I have albums I own because they specifically remind me of certain people, times, places or Wordsworth-like spots of time.
Quick English Lit lesson for those unfamiliar with the reference:
There are in our existence spots of time,
That with distinct pre-eminence retain
A renovating virtue, whence, depressed
By false opinion and contentious thought,
Or aught of heavier or more deadly weight,
In trivial occupations, and the round
Of ordinary intercourse, our minds
Are nourished and invisibly repaired;
A virtue, by which pleasure is enhanced,
That penetrates, enables us to mount,
When high, more high, and lifts us up when fallen
– William Wordsworth, The Prelude. Book 12. 208-218 (1850 edition)
And I’ll direct you to this post on the poem and the general fabulousness of Wordsworth that I came across while trying to locate the quote, if you be so moved.
But made me what I am? Don’t get me wrong, I like me some good poetic crooning-just-to-me angst as much as the next music lover, but I decide who I am. Musical muses? Yes, you speak – and you either resonate or not. Sometimes I certainly felt you were speaking directly to me. Sometimes you guide, sometimes you push. And yes, sometimes you influence.
But, like the Blow Monkey’s say, you don’t own me.
All right! Now that I’ve quoted poetry and Dirty Dancing and feel adequately empowered, here’s what I figure are five songs that, when I think back I go yeah, that was a song or a moment that helped me became a bit more ME.
First off I give you The Original Caste’s One Tin Soldier. I was a Girl Guide. It was one of the main campfire songs I remember. And as far as good moral compass goes? Props to the Guide Leaders. War bad. Peace good. Check. In case you ever wondered if you mattered?. I remembered you and you did. Anyone who is interested in more info on the song can skip the Wikipedia search and just click here.
Okay! So having safely navigated my single digits where next? I did this hop two weeks ago for this first time and posted on my musical awakenings, which pretty much speaks to this point in my life (ie: circa 11-13).
So that brings me firmly into my teens. Next I give you a bit of an odd ball. But it ties to one of my first experiences with female power – and so I remember it.
The resort we vacationed at each summer – think Dirty Dancing no salsa – did an “Air Band Show of the Stars” each year for the guests and one of the songs they did the year I was 13 was Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl”.
As part of the act, they chose a girl from the audience – me – to be Christie Brinkley. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you are right there with 13-year-old me because I didn’t either.
Anyway, I remember being “prepped” backstage for the “big moment”. I was told to walk cross stage, twitch my hips a bit, and just, well, walk to the other end of the stage while smiling. Various of the camp counsellors and wait staff in mechanics uniforms would ‘look interested” and “pursue me” and I was to smile. I pranced and did my thing. They accordingly adored. Afterwards I went back to my collection of male and female friends in the audience who lavished me with praise. It was … educational.
After that? I loved Guns & Roses for a while and then I wasn’t sure what was to happen next.
Then Nirvana hit.
And I sincerely didn’t get it.
It almost feels like I just came out there.
That’s right! I was a teen in the 90’s who didn’t idenfiy with Kurt Cobain!
It’s not like I overtly disliked him. It’s more like I just didn’t understand that variety of angst.
Instead, I found Depeche Mode.
In a thrift shop (I know you all went there, so I just linked to it. Please come back).
In Orillia, Ontario.
I believe it was the Mariposa Market in case you want specifics. It’s different now – ’cause I’ve been back and there is no longer a basket of mixed tapes or CDs in the back to scrounge through. Another of the so many ways one can never go home.
We were on family vacation. I was 15. And had recently fallen in love with all things “older” – so antique and thrift shops! Which is how I came to be sifting through used tapes for the next few summer holidays at the back of the Mariposa Market. In that time I found so many fabulous ones: Morrissey; the Cult; but, on that first trip? The second tape from Depeche Mode 101. I’d bought Violator a few years previously, but hadn’t really latched on to the band at that point.
I think 101 was my Nevermind. I was a bit late to the parade age-wise, but they were my teen angst. I give you People are People:
So where next? While there are many “Spots of Time” songs between 15-22, I’m going to skip now to my early 20s and give you two from that era. The first? The ever fabulous, take nothin’ from no one Bif Naked’s I Love Myself Today:
Yeah? Looking for a self empowering moment? Take this song and run with it. I still play it. It’s absolutely fabulous.
And this brings me to my last choice for today. It’s a song I associate with a moment in my mid-twenties, although the song came out about 10 years prior to that.
I give you House of Pain: Shamrocks and Shenanigans (Boom Shalock Lock Boom)
Here’s the backstory.
Circa 2004, I went to a AAA Baseball Game at a particularly low point in life (I didn’t follow baseball then, and don’t really now, which likely alludes to the amount of spare time I had to suddenly be spending it at AAA games).
Anyway, I quickly fixated on the fact that every guy that came to bat had their own theme song and I remember thinking: Hey! Everyone should totally have a theme song! And it should spontaneously play in their heads when they walk into rooms. This would do WONDERS for everyone’s self confidence.
And if I have a theme song? It should be Boom Shalock Lock Boom! Admittedly, I don’t love all the lyrics – but the tone is so clearly take no shit from no one that you have to love it. My husband and I played it as the entry song for the bridal party at the reception at our wedding. And when I’m having a rough day or feel the need for a confidence boost? I still hum or play it.
Alright now. Until next time.