There is a quote from the movie Coyote Ugly (2000) as follows:
I remember the first time my mother played me “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel. I remember exactly what she was wearing. I remember exactly how her hair smelled. I remember exactly how I felt.
And every time I hear that song, I remember exactly what she was wearing and exactly how her hair smelled and exactly how I felt … because the great songs last forever.
That’s so much what so many songs are to me. They transport me back to the time and place that I heard them. I remember my surroundings; how I felt; what people were wearing; the smells – you name it. I’d like to say I’m about to give you five songs as deep as Bridge Over Troubled Water tied to memories as pivotal as the one described in the movie, but I’m not.
Mostly because many songs close to my heart have already featured on previous Twisted Mixed Tape Posts I’ve done.
That said, given my life seems to run almost permanently to music (I think life is happier that way, no?) here’s
five six (sorry Jen) songs I’ve yet to feature on my blog and the moments I associate with them.
I offer this as my humble submission to Jen’s Kehl’s Twisted Mixed Tape Blog Hop this week. This week is another freebie. Five songs in the theme of your choice. Do check out the other musically inclined hoppers here:
1. Love Bites – Def Leppard (1987)
So, anyone who is familiar with my blog is probably doing the math.
I was ten.
So I was too young for any sort of love angst at this stage.
But my memory of this song?
I picture a girl on my swim team mocking it.
She’s full on whining out the song; her whole body into it as she throws herself into the chorus. And everyone is laughing and cheering her on.
She is beyond cool and accepted.
Everything I wasn’t at that stage of life in that circle.
This song always reminds me of that uncomfortable feeling of not quite fitting in; but desperately wanting to.
I spent the next five years swimming with this group and never really fitting in.
This song always brings me back to that moment. And that feeling.
For what it’s worth? I no longer dislike the song. But it took a long time.
2. Insane in the Brain – Cyprus Hill (1993)
So this is almost my anti-Love Bites. Growing up we use to vacation for a week each summer at a resort called Fern in Orillia. Same week each summer. So I spent that week with the same people each summer. And from them? Total acceptance. Assurance I was at least normal and likeable if not cool. Throughout the year, they were my pen pals. You know, in the old-fashioned way that we actually use to WRITE LETTERS TO EACH OTHER in the pre-electronic world. Through the tougher moments of high school, they were my life-line and assurance that the world really was bigger than my high school.
They introduced me to a lot of music that I associate with summers at Fern. I’ve posted a number of them already on this hop: Morrissey. Less Than Jake. Hours spent talking and laughing in a wine vat hot tub that no longer exists (I know, because my husband and I went back for a week holiday when our eldest was a little under a year); along wooded trails behind the resort; and night swimming in the lake. Many of my fondest memories from my Wonder Years are tied to this place. A blessed escape from the realities of high school life. Vacation. In every sense of the word.
3. Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead (1995)
This is the song that I associate with Rooster’s Coffee House at Carleton and my first year of university. My girlfriend loved this song and played it ad infinitum on the jukebox as we wiled the hours away at Rooster’s playing euchre; drinking coffee; then drinking beer once the bar opened; playing pool; and generally wasting time and making friendships that would last a lifetime. This is the song in the background of the first year I ever felt truly accepted in my normal, everyday environment. The year I came into my own. When I hear this song, it’s loaded. In the same way Love Bites is. But in a good way.
4. I Lost My Baby – Jean Leloup (1996)
This is the song I will forever associate with the five weeks I spent, at 23, in the Saguenay. I applied for, and (obviously) got a French language bursary. So off I went to Chicoutimi to brush up on my French for five weeks that summer at l’Université de Québec à Chicoutimi.
It was like summer camp. In French. With alcohol.
It was awesome.
I discovered a number of Québecois artists at the time. But Jean Leloup still holds a special spot.
This is the first French song I really connected with. Les animatrices (our facilitators) loved it and raved on about Jean Leloup. By the end, I was sold.
For anyone who doesn’t speak French, who’d like to know what they’re saying, here’s a translation courtesy of the ever awesome Lyrics Translate (with some edits from me):
I Lost My Baby
I lost my baby;
I lost my darling;
I lost my friends;
I lost my mind.
For a girl from Ottawa;
Who grew up in Ste-Foy.
With a soldier father;
A pretty girl who was escaping her mother.
Who listened to country music;
Between two cases of beer.
And left on Saturdays;
For a lake in Hawkesbury;
To meet up with the grandmother
And all the family…
Oh, I can’t live without you;
And I can’t live with you.
But you can very well live without me;
I’m damned either way.
I lost my baby…
A phone call from Jamie;
Who one day fell for
A girl from Ottawa.
Who grew up who-knows-where;
From a pilot father;
And a mother who did who-knows-what
They both liked movies.
We are inhabitants of the Earth.
There are thousands of frontiers.
There is someone in the universe;
Who exists for someone else, and it’s war.
I lost my baby…
For a girl from Ottawa;
Who grew up in Ste-Foy;
And who one day fell for
A popular singer;
Who grew up in Algeria and is pretty fucked up;
And who tells him ‘goodbye, I’m leaving to start my life over
I lost my baby…
5. All the Things she Said – t.A.T.U (2003)
In my 20s I went on three Contiki tours. For those unaware, they are group tours – generally through Europe – for 18-35 year olds. They were perfect for me. Someone organized all the details (this is what I’ve done professionally for others forever, so to have someone else do it for me is HEAVEN). And I could be part of a large, safe group when I wanted to, or go off on my own and do what I wanted on my own if I wanted to (with the safety of a group nearby).
Every tour had a theme song. I remember them all. This wasn’t one of them. But this is one of the moments I remember. Mostly because it made me a bit uncomfortable. Which always gives me pause to figure out why. We were on the bus; the song came on; and two of the girls on tour decided to give the bus a show, so to speak, and make out. I remember being equal parts envious of the girls in question – of the freedom/confidence to take part in such an exhibition – and judging – namely, what are you trying to prove/what’s the need for all this?
This song kind of leaves me there. In that moment. And I know it’s one of those important female moments. Figuring out how I really feel about it.
So I know that’s five and I should leave it there. But I feel the need to end this on a classy note.
So here’s the Thong Song.
Yeah. So my moment with this song? It was sort of like coming full circle with my wonder years and being just fine with it. The swim team at university went to Florida over New Years’ every year for training camp. After three years on the team, I took a year off, did a school term in Europe, did another internship out east and then came back in my fifth year as an undergrad to finish my four-year degree. I also re-joined the team.
That year also happened to be the year my father retired from the Public Service. So he took the family to Hawaii over New Years and I missed training camp.
We all came back in January and it was obvious I had missed the bonding that was Florida. Apparently one of the bonding items that year was matching thongs. To be hinted at any time this song came on in the clubs.
I remember thinking it was a bit much. And I remember realizing, as I watched them all dancing without me, that I was over the need to feel included in everything.
It was a good feeling.
Anyone doing chronology will realize this is about 3 years before the t.A.T.u. bus moment.
All I can say to that?
Becoming a woman?
To a certain extent? For me, it’s been an iterative process.
What about you? What music brings your right back to a specific time and place?