Sometimes I get a blog entry stuck in my head like you would a song. The words reverberate around, over and over, with no decipherable tune but a repetition nonetheless. Over the past few days I have been contemplating this blog entry and where to put it – here or here. After much deliberation I decided this entry would take up space here. I don’t exactly know why, it has nothing to do with art or cooking but then again it has little to do with being a ‘newlywed nomad’ either. So, here it is…
Laura Esquivel talked about how smells can bring back strong memories in her novel Like Water for Chocolate. I feel that way about music. There are albums that, when I listen to them again after a long while, can transport me back to the exact place I was when that album was so predominant in my life.
I am dancing on harsh, brown berber carpet in my purple footy pajamas, the polyester ones that shock me in my sleep, to Madonna’s True Blue. I am practicing my saunter in the family room in Mom’s white patent leather high heels to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Snuggled up with my girlfriends in our bunkbeds at summer camp, someone always had to stay awake to turn over the Patsy Cline’ Greatest Hits cassette. High School was a medley of music, show tunes from Guys & Dolls in musical theater class; singing Alanis Morrisette by the lockers after lunch; recording the high school football team quartet’s version of Boyz II Men’s It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday, off the radio; Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes on my headphones for months after my good friend was hit by a car and killed junior year. So many songs and artists held a place in my heart during those formative teenage years. But nothing held a candle of significance compared to my college years. Music was sometimes my closest and dearest friend in college. Dave Matthews’ Crash brings back my freshman year with a force of nostalgia like no other. I close my eyes and I have a red plastic Solo cup of cheap Natty Ice in my hand. I recovered from a bad break up only with the help of Lauryn Hill’s Ex-Factor, a song I had on repeat for months. My junior year roomie, Marie, and I made soundtracks to listen to while getting ready to go out, which consisted of a medley of Britney Spears and boy bands. While dating a guy from Puerto Rico, I learned how to salsa and memorized entire songs that I couldn’t even comprehend. The Dixie Chicks were the only album that would get me through the 5 hour Greyhound ride back to NYC from a weekend home in State College. Ella Fitzgerald’s version of Someone to Watch Over Me will always put me against the strong shoulder of my husband while dancing at our wedding. Celine Dion’s Because You Loved Me brings to mind dancing with my father, at sorority family functions, at weddings and at my wedding, I am still the little girl dancing on her daddy’s shoes. I also have vacation music, albums that I associate with certain trips and places. Jack Johnson will always mean Costa Rica to me and Madeleine Peyroux is the only thing that will do while in France. I have baking music, bathing music, crying music, dancing music, laughing-my-ass-off music. Music that makes me feel sad, music that makes me want to rock and music that just makes me happy.
I am so grateful that after downloading a song, I can close my eyes and be carried away to my memories. I once met a wise old woman who said, “isn’t it amazing how God only lets you remember the good!” I am so thankful for that and I am so thankful for my music.
Now my internal playlists will be categorized by country rather than school years. My Korea playlist will include Angelique Kidjo, Taylor Swift, Colbie Caillat, Amy Winehouse, Imogen Heap, Rilo Kiley, Corinne Bailey Rae, KT Tunstall, The Fray, Lily Allen, Hillsong United and Lupe Fiasco.
Have you ever really thought about what your music was, where it came from, and how you came to rely on it?