I'll never forget the first time I realized I would die. The first time I learned my mom and dad would die. I was seven years old sitting in the back seat of our chocolate brown 1976 Plymouth station wagon riding home from my grandparent's house on a hot summer Sunday. My legs stuck to the leather seats as the first notes of that God-awful song played on the radio. The haunting lyrics and strings and aching voice. Talking about how all we are is dust in the wind. On all that's holy I swear I can NOT hear that song without a shiver creeping up my spine, a fear trickling through my veins and a quick jerk of my hand turning off whatever offensive piece of technology the song blares from. Fear at it's finest.
Songs do this to us. They bring us joy, bring tears to our eyes and smiles to our faces. I can name dozens of songs that are linked directly to people, places and moments of my life that sometimes I want to remember and many I'd like to forget. Music is the ultimate time machine. It is a direct link to any moment in time - Dust in The Wind - death and the station wagon. Frank Sinatra - my mother dancing in our kitchen on Smith Lane. Rush - first concert, first time I smelled pot. Open Arms - first kiss in my friend's basement. Journey in general - Marijane. Yaz - Kathleen and our 8th grade poms routine. Michael Jackson - Andrea. U2, The Cure, The Call, Joy Division - nights at home listening to Triton College Radio as a teen. Prince - Diane and her awesome teenage bedroom. That's the Way Love Goes, Marvin Gaye, Counting Crows, The Replacements - my first apartment. Phil Collins - my brother. Asia - my brother. Countless songs remind me of first meeting and dating my hubs - too many to even conjure! Hundreds of songs happily clutter my brain allowing me to relive my life.
Songs are like an outburst of the soul shooting out feelings of love, lust, sadness and redemption. Music elevates us, pumps us up for our run, soothes our hectic days, turns our bad moods into cheerful ones, takes us from happy to somber or just plain gets us in the mood. As I type, Aretha Franklin is crooning Chain of Fools. My shoulders inadvertently move up and down. My son bops in the room and I see a hip shake. Joy in the early evening. I imagine when I hear this song again, years from now, I'll remember typing key strokes and smiling at my handsome boy and his awesome dance moves.
Last Sunday we ate lunch at Potbellies with the kiddos and LA Woman (The Doors) blared overhead. While carrying on our conversation, my hub's head starts bopping infinitesimally to the beat and I know he's thinking of a road trip he took with a childhood friend. I was remembering a college bar, falling for a base player while he strummed the song clumsily with a college cover band. Music takes us back in time and runs us through a plethora of emotion. When we listen to music, we feel alive. It's glorious, yes?
I challenge you - go get in your time machine. Grab a sheet of paper, grab your laptop, grab your phone - write or type 10 songs and their memory counterparts - go back in time and enjoy the ride. Let me know how it goes. Next time you go to turn on the TV, turn on your music instead - whatever floats your boat. Whether it's country, classical, rap or pop or alternative - go for the music. You are what you listen to. Listen well and let the music take you.