You know those questions. “If you were trapped on a desert island, what would you take with you?” “If you were to describe yourself as an animal, what would it be? Yes those questions!
Well, recently on V-Mac & Cheese, Victoria posed the question “What’s your all time favorite song?” She wanted to know the songs you never tire of. She explained her habit of listening to songs over and over again until they become deeply ingrained in her head. Going so far as to listen to the same mixed CD in her car for three months.
I, too, will listen to songs over and over again endlessly. CDs remain in my car for months on end. I have songs for every major moment in my life. Love songs, divorce anthems, heck, even theme songs for friends. But if forced to pick just one piece of music above all others it has to be Brahms violin Concerto in D major. I listened to it every night as a child.
I don’t have a rational explanation for why Brahm’s ode to his friend Joseph was my song starting way back in elementary school. I can’t say if I picked it or if it picked me but every night through my earphones I would fall asleep to its melody. The rapid scales, broken chords, rhythmic variations and bow work of Itzkah Perlman’s stradivarius translating away. I could feel it in my skin from toes to crown. I knew its movements.
Music has been a part of my life as far back as I can remember; from the sweet lullaby Baby’s boat, or my grandfather playing piano to lull us to sleep and Rhapsody in Blue to awake us in the morning. My family used to sing old jazz standards of Ella and Louie and folk songs at the end of an evening after dinner. There was something almost magical the way the voices of my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, parents, and siblings were melded together. I am awed by people, who hear the harmony and can wind themselves naturally in and out around a melody.
I joined the choir, jumped head first into musical theater and dreamed of being a country singer. I remember navigating the intricacy of teen romance belting What’s Love Got to do with it? on my late night walks. And I love musicals. Pretty much all musicals including the latest TV varietals of Smash, Nashville and Glee.
Music for me is deeply intimate, sensual, and spiritual. It can caress, move, and haunt . Certain voices swim along my skin climbing my neck, shiver plunging down my spine, lingering. Sometimes I even get goose bumps. Josh Groban’s one.
I understand how Orthodox Jews contend that a women’s voice is immodest and that singing for a non-related male would be improper. A woman’s voice is considered ervah or naked. Believed to invoke a passion to be shared between only one man and woman. But if my admission above says anything perhaps it should not be restricted to the female voice. A Man’s voice can be as powerful, as penetrating, as passionate, as naked.
I love the blending of voices. I use to believed this union of resonance would signal when I found “my match”. I envisioned our voices would fit, weave into one another as if musical harmony itself would be my yente. It brings a whole new meaning to “our song”. Yikes I think I hear a reality show in the making. Of course my ex-husband wanted to sing Sheryl Crow’s and Kid Rock’s Picture at Karaoke. Undoubtedly, a great choice, but perhaps I should have seen the foreshadowing in his request.
Songs became themes for my life: love, death, loss, friendship, freedom and growth, defiance and change. They’ve all had a tune. And these songs have become my soundtrack.
I compiled a song list which as it turns out after over 40 plus years is far too long to share. So I narrowed the list down to the last five years only. But this left off some classics like Pat Benatar’s Hit Me With your Best Shot, Forever young by Alphaville, Just Another Day by Oingo Boingo, Anything and Everything by Heart or James Taylors to name only a few. And no self-respecting girl raised on the streets of Philadelphia could leave out The Boss.
Tell me what’s on your playlist?
The Soundtrack of The Last Five Years of My life
- I Will Be– Wynonna
- Who Knew-Pink
- Rolling In the Deep-Adele
- I’m Letting Go– Francesca Battistelli
- Love Song-Sara Bareilles (& Gravity)
- Bleeding Love-Leona Lewis
- Waiting on the World to Change – John Mayer
- A Change is Coming – Leroy Bell
- Put Your Records On-Corinne Bailey Rae
- I can Only Image-Mercy Me
- Just the way you are-Bruno Mars
- Testify to Love– Wynonna
- Sunday Morning-Maroon 5
- All My Days-Alexi Murdoch (Or Breathe I couldn’t decide)
- Fireflies-Owl City
- You and Me-Lifehouse
- Firework-Katy Perry
- Big Blue Wave– Hey Ocean!
Additional Reading: Follow A Path Beyond Logic, Where Inspiration Lives ~ Kenny Logins tells the Huffington Post about music from the soundtrack of his own life (journals following his divorce) and the melding of voices with Gary Burr in what he calls “sibling harmony”. Then ultimately incorporating Georgia Middleman for a three part blend of pure magic. I wish I had read this article before writing last weeks Where Inspiration Lives. I would have incorporated the following excerpt, “Something pushes you when you make art for a living, something beyond logic. Julia (my ex) used to call whatever that is, “the bread crumbs we follow to get to ourselves.” So you look for the diamonds hiding in the grass because that’s where inspiration lives, that’s where the fun is, and that’s what making music is all about. Creating something to spark you, some new musical landscape to explore, to get the creative juices flowing. It’s what keeps you young. Hell, even alive.”
Image:Funny Valentine by DCT