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This songs matters to me, because: (your explanation here)

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Double Down, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    So we do a lot of music threads here.

    Many of them, in fact, repeat themselves on a monthly basis (C'mon let's do guilty pleasures again! Or favorite lyrics! Or favorite guilty pleasure lyrics!). But the one thing I enjoy the most about the music threads is when you get to hear personal stories about the why.

    The excitement. The heartbreak. The joy. Bubbler made a beautiful point awhile back that really hit home for me. We don't have a collective culture anymore because the distribution vehicles are too fragmented. And so nostalgia becomes our collective culture. And even though we'll never like the same music, music still allows us to share some of the same emotions and bridge gaps like age, ethnicity, nationality, gender, etc. I'll always remember one of Fenian's posts here about getting dumped by a girl in college and how he went to his local watering hole, and listened to the same song over and over on the jukebox ("She's Got You" by Pasty Cline? I apologize if that's not it.) like eleventy-billion times until people started to stare at the sad drunken college kid in the corner.

    I'd never heard that song before in my life, but it reminded me of so many of my own sad college nights swimming in heartbreak, even though I'm probably 20 years Fen's junior. (Sorry big guy.)

    So share a song and a story. One of those things where you're like, "I can't hear this song without thinking about..."

    The stories about how you can't hear "The River" by the Boss without thinking about the night you met your first wife because, even though her name wasn't Mary and you didn't get her pregnant at 19 or get a union card and a wedding coat, the song was on heavy rotation the summer you both worked at the Tasty Freeze in college.

    Maybe it's the song that was playing when you lost your virginity ("I wanna sex you up" Color Me Bad?). Or when you got married ("True Companion" Marc Cohn?). Or that reminds you of the birth of your first child ("Daughter" by Louden Wainwright?) Or the time you and your friends went to Vegas and one of your crew got thrown out of Circus Circus for taking a swing at a midget ("Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangster" by the Geto Boys?).

    Nothing makes me smile more on SportsJournalists.com than those stories. Share five if you like. Or ten.

    Here's my first entry:

    -- I'm not L-Boogie's biggest fan. Not by a long shot. The only album I own is "Miseducation of..." and it's only because of this song. Junior year of college, I was a heartbroken writer trying desperately to scrub off the smell of desperation and despair from my skin after a bad breakup. (A girl I'd dated and adored for a year and a half got engaged to some clown three goddamn weeks after we split.) But one night at the bar, this 5-11 blond volleyball player with green eyes started laughing at some of my jokes, touching my arm, and at bar time, hours later, we were jumping in a taxi and headed to her house. She expected her roommates to be there because she didn't have keys. They were not. After realizing we couldn't get in, she asked if I'd climb through a window and open the front door. I looked at her like she was crazy, and realized she was -- she was crazy gorgeous. Certain the police would be called by an angry neighbor, but willing to roll the dice, I took a deep breath and scaled the porch. I climbed onto the overhang, opened a window, stumbled through a dark bedroom, crashed into a dresser, made my way downstairs, opened the door, and nearly chipped a tooth at the kiss that was headed my way. After being ushered to her bedroom, she proceded to flip on her stereo and play a mixtape which led off with this song.

    We dated for three wonderful years; we had little strife and countless youthful adventures. We probably would have gotten married if my ambitions hadn't drawn me to the big city, and away from her, in search of a newspaper career. I don't hear the song that often -- maybe once every five months on shuffle -- but when I do, she's the person I think of. Lot of nights of putting the college paper to bed and driving over to her house, the two of us staying up till dawn, this soulful love song as our soundtrack. It wasn't always playing when we were together; it just feels that way now. It's sweet and tender and spiritual (the lyrics are basically a paraphrased recitation of Corinthians chapter 13) with a beautiful soft drumbeat. And to me, it's her.

    I've got songs for the crazy ones, and a song for the day I flew home to see my father in the hospital, and even songs for the first cross country trek I made with my wife.

    But this one belongs to the girl who convinced me to climb through her upstairs window.
  2. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    Re: This songs matters to me, because (your explanation here):

    That darn Pasty Cline would have been a good-looking broad if only she'd gotten out in the sun a little more often.
  3. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    Re: This songs matters to me, because (your explanation here):

    "Destiny Rules" by Fleetwood Mac
    I'll admit this Stevie Nicks-penned track didn't immediately appeal to me when I first heard the barest snippets of it in advance of Say You Will's 2003 release. At first, I couldn't get past Stevie Nicks and her apparent sudden science fiction fascination "maybe we are together in a parallel universe"? C'mon Stevie! Repeating lyrics from a song I would eventually hate? Ugh!

    However, the more I listened to the song, the more I began to realize what she was saying. And once I finally did allow myself to pull myself away from the absurdity of Stevie Nicks going Star Trek, I saw where she was going with the song. And she was headed into territory she once occupied so comfortably that it felt like the familiar touch of a favorite aunt you hadn't seen in years.

    The direct visual of "sometimes I walk by and I look up to your balcony/Just to make sure that you were real/Just to make sure that I can still feel you," you could easily portray that in any mental movie studio. However, she saved her best work for the chorus. "When I see you again as I always do/It appears to me that destiny rules/That the spirits are ruthless with the paths they choose/It's not being together, it's just following the rules."

    She had one more trick up her sleeve for the second verse: "I didn't speak the language, but somehow I knew." That line has popped into my head on numerous occasions, whether it be a deaf college student signing the words "nice day today" and my somehow understanding what he said, even though I hadn't learned the sign yet or it be a well-timed hug from someone who normally doesn't give hugs very often, just at the precise second you really needed or wanted one.

    More to the point, however. This song  popped up first on my random play the first time I saw a friend in person that I hadn't seen since college days. It's popped up first on random play at other times I've seen people I haven't seen in years. I always think of it whenever that long-lost person somehow creeps back into your life, whether it's for a fleeting second or it's for a much longer period of reunion.

    This song gripped me so thoroughly, I did the one thing I swore I would never do, even considering my taking on karaoke as a hobby: I sang a cappella in front of an audience of at least 200 people. This was the song I picked. I remember being nervous about feeling naked  without musical accompaniment to serve as a cloak to hide my deficiencies as a singer. But I also remember how relieved I felt when the crowd cheered after I delivered the first line. Then my delight when the same crowd started rhythmic applause during the third line. Those actions helped carry me through singing the entire song. By the time I finally finished the song, I felt a great sense of accomplishment when a round of warm applause washed over me.

    This may not have the cachet of Double Down's story, but you can't expect that from me.
  4. Captain_Kirk

    Captain_Kirk Well-Known Member

    Good thread, every time we do it. Although I don't think we've ever had an intro post of that quality.

    I'll offer up a couple from the Who at quite disparate points in my life

    Baba O'Reilly, circa 1979-80. Just coming into my young adulthood--junior/senior in high school. The group I was running with was getting into the Who in a big way and this song sort of epitomized stepping into that era of one's life where you leave all remnants of childhood behind and learning of all new experiences as one first begins to venture on their own. Girls, driving, freedom as well as probably more than a healthy share of beer and weed. It was in some respects a Teenage Wasteland. But, in a good way, I guess. And, at the time, I did have a smokin' hot girlfriend named Sally to complete the picture.

    A Quick One, 1997. Fast forward a generation. I'm now a husband and a father of one with son #2 on the way. Had picked up the Rolling Stone Rock and Roll Circus disc and was playing the grooves off it (vinyl term, sorry). Especially, the masterful performance of the Who on that. Spent a day painting an empty bedroom, that would soon have a new resident, a nice shade of light blue and listened to A Quick One on replay over and over and over.
  5. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Dude, FT, your post was money. I'm right there in the audience watching to you sing, applauding during the third line.

    Kirk, yours too. I can so see that bedroom.
  6. DD --
    Actually, it was "Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye) by Gladys and the Pips. But probably only because "She's Got You" wasn't on the juke at the campus joint.
    (Mmmmmm. Patsy.)
    Anyway, same campus joint, two years later...

    Gates of Eden -- Bob Dylan
    Through my skills as an academic con-man, I was able to convince all my professors to let me write papers rather than take finals at the end of my last semester. So, for two weeks, I wrote like a meth-head. On the Monday of finals week, though, I was done with the last paper I would ever have to write and I repaired to the campus joint where I set up shop in a round leather booth and waited for my friends to come in after their last finals. I did this all five days of Finals week. The juke had a promotional single in which "Gates" was the flip side of "Like A Rolling Stone." The pinwheeling Bob wordplay hooked me -- "The motorcycle black madonna two-wheeled gypsy queen" got me in loud, beery singalong mode every time it came around -- and, to this day, when I hear it, that glorious half-joy, half-terror of college being over comes back, as does the dread and wonder of finding the rest of your life suddenly staring you in the face.
    And there are no truths outside the gates of Eden....

    The campus joint in question:

  7. Dedo

    Dedo Member

    I went to high school in a small town, where everyone knew everyone else, and every boy with the slightest bit of athletic ability played three or four sports. Practice would often go pretty late, and after everyone showered, there were more than a few kids who needed rides home. Usually, the way it worked was that the kids with cars (or in my case, tailgate-less pickups), ended up giving the same not-so-lucky teammates a lift every day.

    Now, the people who rode home together weren't necessarily the closest friends -- they were usually just paired up because of geography or convenience (a "You're on my way" kind of thing). And so it came to pass that throughout my junior year, I drove a senior named Guy Rodriguez home five or six times per week.

    The first thing you should know about Guy is that he loved oldies. In fact, one of the requirements of him "allowing" me to drive him home was that the radio always had to be tuned into the golden oldies station. The second thing about Guy is that he hardly ever said a damn word. He could be funnier than hell on the rare occasions he did speak, but the man could give Calvin Coolidge a run for his money when it came to silence.

    Anyway, late that year, during baseball season, I had my heart broken. This wasn't common knowledge -- it was more subtle rejection than a public love affair gone wrong -- and even though I didn't discuss it with anyone, I guess it was pretty obvious that I was depressed. So one evening I'm driving Guy home, and he's keeping pretty quiet as usual, and the song "Daydream Believer" by the Monkees comes on. And right when it gets to the chorus, Guy slugs me in the shoulder, looks at me and says, "You know, this song is for you. Cheer up, sleepy (Dedo)."

    And you know what? After I laughed my ass off, I did cheer up. Looking back, there were probably other factors at play, but more than anything, it was that stupid song and that little comment that got me out of my funk. And I think about it every time I hear it. A year or so ago, eBay used it in a TV commercial. And I damn near cried the first time I saw it.
  8. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Big Empty, by Stone Temple Pilots...and basically the enitre "Crow" soundtrack...

    My senior year of high school, 1994, I had one of the best classes ever. Freshwater and Marine Biology. There were only about 12 or 15 of us in the class, it was seventh period (the last of the day) and half the time in class we'd end up getting off on these tangents (with ample help from the teacher) that had nothing to do with the subject. Some of the people were friends and hung out away from school, but everybody was cool with each other. Nobody was stuck up, in their own little cliques, or just didn't want to be there. In short, the complete opposite of a lot of high school classes. A bunch of the kids in the class were into alternative rock, and "The Crow" soundtrack was full of some good stuff.
    Toward the end of the year, we went on a field trip to a lake. It was an all-day trip, but I think it was really an excuse for the teacher to take the class on a picnic. Whatever work he gave us to do was done in an hour (by about 11 a.m.) and was basically collecting some samples in a jar. When we were done, the teacher tells us we can do what we want for the next two hours until it's time to go back to school.
    So five or six of us go on a hike, following this trail around the perimeter of the lake. After maybe an hour of walking, we come to the end of the trail. We don't feel like going all the way back, and we can see the bus on the other side of the lake. It's only a couple hundred yards. So what's the natural thing to do?
    That's right. Jump into the lake and swim across. In full clothes.
    We get to the other side and walk up the bank, reeking of lake water. We're muddy, we're smelly, we're dirty. And we're laughing our ass off. The teacher takes one look at us, laughs and says, "This is chapter six of my book."
    After everybody gets back to base camp, we get on the bus and head back to school. The bus is one of those short buses, since the class was so small, and there's a tape deck up front. One of the other kids has "The Crow" soundtrack with him and asks if he can put it on. Driver says sure, and we listen to STP belting out Big Empty all the way home.
    Now, whenever Big Empty comes on I can't help but think back to that day and that swim across Rosedale Lake.
  9. "Freshwater and Marine Biology"?
    In high school?
    Very cool.
  10. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Everything from Simon and Garfunkel's greatest hits album takes me back to an Eastern European trip when I was 14. It was one of those cheesy student-ambassador trips where you and 25 other students travel to six countries, spend time with host families and meet exactly zero actual ambassadors. We bought cheap bootleg tapes from street merchants and for some reason a bunch of us got into Simon and Garfunkel, listening to it on our Walkmans during the long bus trips between countries. I got my first kiss from a girl in the group in some random hotel (it might have been Russia?), and to this day those songs still bring back those memories.
  11. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Yeah, it was one of those random weird elective classes our school district offered. I always liked taking stuff like that. You never know when some random piece of knowledge about carp or snapping turtles will come in handy. Like on that swim. Would've been nice to know if they liked lakes like that before we got into the water, instead of someone mentioning it when we're halfway across.
  12. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    There's songs I love dearly, but for the vast majority, it's because they hit on a real gutteral or intellectual level, there's usually no story to it. To wit, Tumbling Dice is my all-time favorite song, but I don't really have a story as to why.

    I guess the closest I have to this is My Love by Wings. That was my wife and I's wedding song.

    I had a conversation with my buddies about My Love in high school. I told them that I really liked the song (I'm a pussy, sue me) and I always wanted to dance to the song with the girl I loved. I was pretty adament with my wife about playing it our wedding, and over her objections (she wanted some Shania Twain song), I pushed it through. It grew on her and she likes it now (or she acts like she likes it ... hi honey! :D), especially considering what it meant to me and the fact that I wanted her to be the woman I danced with to that song.

    Those high school friends were at my wedding and I remember one of them had a grin on his face when the song came on.

    The only other thing I can think of in this vein is the Once Upon A Time In The West soundtrack. I associate it with the passing of my two unborn children two-plus years ago and would tear up on occasion when listening to it. There's some mournful songs on that soundtrack to be sure, but I think it probably has more to do with the fact that I was listening to it at the time rather than the songs themselves. I associate it with a time and place.

    Same thing for the Hard Day's Night movie and songs. I was watching Hard Day's Night at my aunt's house when my mom died in '83 after a long battle with cancer. Time and place association.

    As for Fen's Neither One Of Us example, I'll never forget my college roommate being spurned by some girl and he played Take It To The Limit by the Eagles on repeat in the dorm. I felt like a dick when I said, "Can you put it on another fucking song? Would some Lyin' Eyes or Peaceful, Easy Feeling kill you?" Not cool, but I felt like Lebowski in the cab.

    To this day I associate Take It To The Limit -- one of the scant Eagles song I still like -- with that moment.
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