Sunday, August 12, 2012

Musical Memories

Earlier this year, I read and really enjoyed Rob Sheffield's song-driven autobiography Talking to Girls About Duran Duran. Reading it made me realize that over the last few years, I've used my blog to write my own autobiography. It is not surprising that my story is best told in the form of a mix tape. I associate people, moments, and feelings with music. Upon hearing a song, I am immediately full-bodied back into a moment or feeling. It is my special, sneaky way to time travel through my best memories.

Some of my favorite musical memory posts include connecting with a college friend, the reason I am so crazy about music in cars, sunny days in the grass, and breaking hearts.

With all of my life changes lately, I've been especially emotional; every song seems to flood me with memories, feelings, and nostalgia. These are some of the weirdest, worst songs, but the memories attached to them will make me love them forever.

Brownsville Station - Smokin’ in the Boys Room

Growing up, I lived next door to my grandparents and spent a lot of time with them. With my grandmother, we played games, watched Lassie, and listened to music. She was a huge fan of country music, so I was exposed to an embarrassing amount of Grand Ole Opry at a very early age.

After school, I usually spent the afternoon with my Grandmother. She had a 45 of Brownsville Station’s Smokin’ in the Boys Room tucked away. On special occasions when it was just the two of us together, I'd ask her to play the song. She would always turn the music up loud, and then together we would sing along and dance. I can attribute my unabashed car dancing and singing to those afternoons.

Vanilla Ice - Havin’ a Roni

In fifth grade, I spent tons of time hanging out with my friend Misty. She lived with her grandparents not too far away from my house, so we would walk and meet at the park between our houses or at our elementary school. Her grandparents were strict and didn’t allow music or television in their house, so I'd always bring my boombox.We watched the boys playing little league games or just hung out on the tire swing and listened to music like Salt-n-Pepa, MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice.

You won't catch me listening to Ice these days, but I remember us trying to discuss and figure out what a roni was. It still makes me laugh.

Paula Abdul - Rush Rush/ Chicago - Hard To Say I’m Sorry

During one of my middle school summers, I was inseparable with my friend Angie. We had this easy, fun friendship where we never fought and had lots of fun hanging out. The summer was filled with sleepovers and lots of music.

When we stayed at her house, we used her sister's CD player to listen to Paula Abdul’s Spellbound. We kept MTV muted in the background in case the Rush Rush video played. We totally lusted lusted after Keanu Reeves.

She also came with my family to Lake Erie on the weekends. We hung out in the park, constantly scanning for boys and trying to memorize all of the lyrics to Bel Biv Devoe’s Do Me remix. At the trailer, she brought lots of tapes and introduced me to country music (Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, and Randy Travis) and started a shared obsession with Chicago.

One Saturday, we sat on the front porch of the trailer while she taught me how to shuffle cards. The boy I adored saw us and spent the entire day hanging out. They tried to teach me to play Rummy, we listened to Chicago, and drank pop (that’s soda for all you non-Ohionans). It was a perfect day.

Beck - Loser

While visiting my sister Anissa in Pittsburgh in 1993, we visited a music store where she bought me Beck’s Loser cassingle (that’s a cassette single). We drove around those big, crazy mountainous roads listening to the song over and over again. She had a stick shift, car and I was amazed at how quickly she could shift gears on those hills (I’m still amazed actually). I don’t know if she loved the song as much as me, but we listened to it loud, screamed along the lyrics, and laughed. I think it might have been the same trip that she bought me some Zima. Just the presence of Zima alone proves it was 1993.

The Cure - Boys Don’t Cry/Faith No More - Anne's Song

I only spent a short amount of time in my high school in Columbus, but it was a great time period. My friend John was always really special to me. We hung out in the mornings and between classes, but still each day after school, we talked on the phone for hours. He was always sweet and patient, listening to my 14 year old girl dramas. I appreciated his snarky sense of humor and his ability to be honest without crushing me (I'm still such an emo).

He always teased me about my love of The Cure/Robert Smith, and thanks to him, I can’t listen to Boys Don’t Cry without singing I’m a fat and whiny guy. It still makes me laugh 16 years later. Ugh... I’m old.

One morning in the commons, John and another friend Brett (Chickenboo) approached me and started singing and acting out the lyrics to Faith No More's Anne's Song. I had no idea what it was at the time, but it made me laugh. The whole thing was maybe 30 seconds, but still, whenever I hear that song, I am back in the lunchroom with my heavy maroon book bag on my back, blushing and giggling like an idiot at those sweet boys.

The Outfield - Your Love

One of the cool things about moving to Florida was getting to hang out with my sister Amanda. She lived about 30 mintues away, so I spent countless weekends hanging out at her house. One of our favorite things to do was to go to thrift store shopping. There was a Veteran’s Administration thrift store close to her house where we always found the coolest vintage stuff; mostly, I remember buying chairs and toddler tees to show our midrifs.

One afternoon while driving home, we were listening to Outfield’s Play Deep. I had to go to the bathroom so bad, but she was torturing me by hitting the brakes hard every few feet, which then made me laugh, making it worse.

Cutting Crew - (I Just) Died In Your Arms

In high school, I bonding with Martha over our shared love of The Cure. She’ll tell you it was when I refused to share my pencils with her during the PSATs, but just ignore her.

One summer during college, I worked at the Gap and had the biggest crush on one of my coworkers. Leaving work one day, he hugged me. I was so excited and when I got into my car, I had been listening to an 80’s mix tape and Cutting Crew’s (I Just) Died In Your Arms was blaring. In my immature, crush silly brain, it felt so perfect, so I told Martha about it. To this day (aka last weekend), she still laughs at me for it .

In honor of the joke, we recorded a video of the two of us singing the song. It lived on my website for years, but somewhere in the process, I lost it. The song still reminds me of the joke.

1 comment:

Anissa said...

Loved it...and yes I still remember the words :-P