Music is about so much more than a form or entertainment or the simple mix of a beat, lyrics, melody or harmony. The music of our past really does make up a soundtrack to our life story and everyone’s soundtrack is as unique as they are. I, like most everyone out there, can remember the first CD I bought, the first song I slow danced to, the song that made me cry, the one song that reminds me of that certain someone, songs that take me back to heart ache, love, passion, laughter, a sense of belonging, rebelling, and lyrics that stick in my mind and shaped who I was and who I am. Beyond brining back memories though, songs and artists can and have helped us all through tough times and have made amazing times even more special. This is why you always see compilations of certain years or decades. This is why every senior class has a “class song” that binds them together forever and this is why a perfectly happy woman can be moved to tears on the highway reliving her first real heartache twenty years later. The songs that shape us never leave us.
When I think about songs that shaped my own life, so many songs literally flood my mind. But a few stand out as having helped me go from one chapter of my life to the next. The week before I and my closest friends were all leaving our small town for college, we gathered to drink a few 40’s at a pavilion to hang out one last night. One sentimental guy put his Boys to Men CD in his car stereo and cranked up “End of the Road”. While I was sad that we were all heading off in different directions and probably never going to be all together like that again, swaying together standing on the picnic tables that night made me realize it was all going to be ok. Even though so much change was happening and I was feeling anxious and nervous about it all, we were all changing together and it would all be ok. It really was the end of one road and the beginning of another. Today when I hear that song, I probably still sway a little without even realizing it.
Years after that experience, I, again like most everyone, suffered the worst heartache ever known to man. Well, it felt like it at the time of course. I was completely blindsided and rattled about everything I believed about men, love, and my own judgment. Filled with anger, disillusionment, and bitterness about ever being truly happy again, I returned to college after a long painful summer. My new roommate put in “Jagged Little Pill” by Alanis Morrisette. While I had heard bits and pieces on the radio, I never really listened to her before. The intensity of her voice, the pain of rejection, the anger and ‘in your face’ raw emotion coming from her was literally everything I was feeling and it was being thrown at me like lightening while I unpacked. For the first time during the whole heart break experience, a perfect stranger got exactly what I was feeling. Instead of crying myself to sleep and wondering what I could have done to keep the jackass, I let that raw energy and anger in her voice carry me away, fill me up, and eventually empower me to get up off my self-pitying ass and be as pissed off as I had every right to be. I took back my feelings and myself. To this day when I hear “You Oughta Know” I feel stronger than I did before my roommate played it that late August afternoon. What was a very hard time was completely transformed to a feeling of pure power and strength to get the hell over it.
Whether it’s a song that makes you sway and warms your heart thinking about someone or a group that made you who you are, or an entire album that takes everything you feel inside and throws it in the worlds face, we all have those songs still playing inside. Big moments like graduation or loss and little moments like a kiss or dance all come flooding back within seconds of that first beat or word. No matter where I am or how old I get, every time I hear “The Humpty Dance”, I am at a Jr. High dance and I can’t wipe the smile off my face. Let your own sound track play loud and proud, from the Humpty to the profound lyrics that maybe moved you to become politically active or realize what was really going on in the streets with Public Enemy throwing reality in your face. When the music takes you back to the good, bad, and Humpty ugly, sit back and enjoy the rush of emotions.
At wedoitfortheloveofmusic.com, we all have those songs and albums that have gotten us through and made us smile when nothing else could, or that have inspired us to stand up for something. Music touches everyone and that is just a small part of why this web site is so important to us and to our fans. We would love to hear your own stories about which songs or artists have helped you and made you the person you are today. Let us know what and who makes up your soundtrack.
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