So. Looks like there’s a blog/Tumblr/Plurk/interwebz challenge going around: 25 Songs, 25 Days. It’s a simple challenge about music. Sometimes it’s as basic as what you’re listening to at the moment, some are more meaningful and ask for a song and association to a person or event.
I’m not sure why it’s come up several times recently, but I’ve found myself saying things like, “I’m really glad I’m not an audiophile” or “I’m glad I’m not a music snob” or “I don’t really listen to music that much.” The first two are definitely true, the third turns out to be less true than I thought.
I am not an audiophile. I don’t need to adjust my car’s audio system for different types of music, I don’t need my music downloads to be of a certain quality. I’m happy if I can understand the lyrics and the speakers aren’t blown out.
I am not a music snob. If I like it, I like it. I don’t need it to be new or old or unknown or popular or of a certain genre. I don’t need it to be anything. I need it to make my ears happy, and even better, I need it to touch me. So when you listen to music with me, you’re going to hear Carly Rae Jepsen and Andrew Lloyd Weber and Volbeat and The Civil Wars and Lady Gaga and The Infamous Stringdusters and god knows what else. AND YOU’RE GOING TO LIKE IT. No, not that last part, not really. I don’t care if you don’t like it. I like it.
I don’t listen to music that much. That one… is less true. Honestly, I have nothing playing in my house right now, the only things I hear are my typing and the dog snuffling around in her bed. I often drive all the way to work in the morning without turning the radio on. But while I don’t listen to it as often as some people do, it’s still important to me. It’s still an important element of my life.
All of that came together in my head when I thought about doing this challenge. Originally, I said, “Nahhhh, I’m not into music enough to do that,” but I really do have a soundtrack that plays when my life flashes before my eyes. I have songs that are linked with time frames, with places, with people, with events. I have songs that I rely on to bring me up, to cradle me when I’m down, to give me release when I need it. Music is a part of my life, even when it doesn’t get acknowledged that much.
But, today, and for the next 24 days, we’re going to acknowledge it.
Day 1: A song from your childhood.
For this song I’m choosing Mike and the Mechanics’ In the Living Years. I can remember being out in my father’s garage with my sister, pretending that we were little baby greasemonkeys right along with him. I can remember our lofty attempts at helping him by fetching wrenches and rags often evolved into drawing summer landscapes with chalk on the concrete floor. I can remember the incessant teasing and the fighting that my sister and I used to do. I can remember my millwright father, looking like a dark-haired version of Harley Davidson Santa, a man who should be listening to Charlie Daniels or Steppenwolf, listening to smooth jazz instead. I can remember that in between Boney James and Andreas Vollenweider, a few “popular” songs would play on his favorite radio station. One of the songs was In the Living Years. I can remember that, on occasion, he would tell my sister and me to listen to that song and realize that we would be devastated if anything ever happened to the other. This little life lesson, this emotional tidbit from a very stoic man has stuck with me for my whole life. So maybe not a very childlike one, but this is a song that makes me think of my childhood.
(It also will reappear on day three, so I apologize for the repeat in advance.)