Today’s prompt: Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?
Songs are difficult for me, especially since I almost always prefer to listen to an entire album. The roller coaster of emotions that really offers meaning to my life doesn’t seem to happen in one song. Instead, the ebb and flow of multiple songs on a well constructed album connects me to places and times of joy, sadness or just plain content. Being the nostalgic person that I am, I also like to reflect on milestones, so I think I’ll start my list with the first CD I ever bought- Sex Packets by the Digital Underground.
One of the benefits of having slightly younger parents was that they liked gadgets. Well, my dad did anyway. So in the early 90’s we were a part of the exclusive group of CD player owners. My dad had a nice collection of Tone Loc, Paula Abdul, George Michael and even some classic Foreigner that had been remastered. During an afternoon at a now defunct Cheapo in Uptown Minneapolis, I decided it was my turn to add to the collection and so I came to own the Humpty Dance and 13 other companion songs. Looking back at it now, this was a pretty astute purchase and a much more impressive album than most people who have only heard the pop-hit single would give it credit for. It was also a advantageous purchase because it occurred before Tipper Gore got her grubby hands on the music industry and demanded those “Explicit Lyrics” stickers on everything, which allowed me to gain possession of the album unquestioned. This was a slightly different story at home however. Since there was only one CD player in the house, I was forced to take refuge in the living room whenever I wanted to “limp to the side like my leg was broken”or “Doowutchyalike” I ran the risk of the profanity being heard by my parents and thus my pristine image would be shattered. Now, mind you, as I mentioned my dad owned many a questionable CDs himself; but he was, of course, the adult. During an afternoon jamming session my dad came home early from work and got a taste of the Underground’s flavor. I thought for sure I was doomed. But instead he basically offered to me a truce- that I could keep the CD so long as neither my mother or my sisters would ever have to be subjected to this album on their virgin eardrums.
You know those days where you wanna crawl under your bed covers and never come out? There was a point in time where I had several months of those consecutively and the album that I always remember playing over and over again was Radiohead‘s The Bends. This was also the only album tour where I got to see them play a show. In my day one post I admit to duping my parents into letting me go to the homecoming dance when really I was at the concert. It’s still one of those albums that doesn’t really make me feel happy or sad, just makes me feel intensely alive.
The final album of mention has got to be Toxcicity by System of a Down. This CD stayed in my car’s CD player for an entire summer. I would relish the chore of a 45-minute drive from Lakeville to St. Paul to visit my boyfriend because it would allow me time to listen to it again. Sometimes even taking slight detours so I could hear the album from start to finish. Just thinking about it makes me want to listen again and again because it has the perfect mix of climaxes and calming periods. It’s worth listening to just for the song Aerials, but the song itself is so much better with the build of the rest of the album that it’s hard to want to skip right to it. I think could still recite each lyric flawlessly.
I feel like I could go on to say that if I had to pick three songs I likely could, but they would pale in comparison to the impact of these albums. What would you pick?