I don’t know about you, but I have a continuous soundtrack running through my head. At any moment you can ask me, “What song is in your head?” and I can name it. Right now? “Cherish” by Madonna. Could be because I just heard it on the radio ten minutes ago.
Anyway, today Iwanski and I took a Metra train out to Morton Grove to walk in the Forest Preserves. As we walked along the trail, enjoying the beautiful natural scenery, a guy rode by on his bike with a radio playing “Bad Moon Rising” by CCR. I remarked to Iwanski that I thought CCR was a great soundtrack for outdoor wooded settings. In fact, CCR always reminds me of being on vacation, outdoors in Wisconsin. The song “Looking Out My Back Door” in particular is one of my favorite “Wisconsin vacationey” songs. I hear a minute of the song and I feel like I’m sitting there, on a picnic table near some Wisconsin woods, having a beer and watching some squirrels chasing each other. Not bad, huh?
When Iwanski and I got home from our nature walk, Iwanski went on the computer to check out the photos he’d taken, while I hopped in the bathtub for a delightful mid-day bubble bath. (Don’tcha just love the weekend?) As I sunk back into the bubbles, on the bathroom radio the song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (by Bonnie Tyler) started playing. I was instantly transported back to my childhood, and I had a vivid memory of myself sitting on the floor in my bedroom, playing contentedly with my Barbie dolls. Why that song reminded me of that, I have no idea—I can only suppose that I heard that song one time while I was playing with my Barbies. And now, as I listened to the song, I was feeling very happy-nostalgic, grateful that I had had such a pleasant memory from my childhood. And then I felt like I really wanted to play with my Barbie dolls again. (Man, I guess I need to have a kid or something.)
Anyway, I started realizing how much music has really played such a big part in my life. And then I started thinking about other songs that really bring back memories for me. Sometimes it’s a specific memory, but most of the time, it’s just a general memory, or a feeling from a time in my life that I’d long forgotten.
For example, whenever I hear the song “Dancing Queen,” I think of being young and happy—and particularly, I think about dancing with my Dad at weddings. (I don’t know when it started, but my Dad and I always dance to that song together at weddings.) I remember Dad dipping me and swinging me around while I felt my hair blow freely in the breeze created by our dancing. That’s a wonderful memory for me, and I absolutely love that song.
Then there are the “boy crush” songs. The song “Cherish” by Kool in the Gang makes me think of the intense crush I had on my 8th grade band director. (Man, I had SUCH a huge crush on him!) The song “Eternal Flame” by the Bangles reminds me of dancing with my first boyfriend at his high school dance and how I felt like we would be together forever. (Oh, how silly I was back then!) And I would be remiss not to mention the song that reminds me of falling in love with Iwanski. Actually, there are three songs that remind me of that time—“In the Still of the Night” (the Boyzz II Men version), “I’ll Be There” (the Mariah Carey version) and “A Whole New World” from the movie Aladdin. Yes, I realize they are pretty cheesey songs—but then, I’m from Wisconsin. I like cheese.
OK, I just pulled up Mariah Carey’s version of “I’ll Be There” on Youtube, and I’m sitting here bawling. How about that? The power of a song!
And as I was sitting in the tub today thinking of all of these songs, I also remembered how the song “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” by Wang Chung reminds me of when I was in high school and we played the song at our high school band concert. That was the first time I felt really “in the groove” playing my trombone. I played my heart out to that song, and I felt on top of the world. Oh, and also, it was my birthday, and my Mom made cupcakes for everyone to enjoy after the concert. (I went to a very small high school, so to make cupcakes for the whole band and audience was definitely doable.) What a great night!
And as I was sitting in the tub today, reliving that memory, the song on the radio switched, and on came…you guessed it! “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” by Wang Chung! It was so cool!—like God was reading my mind.
To me, music is just that—God’s way of smiling down on us. I feel so lucky to have music in my life.