When I do these, it is mainly to decompress. I thought this week was going to be light. Yeah, right! Social media has been on fire for me all week long. So this is my way of escaping from it all. No education tonight. No Facebook. No emails. Just chilling with some tunes and hoping things change soon. I always do the “read more” on these articles cause I know they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. They tend to be long and I babble at times. Sometimes I reveal things about myself that most people don’t know. This one is no exception. In fact, I get very real on many different subjects in this one.
Pride (In The Name Of Love), U2: Did you ever actually have a song inspire you to learn about something? This homage to Martin Luther King Jr. did that for me. It was 1985. I had just seen the band in concert in New Haven, CT. Bono was talking about MLK. I heard of him, but I didn’t really know what he did. That was all it took. We need more like him in this world, seriously!
Main Street, Bob Seger: This song reminds me off all the main streets in America. Get me a main street in a little town over some over industrialized shopping mall area any day of the week. That is one of the things I love about Delaware. We still have a lot of those.
Beat A Drum, R.E.M.: 2001. Moving to Menifee,CA. The 15. Yes, they call highways “The” in the west. The mountains and valleys. Always sunny. Still miss that lifestyle. “This is all I want, it’s all I need.”
Closer, Better Than Ezra: Another 2001 song. Reminds me of the pre-9/11 days. Just peaceful summer days before it all went to pot. A new house, painting and planting. Exploring. Meeting new people.
Shake, The Head and the Heart: Have you ever had a premonition? That things just aren’t right? That feeling in the pit of your stomach. The dread. And then it all happens. The silent scream. The agony with no ecstasy.
The Winner Takes It All, ABBA: When I was younger, I loved ballads. But this is no ballad. It is a song about divorce and separation. About endings. I’m going through that now. It is tough at times. Other times it is easy. It is a complete and utter shift to everything you are and do. And when a child is in the mix, it makes every single decision you make have very important meaning. It will happen in the next six months to a year. There are no winners in a divorce. But it does free me up to talk about other times in my life that I probably wouldn’t have if not for that. So there is that. Divorce is a lot like death. You go through the five stages. Sometimes you flip back and forth between them. But eventually you reach that acceptance stage and accept what is. You start to see past the time between now and the divorce and see hope for new things, new places, new people. It is what it is.
Baby Blue, Dave Matthews Band: Totally reminds me of Jacob. He was five when this song came out. Not quite a toddler anymore but still had that innocence kids start to lose when they go to school. He was in pre-school back then. I loved picking him up every day. Seeing his happy face and his beautiful blue eyes that just shine any other blues away.
A Forest, The Cure: One of those songs that I’ve grown to love more and more each time I hear it. It didn’t do much for me when I bought their greatest hits compilation back in 1987, but it grew on me. The bass constantly moving over the main guitar. Robert Smith’s haunting voice used just a little bit to let the music flow.
Fugitive, David Gray: David Gray is, to me, the modern-day Billy Joel or Elton John. This song, from 2009, reminds me of fall. I found this trail near my house that goes deep into the woods. Jacob and I would walk back there, or sometimes, I would just walk by myself. The leaves falling all around me. Still warm enough to wear a short-sleeve shirt on some days. Feeling the sun peek through the trees. A pond to my right and birds flying around. Not a sound except that of nature getting ready for winter.
Run To The Water, Live: The fall of 1999. I got a new car. That meant exploring. Driving everywhere around south-eastern Pennsylvania. I found some awesome places back then. I was working at a pressure-cooker mortgage company. Perform or lose your job. Luckily, I made a shift towards the loan default area. But the stress until I got there was enormous. A good friend of mine was moving overseas. Putting old skeletons to bed. Growing up. There was a lot going on that fall.
Cuts You Up, Peter Murphy: Life can get really jacked up sometimes. What was once up becomes down, or vice versa. When you can’t trust what you thought was real, it plays games with your head. I’m not talking about insanity. I’m talking about trust. Once it breaks, it can be impossible to get back. It does cut you up and spits you out.
Seasons In The Sun, Terry Jacks: This song must have been on the radio when I was 4 or 5, but I don’t remember it. But I do remember someone playing it at The Wayne Tavern, the local hang-out spot in college. So many memories in that place! I do remember most of them, LOL!
Something’s Always Wrong, Toad the Wet Sprocket: After college, life slows down for most graduates. The real world kicks in. Things start to matter with a lot more significance. I really wish I had used that time more wisely back then. I didn’t. I will be the first to admit it. I got stuck in the moments when my focus should have been elsewhere.
Lakini’s Juice, Live: This is a very dark song. It is about… I have no idea. It isn’t a song I play often because it is so dark. But when I do, I blast it. We all have those “pissed-off” songs we play to vent some steam. There is a darkness inside every single one of us. The question becomes what to do with it: suppress it, let it out, or use it to our advantage.
Nothing But Time, Metric: Sometimes you just need to stop. Slow it down. Take a break. In the 21st Century, we have been trained and groomed to get information in an instant. We have become an instant gratification society in many ways. Why do we rush things? We do have time. The future will always be there.
Heart of Glass, Blondie: I loved this song when it came out in 1979. I remember trying to stay up late to watch Blondie play the song on Saturday Night Live, but I didn’t make it. I was so upset. This song reminds me of being a kid. One of my “golden oldies”. Not that I’m that old, but whatever.
A Summer Song, Chad & Jeremy: 1995. June. I woke up one morning to my radio/alarm clock going off. This song was playing. Back then I didn’t have the Internet to immediately find out who sang a song like we do now. You can just put in a part of the lyrics and find it out. But I did have the next best thing: Joel Whitburn’s Billboard Top 10 Lists book covering songs from the 1950s until 1988 or so. I did hear the DJ name the duo that sang the song. It’s a song about summer love. Which I had an infinite amount of that summer. Within a few days of hearing that song, I met someone. I wound up moving to another country for that person. But I remember when she left America at the end of that summer. I knew I would be visiting her in a couple of months, but it was tough dropping her off at Newark Airport that very hot Labor Day.
Feels So Good, Van Halen: I was always a bigger “Sammy Van Halen” fan than “David Van Halen” during the Van Halen heyday. Sammy came around during my “fun” high school years between 1986 to 1988. This song reminds me of my last month of high school. The endless parties and prom and going to concerts and that feeling of liberation waiting right around the corner. It felt so good!
Main Title/Looks Like A Suicide, John Barry: One of my favorite movies from the 1990s was “Dances With Wolves”. I love historical epics like that. We don’t have enough of them anymore. We need to. In the beginning of the movie, John Dunbar has seen all the horrors of the Civil War that he cared to see. He wanted to be done with it. During a standoff, he gets up on a horse and forces the soldiers into battle. He was trying to kill himself, but he wound up turning the tide of the battle. He was shot in the leg. He wound up doing something that was much bigger than the person he was as a soldier. Great story!
Until The End of Time, Foreigner: Wow! I haven’t heard this song in years! I totally forgot about this over-looked gem from Foreigner. Singer Lou Gramm sang his heart out on this ballad. From one of their last studio albums with Lou, from 1995 or so. Song doesn’t apply to my life right now though so I don’t have much to say about it!
Love Is The Seventh Wave, Sting: The end of June 1986. I had to go see about a girl. I was working for a book company called Attic Books. The owner started a comic price guide the previous winter. I was a part-time worker. When I went to lunch, I tended to take long lunch breaks. On this day, I had to go meet someone. I was prepared to walk the three miles to go see her. What can I say, I was young and crazy. Me with my Hawaaian shirt, braces, and bad hairstyle. I remember singing this song in my head for the entire hour or so it took me to walk to her work. I saw her for about five minutes and went back to work. The things we do when we are young!
Never Let Me Down (Aggro Mix), Depeche Mode: 1987. Fall. Kryptons. Woo-Woos. My friend Pete. The backroads. Spaceeba. The Diner. ‘Nuff said.
Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen: Raise your hand if you could sing this whole song before “Wayne’s World” in 1991. I proudly raise my hand! This song reminds me of singing a very long song with highs and lows and pretending you can sing it like Freddy Mercury but you fail miserably.
Change of Time, Josh Ritter: I actually wrote a blog post last December with the title of this song as the title. I put the video in the article. I was at rock bottom because of the events I mentioned in the ABBA song above. I needed a break from this blog. I had been going at it for two and a half years without a break. This was before I got past the very obvious stage of denial and thought things could change. Giving this blog up seemed like a logical thing to do at the time. Before I wrote that article, I talked to a good friend. Told him what was going on. I am grateful for that friend’s advice that day. While I didn’t eventually follow every single word of it, it helped immensely. A couple of weeks later, I was back at it when I found out John Carney was picking Susan Bunting for Secretary of Education. It was a slow start at first, coming back to this blog. Filled with hits and misses all over the place. It took a while for me to “get my groove back”. I smell another break coming very soon. Not for the same reasons, but after feverishly trying to cover as much as I could the past month or so, it is time. But this will be a week or two summer break.
Par Avion, Mike + the Mechanics: If you actually listen to this song, it’s a love song. But for me, it reminds me of a tropical island. I really wish I was on a tropical island sometimes. Either with or without people. I haven’t had any type of vacation in a long time. I need to remedy that.
Try Not To Breathe, R.E.M.: When R.E.M. came out with Automatic For The People in 1992, I hated it. I wrote for my college newspaper and I trashed the album. I didn’t give it a good listen at the time because it wound up becoming one of my favorite albums of all time, by any band. This song is just one of those reasons. History is always looking through the lens of the present.
Demons, Imagine Dragons: This song has a very specific meaning for me. It was May 27th, 2013. I got the call. The call that I was dreading for years but knew would come. My mother was dying and she was unable to eat. It would be a matter of days. As I drove from Delaware to Pennsylvania that night, I played this song over and over. I thought about what happened when she died. I’ve always believed in Heaven and knew she would go there. Knowing that, I also believed she would see me in ways she never did on Earth. She would know my every sin, my every thought. Would I still be the same son to her? Would she see the things I’ve never told a living soul and judge me for it? We all have those things in our selves. We are human. She passed away on May 30th. I was able to spend her final days with her. Helping my Dad take care of her during those very difficult moments. Listening to her Final Rites. Her asking me the day before she died if she was going to die that day. My father and I telling her no. The fear in her eyes of knowing it was coming. Holding her hand. Telling her how much I love her. That’s what I think about every single time I hear this song. Those four days, stretching from Monday to Thursday. The last days with my mother. I knew, in the end, she went peacefully in the very early hours of the morning with no pain. I also knew that morning where she was going is a place none of us will ever imagine until we get there. I also know she wouldn’t want me to be in any rush to get there and to live my life as best I could. And that she forgave me.