I wish I could think of how my week went so far, but because I capped my Saturday early morning with a viewing of Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin, that’s the only soundtrack I’m able to think of right now. There are two of them. The first one is Love – though I doubt this is the type of love you’d like to experience.
The there’s Death, when Scarlett Johannsen’s character, Laura, does the fatal seduction of her prey. This is a horror flick after all…
Alright, so enough with horror. Then there’s the soundtrack for the next character I’m writing. It’s Imagine Dragons’ Radioactive:
And then Demons, also by Imagine Dragons:
And finally this, still staying in character because I need him to have a happy ending, Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol:
What sort of music was played in your house when you were growing up? What effect, (if any) did it have on your musical tastes?
My mother was never into music, and so she never owned a radio at all, which meant that we didn’t have the radio blaring at our house when I was growing up. Instead, I remember the sound of mahjong tiles all afternoon and all through the night – and music, if any was played from a cassette player I probably bought on my own, was considered a nuisance and a distraction.
My aunts, however, who lived next door, did have a big stereo and so if I got tired of the silence or the tinkling of the mahjong tiles and the money chips, I went next door to play the records my aunts owned. Earth, Wind and Fire, Journey, Fleetwood Mac, Electric Light Orchestra, Bee Gees…looking back now, my aunts were pretty cool.
In my early teens, my cousins and I loved the same artists and so there was no shortage of music to share between us – as long as it was outside of the house. We listened to Madonna, Culture Club, INX, A-Ha, The Smiths, Duran Duran, U2, Depeche Mode, Bruce Springsteen, Pet Shop Boys, and Nena. The list goes on, of course, and I think that’s where my own tastes came to being, having found the music that I preferred over the ones my aunts introduced me to – although if I remember correctly, there was a foray into Shaun Cassidy for a year or two…
When I was in high school, my mother remarried, and my stepfather introduced me to Broadway tunes. He’d play them each morning and I learned how to wash that man right out of my hair, and that there’s a bright golden haze on the meadow in Oklahoma – wherever that was. And if I were a rich man, I’d build a tall house with rooms by the dozen right in the middle of the town.
Unfortunately, my mother did not share the same love my stepfather had for his Broadway tunes, and so he shared them with me. I loved those mornings with my stepfather. And even though I had never heard of Broadway before, nor saw a play on the Broadway stage, I learned to see the plays inside my head, sing the songs and dance along with them for whatever it was worth.
By the time I hit my 20’s, my tastes went to Sade and Whitney Houston, though working at a radio station introduced me to the Doors, Queen and pop music. When I was finally on my own, my tastes settled onto eclectic Buddha Bar mixes to go along with countless glasses of wine and Manhattans as I reveled living alone in my own little apartment, and drives on the highway going nowhere in particular.
These days, I listen to a variety of music depending on my mood. Some pop, some folk, and even some alternative, and even classical when I need to sit down and write my novel – though most of the time, I play no music at all when I write. There’s a smattering of Broadway songs in there, too, of course, in memory of my stepfather, and the occasional 70’s dance hit to make me smile as I think of my aunts. When I work, I have no choice but listen to relaxing massage music accented with the sounds of water, or the wind, or even a bird call or two, but it’s the last thing I want to listen to when the session ends and I get my own life back again. For when the work day ends, I want to return to music that makes me smile, remembering and honoring the people who introduced them to me.
I only wish I could think of even just one song that my mother might have introduced me to, but nothing comes to mind but the sound of mahjong tiles and money chips at the moment.
Though that could be music to someone’s ears, too, I suppose.
Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle [I used the playlist on my BB]. For each question, press the next button to get your answer. You must write that song title down no matter how silly it sounds! [or you can cheat like I did and use the song on your playlist that best suits the question.]
If someone says, “are you okay?” you say?
Nothing Else Matters (Metallica)
How would you describe yourself?
Sort Of (Ingrid Michaelson)
What do you like in a guy/girl?
Oh My God (Pink)
How do you feel today?
Somebody That I Used To Know (Gotye)
What is your life’s purpose?
Be Somebody (Kings of Leon)
What’s your motto?
Hanging By a Moment (Lifehouse)
What do you parents think of you?
Bongo Bong (Manu Chao)
Music is powerful: it conjures memories, emotions, and people and things of the past. It’s not only a trigger, but an outlet to express who we are. For this challenge, pick one song and write about it — or use it as inspiration for a post. The track may be personally meaningful, or remind you of something, someone, or some event you can look back on. Or maybe you’re drawn to a song’s lyrics and want to use them as a springboard for a short piece of fiction. Or a poem. Or a free-write.
Before the age of iPhones, my friends always knew better than to write down my address in pen. I moved around a lot and loved it. They called me the wanderer because I simply just wanted to go places, even though I couldn’t afford it most of the time. I’d get in my car and drive 500 miles if the mood struck me because it was a Friday and I had enough gas in my car, and someone would be waiting for me when I got there with a cup of coffee, a warm bed and a few days spent laughing.
When I first heard this song, I was in New Mexico and asking myself if I was willing to move and make my home in Alburquerque for the doctor I had fallen head over heels over had asked me to. For some reason, many of the Indigo Girls’ music returned me to me at that time and many of them, through the course of our relationship, symbolized where we stood, as we transitioned from one point of the relationship to the next. From elation and joy to pain and despair, the Indigo Girls captured them all, though this, Get Out the Map, was the start of it. For it was to be the beginning of an adventure that I’d never forget.
And though in the end, our love didn’t last – and I never ended up in New Mexico permanently (something my clients admitted later on they were secretly hoping would never happen) – the songs and their meaning remain strong. Just as this one is as strong as the first time I heard it, when I rolled the windows down and sang at the top of my lungs, knowing that with this man to whom I had fallen in love with, who never ceased to tell me how much he loved me, the lines “I’m going to love you good and strong while our love is good and young” rang so true it hurt.
Get Out the Map – Indigo Girls
The saddest sight my eyes can see is that big ball of orange sinking slyly down the trees Sitting in a broken circle while you rest upon my knee this perfect moment will soon be leaving me Suzanne calls from Boston the coffee’s hot the corn is high And that same sun that warms your heart will suck the good earth dry With everything it’s opposite enough to keep you crying or keep this old world spinning with a twinkle in its eye Get out the map get out the map and lay your finger anywhere down We’ll leave the figuring to those we pass on our way out of town Don’t drink the water there seems to be something ailing everyone I’m gonna clear my head I’m gonna drink that sun I’m gonna love you good and strong while our love is good and young
Joni left for South Africa a few years ago and then Beth took a job all the way over on the West Coast And me I’m still trying to live half a life on the road I’m heavier by the year and heavier by the load. Why do we hurtle ourselves through every inch of time and space
I must say around some corner I can sense a resting place With every lesson learned a line upon your beautiful face We’ll amuse ourselves one day with these memories we’ll trace Get out the map get out the map and lay your finger anywhere down We’ll leave the figuring to those we pass on our way out of town Don’t drink the water there seems to be something ailing everyone I’m gonna clear my head I’m gonna drink the sun I’m gonna love you good and strong while our love is good and young