I came across an npr article posting some results from a question they put forth – Tell Us the Songs of Your Life. In truth, how many of us go through life developing our own soundtrack? Don’t be shy. I know I do so on a daily basis, falling in love with the songs or pieces I hear because they hold meaning in the moment in which I’m living. They aren’t always vocal. My preferred range of music is broad and eclectic.
Music is an integral part of the human spirit, a mode of communication that touches more than our auditory nerves, but triggers a response of memory and sensation throughout the body. Music triggers movement in the hands, feet and core. Singing with others binds people together in an intimate way that can’t be achieved with speech alone. Music is a vehicle for expression and interpretation that is universal and timeless.
So I’ve decided to address the exercise by choosing six songs/pieces and moments in my life that coincide.
1. Owl City Fireflies – I first heard this song on the car stereo traveling the miles to visit my first daughter at Children’s Mercy Hospital several days after her birth. Honestly, I probably shouldn’t have been driving myself, still popping pills to ward off incision pain and still in shock from the multiple complications that landed us in the situation. The line “the Earth turns slowly” slowed everything down in my mind and singing the song relieved stress, as singing often does. Singing aloud changes the mood, whether you do so alone or with others. When I hear the song now, I still remember those drives to the hospital.
2. Bill Douglas Heaven in a Wildflower – Adapted from the lengthy poem by William Blake, Douglas transformed the poetry into a choral masterpiece sung by the Ars Nova Singers. The words draw me back from being the center of the universe by reminding me that human beings are actually somewhere in the middle in size and importance. The melody and rich harmony remind me the human beings hold the capacity for greatness, no matter our size. “To see the World in a Grain of Sand And Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.” My husband and I used the words from the poem as a reading in our wedding.
3. Jonn Serrie And the Stars Go with You – There are many New Age synthesized pieces that strike my fancy when they move through my mind like poetry or paint a visible image on my imagination. This piece takes me away to distant galaxies and has done so for over a decade, and will continue to do so for many more. When I need to escape this reality, I plug in my headphones and turn on this album. I’ve drifted off to sleep to this music many times.
4. Patti Lupone I Like to Fuss – Words by Sandra Boynton. Yes, that is correct, the prolific writer of children’s books such as Barnyard Dance, But Not the Hippopotamus, and Snuggle Puppy. Philadelphia Chicken is a musical review complete with illustrated book, music, lyrics, and CD of the songs sung by such celebrities as Scott Bakula, Meryl Streep and Natasha Richardson. The kids love the album played in the car, and we often belt out the tunes together. I Like to Fuss is a song about being a toddler and always doing the opposite of what you’re told and throwing a fit in the process. Perfect for those days when I feel contrary.
5. B-52’s Love Shack – With the last name of “Love,” this is our family theme song. ‘Nuf said.
6. Dave Matthews Dancing Nancies – “Could I have been anyone other than me.” The mantra for those days when everything goes wrong and it would just be nice to be someone else for a while, far away from the craptastic epic fail that presents itself. Eventually, everything works itself out and the world continues to turn. There is little that is so utterly terrible that I can’t recover, though I’ve been tested a few times.
Six songs hardly does justice to the long playlist of almost 40 years of life. I listed the first six that came to my mind. There are links to each artist or song for your exploration.
What six songs illuminate your life?