Everyone has those songs. The ones you hear and are immediately taken back to a moment or time in your life that you will always remember- good or bad. Music is of course tied with holidays and special occasions, but sometimes music can remind you of an ordinary day with an extraordinary memory.
I am not a huge music person. I don’t really have a favorite band, or favorite song. I do however have songs that are special to me because of what they remind me of.
My first memory to a song is Lorenzo by Phil Collins. During elementary school, I had to be driven to school by my mom because I went to a private school that did not have bus routes near my house. She would take me and my brother Jonathan, who was 4 years younger than me, and divvy up the song into different instrumental parts. My mom would be the singer, I would do the drums, and Jonathan would do the guitar and maracas. She would always blast the song when the drums came on, in part because it was my turn and because she is a Phil Collins fanatic. The song for the most is very upbeat, but its lyrics describe a sad story of a boy from East Africa who loved life and adventure. He was diagnosed with a rare nerve disease called adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD. This song came full circle to me when I actually had to watch a movie inspired by the little boy Lorenzo, called Lorenzo’s Oil, for a class in high school. The movie documents a parents struggle to find a cure for their son, while showing how much love a parent has for his child. This song reminds me of the love my mom has for me and my siblings and that she would go to great lengths to ensure we are happy and healthy.
Is it Christmas yet? When is the appropriate time to start playing Christmas music and not be looked at funny? My answer is whenever I feel like hearing it. There is no better music to me than Christmas music. My favorite music comes from Andy Williams and Michael Buble. The instruments, the voices, the meaning behind the songs, it just makes me feel good. Christmas music reminds me of a time where everyone is happy, family gets together and the house always smells amazing. It smells just like Christmas- I don’t know how to define that smell, but I think everyone has their own. To me, it is cinnamon and peppermint, a wood fire and the smell of pine needles from the tree. In my mind, the snow is lightly falling and houses are twinkling with Christmas lights. Can you picture it? Good.
Wannabe by the Spice Girls defines my whole life between the ages of 7-12. Ginger, Scary, Posh, Baby, Sporty and Scary were my girls. Everything they did or made, I made sure to be a 100 percent apart of it. CDs, movies, candy, magazines- I had it all. It also so happened that I had four best friends who lived in my neighborhood and were just as obsessed as me. We used to get together all day, everyday, in the summer and pretend to be them. I was always Ginger. We would make up dances, plays, and even try to re-create their movie Spice World with our parent’s video cameras. One time we even sold tickets to a Spice Girls concert, performed by us, and made all the moms in the neighborhood buy them. I am sure they found us adorable at the time. Now that I go back and actually understand the lyrics, now I know why my parents cringed every time, and there were hundreds of times, I sang this song.
“If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends
(Gotta get with my friends)
Make it last forever, friendship never ends
If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give
(You’ve got to give)
Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is”
Taking piano lessons every week was, eh, okay. I liked it, didn’t love it. My mom had played growing up and was determined that I learned to. “It’s a life skill,” she always used to tell me. I started taking lessons around 6-years-old. My next door neighbor is a piano teacher, so to my mom, it was a match made in heaven. My first piano recital- I can feel my hands still beginning to sweat- was scarring. Having to get up and play in front of a church full of strangers was horrifying. I was playing Beethoven’s Fur Elise and even though I knew it by heart, I was still up with the runs the entire night before. Even though most people wouldn’t be able to tell if you messed up a note or two, it was still agonizing to think of thought of messing up and having people laugh or feel bad for you. Even after my 8th recital, it never got easier. This song is beautiful, and I love everything about classical music, but to this day I still get butterflies when I hear this song.
Michael Jackson was weird, but his music was awesome. You know when there is a Michael Jackson song playing at a party, you get people up and dancing. Every summer growing up, my neighborhood had a block party. We all got together in the middle of a cul-de-sac, rented a huge wedding-size tent, hired a DJ, and had every neighbor bring their grill. The party would go on until the early hours of the next morning. No one had to drive, so the parents had fun and the kids enjoyed no curfews. Smooth Criminal always got everyone up on the dance floor each year. It was like, the song to start all songs. Every parent was put right back into their hay-day and loved every second of it. Seeing all the parents get up and act silly was always so fun for us kids to watch-each embarrassed by our own parents but admired how cool our friends parents were. Since the block party always happened the first weekend of summer, Michael Jackson songs remind me of carefree times ahead.