Interestingly, I found this on my computer. It had been a gift to my sister, a very personal gift that told her a lot without telling her everything. Twelve years have past and the only other song I think I’d add to this is “Boys of Summer” by Don Henley. And Def Leppard and the Killers seem to have taken over as workout music.
“This is what I would regard as the soundtrack of my life from high school to 2005. You will probably hate some of these songs, but I think you need to broaden your horizons. Haha. This is a very personal gift and in listening to it you may learn a few things about me. And maybe you’ll go out and buy some new music! All these songs speak to me in some way. It was difficult to limit the songs to just these dozen. Most of high school was taken up with hair bands (Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” being a higher-class one) and Phil Collins and sappy love songs. These are the songs that have stuck with me.
- “With or Without You” by U2. The song that introduced me to U2. This would have been around 1987. It’s off “The Joshua Tree,” their biggest album. Another fabulous song on there that will make you want to drive fast is “Where The Streets Have No Name.” You should own this album. My other favorite U2 albums are “Achtung Baby” from 1991 (“The Fly,” “One” and “Ultraviolet [Light My Way]”) are particularly memorable!) and “The Unforgettable Fire” from 1985.
- “End of the Innocence” by Don Henley (1989). I love his voice almost as much as Bono’s. Henley, if you didn’t already know, is the drummer and one of the lead singers of the Eagles, a band you surely should spend some time with. This song was very important to me the summer before I started college. It’s also the first song I sang to Griffin as a lullaby because it was the only song whose words I could remember in totality besides “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” I saw Henley perform at Breslin. The Eagles are great live. You need to own some of their stuff, too. Even just a greatest hits.
- “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. An old song from 1975 off the album of the same name. I think this album is one of the absolute best from beginning to end and it’s among my picks as the music I’d take if stuck on a desert island. I bought the album in vinyl at a used music store in East Lansing my freshman year of college. I first heard the song right before I started college. Hearing it live is pretty magical.
- “Closer to Fine” by the Indigo Girls. I know you like this song a lot. It was on the jukebox at Bilbo’s, a great place for beer and great, great soft breadsticks with dill dip. I went there pretty often with Beth, Shefali, Cindy and Natalie. No longer in East Lansing; last I knew, a martini bar was in its place.
- “Bizarre Love Triangle” by New Order. This was alternative dance music, techno in my day in college. This is the only song I absolutely LOVE dancing to, and believe me I’m not a good dancer.
- “Jungleland” by Springsteen. Sigh. “The rangers had a homecoming in Harlem late last night/
And the Magic Rat drove his sleek machine over the Jersey state line/
Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge/
Drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain/
The Rat pulls into town rolls up his pants/
Together they take a stab at romance and disappear down Flamingo Lane.”
I know you are rolling your eyes at this one. Yes, it’s long. But it’s heartfelt, majestic, aching and has great piano. I have tried to find the sheet music. I listened to this song over and over on my record player (the vinyl makes it all wonderfully scratchy) lying in the dark, drinking Bud Light out of bottles in my room in Cedar Village. It was a very rough time for me, back in summer of ’90, I think, when a very unpleasant thing happened to me. Shefali and Beth thought I had lost it. But to me, this was musical therapy. I also danced to this song one night in college when he stopped by to make me feel better. I have since heard the E Street Band play this one live twice and it’s just fabulous. “Born to Run” opens the album; “Jungleland” closes it. You need to listen to the whole album. The songs are all linked. The song that almost bumped this one off is “Thunder Road,” another great, great, great song off that album. My old roommate Lita loved the line “You ain’t a beauty, but hey you’re all right.” Hahaha. We had that posted on the Spartan Avenue house refrigerator for a long time.
7. “Love Song” by the Cure. Another big Europe song for me. I remember riding a bus through rural England listening to this on my Walkman. A very sunny day, lots of flowering shrubs on the side of the road. I think it was on the way back from Oxford or Cambridge. “Disintegration” (1989) was one of the few tapes I brought with me. The whole album is a bit melancholy. Shefali and I used to listen to this all the time during our dorm naps. Shefali was partial to Anita Baker and Barbra Streisand (!) for naptime music. “Plainsong” and “Pictures of You” are excellent, too. I was quite melancholy that summer for some reason; most likely the usual reasons I am melancholy. I don’t listen to this album very often, but it would be on the list to take with me on the desert island.
8. “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn. I listened to this song on the British Airways Walkman system all the way from Detroit to London. Seriously, almost all 8 hours. You could pick songs from all sorts of categories and I just randomly picked this one and loved it. It spoke to me. This is one of the songs on this CD that makes me get choked up every time I hear it. Going to Europe was one of the best things I have ever done. I am sad you haven’t done this yet.
9. “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits. Anyway, Shefali had a take-me-back tape in Europe from her old boyfriend and this song was on it. This is one of the most romantic, bittersweet songs I know. No, she did not take him back. Walking around the bay in a small Irish city when the tide was out, discussing her boyfriend dilemma, was also the only time I have ever seen Shefali cry.
10. “Rearview Mirror” by Pearl Jam. I cannot believe you would have ever heard this song, but this is my favorite PJ song. Derek and I really loved “Jeremy” but then Columbine happened and you just can’t listen to it the same way. You can’t say some demented kid is just “a harmless little fuck” anymore. Now “Rearview Mirror” is one fabulous song to run to. Back when I ran, very slowly but still I did run for awhile, this was a great song to get you going toward the end of a workout. It will also make you drive fast. Derek and I went with Rob and Lisa to see Pearl Jam at the Palace. This was the highlight of the concert for me.
11. “Miracle Drug” by U2. One of the most recent U2 songs, off the “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb” CD. Beautiful, beautiful lyrics. A song for those of us getting older and realizing hearts and flowers isn’t where it’s all at. (This is also on here to prove I don’t just listen to old music from the ’70s.) And the guitar during the song’s bridge is excellent.
12. “100 Years” by Five For Fighting. This song makes me cry every time I hear it. Even the credit card commercial featuring this song makes me cry. I love, love, love this song. And I don’t, don’t, don’t like getting old and knowing I’m going to die. Strangely, I was pregnant with Griffin during this guy’s other big hit, “Superman (It’s Not Easy),” and pregnant with Andrew during this song (when I was 33, which is significant).
13. “With or Without You” by U2, the extended live version. This is worth it just for the extra verse at the end. Plus, you MUST at some point see U2 live. You absolutely must. I have seen U2 at least 5 times so far and have yet to be pulled onstage. 😦 ”
Of course, there are themes running through this soundtrack. And big issues. And big feelings. Anytime I hear these songs, I’m taken back.
What would be on your soundtrack?