Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

The life and times of a girl named Swishy.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A post totally not about Election Day*

(Job update: The other day, I was so in love with my job I wanted to marry it; the next day I wanted to arrange for it to have a "tragic" "accident" during our Carribean honeymoon so I could collect the insurance money and shack up with a much younger cabana boy by the ocean. Today we were back on decent terms. I'll keep you posted.

Apartment update: None. In denial. Moving on.)

A few weeks ago I saw Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, which I thought was really cute (thanks in large part to Michael Cera, who Manic likes to call "that boy from Juno" even though he's really that boy from Arrested Development. I MISS THAT SHOW!). The other day, my friend sent me a little package with fun magazines and caramel popcorn and the Nick and Norah soundtrack. I was reading the liner notes and the director talks about how he worked in a music store when he was in high school. People would come in just desperate to find out the name of a song they heard in passing, a snippet they heard on the radio or in a store or through the open window of someone else's car, and he would help them find the song.

I have done that SO MANY TIMES, just gotten absolutely crazed over finding a song. I'm constantly scribbling down, like, five words on the back of some receipt and then Googling them to death later until I find the right one. I searched for MONTHS for the song that played when Carrie saw Aidan again at the opening of Steve's bar on Sex and the City (Love for Real by Everlast ... it threw me because it was mostly instrumental, and the vocals that WERE there were by a woman). I was at lunch with someone once and, I don't know, it was kind of one of "those" conversations, and this perfect song was playing in the background, which I found out later was Statue by Low Millions. A couple of months ago, I heard a line of this song that I just loved and HAD to find, and it was Just Say Anything by Five a.m. (My favorite example of that on the CD is a song called The Last Words, and there's a part that goes, "You said you loved me and I kind of believed it, but who knows what that means anymore." It's like 1:20 in, listen to it, it's so good.)

Anyway, reading that reminded me of that scene in Garden State where she's like, listen to this song, it will change your life. I didn't love that scene, actually, but I like the idea of a song moving you so much it changes your life a little. I was trying to think of what mine would be, and it's HARD! I feel like they shouldn't just be songs I like, they should be songs that MEAN something. Here's what I've got ...

Fire and Rain and Carolina in my Mind, James Taylor. When I was 13 or 14, I had this incredible crush on a boy named Drew. I went to this dance and they played Fire and Rain (totally random), and Drew actually ASKED ME TO DANCE. We (I) had our little three minutes and 26 seconds of bliss, and then I didn't talk to him the rest of the night. My friend's mom came to pick us up. We were all packed into the minivan, and I was in the way, way back, looking out the window, when Drew's mom's car pulled up right next to us. Drew was in the backseat, and I just stared at him, like, having a mini heart attack while everyone else around me talked and laughed and whatever. I didn't think he could see me, but then all of a sudden, right when the light turned green, he put his hand up and gave me a little wave. Carolina in my Mind (double random) was playing on the radio, and I swear to you, it was the first time in my life that time froze just for a second. I am a HUGE "moment" girl, which is why I can remember things like what song was playing when I had lunch with someone three years ago. That was the first real "moment" I remember.

Closer to Fine, Galileo, Least Complicated, Indigo Girls. I listened to a lot of Indigo Girls my first year or two of college. I had this all-nighter ritual: Excedrin, Dr Pepper, Goldfish crackers and Indigo Girls. I think it was the first time I realized there was stuff outside of Top 40 radio, which definitely impacted the kind of music I liked from that point on, and all of the lyrics were about figuring out who you were and what it means to be in love and things like that, which were pretty appropriate for a 17-year-old girl away from home (2,000 miles away, no less) for the first time.

Angel Dream, Tom Petty. I dated this guy once who was in a band. He used to say this song reminded him of me, and he put his version and Tom Petty's version on a tape for me when I went off to college. Why was it life-changing? Because he was the first person who really loved me--not just liked me, but loved me--even though he didn't have to, even though I didn't quite love him back the same way, and that song reminds me of that.

Falls Apart, Sugar Ray. This is the song that caused me to hurl myself at the stage and tell Mark McGrath I would have his babies. (Did I say I was proud? No. No, I did not.) But I HAVE loved concerts ever since.

Chocolate, Snow Patrol. The first line is: "This could be the very moment I'm aware I'm alive." I think a lot of times we can catch ourselves sleepwalking through life, but no matter how much time you've wasted, no matter how you've screwed up, it can all change right this second. I can't tell you how many times I've blasted that song and been like, OK, this could be it, this could be the beginning of the rest of your life.

Mr. Brightside, The Killers. It totally represents to me the beginning of one of the more significant relationships of my life (timing, maybe?). For a long, long time, I listened to it every day on the way to work.

And two albums: August and Everything After, by the Counting Crows, and Futures, by Jimmy Eat World. I did not like Counting Crows when that album came out. As a matter of fact, I think it's fair to say I HATED THEM. But a few years later, when I didn't hear Mr. Jones every single time I turned on the radio or see Courteney Cox moping in the video for A Long December every time I turned on MTV, I rediscovered that CD and just fell absolutely in love. I just GOT it. I feel like I can relate to just about every song on that CD.

And Futures ... oh, Futures. There are a few songs on Futures that completely, utterly and totally capture some very big years of my life. Do you ever feel like if someone watched something or read something or heard something in particular, they would be able to get you that much more? I feel that way with some of those songs. They're me, in four-minute increments. I guess that's why they made such an impact on me, because someone was able to put into words how I feel and I know I'm not the only person in the world who feels that way.

What about you? What songs changed your life? (Maybe we'll make a life-changing soundtrack and do a giveaway!)

(*Although, yes, you should stand in line and vote and blah blah blah. I was totally into this election for a long time, and now I am so sick of it I could scream. I'm sure I'll still have my butt in front of the TV watching results all night, though.)


At 7:28 AM, Blogger DeeMarie said...

There are a handful of songs that take me back to a certain "moment" in my life. I don't know what I'd do without music!
I used to work for a bookstore and the same thing happened. Someone saw a book, or heard about a book and didn't know who the author was or the title, but they wanted it. Moments...
I thought Nick & Norah's was pretty cute, sans the bathroom scene (and all gum scenes thereafter).

At 11:09 AM, Blogger kim said...

"life's been good" Joe Walsh -- this one comes back time after time. Through every shitstorm in life, "I can't complain, but sometimes I still do. Life's been good to me so far..."


At 11:33 AM, Blogger Beth said...

"Bad Company"...that was my getting high days

"Tapestry" Carole King
so many songs on this album are fantastic, but "You've got a Friend" is always a favorite.

"Bay City rollers" I LOVED them! They were the first concert I ever went to, and I wore my short plaid pants with a scarf and screamed my head off. FUN!

"Journey" anything by Journey in fact. concerts...also a bad time in my life.

Cameo, Sugar Hill Gand, all kinds of R & B...I was in my last years of high school, and then I was 20 and pregnant with Rae...with my Baby Daddy going to prison and heating on me right and left...but I still love me some R & B!!!

At 12:21 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Wow, we're on the same page, I was thinking about something like this yesterday!! (In the wake of my tragic Ipod loss). Anyway, 23 from Jimmy Eat World is 100% one of those songs.

Also, can't believe you didn't mention this one, but Waiting for my Real Life to Begin by Colin Hay was huge when I was...waiting for my real life to begin (update: it began).

One last one, Come Downstairs and Say Hello by Guster. Alot like Chocolate in the sense that whenever I hear this song, I think, THIS is it, that moment. Guess we're both optimists :)

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Swishy said...

23 is totally one of my favorite songs ever!!! "Don't give away the end, the one thing that stays mine ..." LOVE. THAT. SONG. That and Kill are my favorites.

AND of course Colin Hay, and I like Guster too. AND Kim's and Beth's picks. I'm totally doing a CD!

At 1:11 PM, Blogger Elle Charlie said...

Thank you for not writing about the election.

I have so many songs that remind me of so many times in my life. I love music for that reason. The most recent song that impacted my life was the John Mayer (who I don't even actually like) song "Say". It reminded me how being upfront and honest and facing your fears and the truth can change your life.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Tanya said...

Mr. Brightside was totally my senior year of college song. I watched the music video everyday. I totally loved Brandon in that video, and that video alone. I once went out with a guy, because he looked like Brandon.
Snow Patrol and Jimmy Eat World are on my "make me feel better" soundtrack. They are both on my 5 Artist Desert Island list.

I love love love music.

At 3:28 PM, Blogger Dizzy Ms. Lizzy said...

"Cherish" by The Association. I got my first REAL kiss with that song playing in the background.

Last year, at our annual Street Festival (Decatur Celebration) I was working on the main stage and got to meet the lead singer from The Association. I told him about getting my first kiss to that song, and we had some good laughs and swapped memories of old songs and things we remembered happening when they were playing.

Ah, memories . . .

At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anything by Ace of Base.

At 5:00 PM, Blogger shopgirl said...

I love thinking about and hearing songs that bring back memories!! I used to work at a radio station - so I was ALWAYS the person that my friends would call and ask "who sings this? or that? That's how I met Dave - he was the DJ - so if I didn't know the answer - he did! Man, just typing this takes me back to that job!!

I say YES! to a soundtrack. Hmmm... I'll have to think about all my favs.

At 10:20 PM, Blogger MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

You are so thought-provoking.

Oh, and I see Beth's comment. I wasn't going to talk songs, but Bad Company's Feel Like Making Love -- I was ACTUALLY DOING IT with an ASSHOLE on his WATERBED when this song was playing -- how totally freshman-year-in-college -- during the middle of a party at his apartment.

it was bad sex.

I thought he was my boyfriend.

later that night, he was making out with another girl.

I have that diary entry. I should post it.

PS--I hope you and your job are back together or at least seeing a counselor. You'v only been together like three weeks. Give it a chance! Hee hee!

At 10:38 PM, Blogger Betty said...

For me, the oldies hit "Let it Be" was playing when a boy asked me to dance for the first time...and my favorite teacher in high school used to say that his favorite song was "Time in a Bottle" so I think of my dear teacher whenever I hear it on an oldies station.

Just recently I went crazy trying to find another song I remember ed from high school. I swear I heard it during the ad for a movie. So I went to see the movie, but the sond never played. I never did figure out what that song was, but I can hear it in my head.....aurrrrrghhhh!


At 10:40 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

And that right there is why I rarely listen to the radio. I HATE it when a song I like (or would otherwise have liked) gets overplayed like that.

For me, the Alanis Morissette single -- the first one -- was a defining moment. When I'd just discovered the present moment of my life was cheating on me. And I was leaving that part of my world forever trying to figure out how she could be "better" than me.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger flea said...

i too love music and there are just so many songs (which I can't think of right now) that take me back in time to a specfic moment and place, our world would be such a dull place if we didn't have music

At 12:01 AM, Anonymous courtney said...

There are so many. Let's see, there's Fade Into You by Mazzy Star which was playing when my first love pulled me close to him and kissed me (for not the first time, but for complicated reasons, a very special time). Then there's Save Me From Myself by (yes, I know) Christina Aguilera that is a very simple and beautiful song that is totally about my best friend. Totally. There's so many more, but yeah, music is amazing like that.

At 12:27 AM, Blogger Scribe LA said...

Yay swishy. Good luck with your new job. Your posts always make me smile!

How is the soundtrack to Nick & Nora? Is the movie worth it? I adore all things Michael Cera, so I have it on my list of to-sees.

Be well :-)

At 12:00 PM, Blogger Andie said...

In your Eyes by Peter Gabriel.
Made me realize that I should never hide behind anything.

Desperately Wanting by Better than Ezra

I have others, I'm just drawing a blank right now! LOL

At 9:02 AM, Blogger JenKneeBee said...

This is such a great post! I love those songs that you find at just the right time in your life to hit you hard.

Just some of the songs that would have to be on my list:

Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls - This song was being played EVERYWHERE during on of the happiest times in my life

Eleanor by Low Millions - This was one of those songs I had to search for and when I found it, I listened to it on repeat forever.

Till it Happens to You by Corinne Bailey Rae - I was going through the worst break-up of my life. Somehow I still love the song though.

I Saw the Sign by Ace of Base - The first tape (haha!) I ever bought.

A Case of You by Joni Mitchell - This song more than any other just feels like it was made for me even though the lyrics really don't fit my life very well. The music and her voice cut straight to my heart.

At 9:51 AM, Blogger Jerseygrl said...

Oh the soundtrack of my life ok. Jersey Girl by Springsteen because that IS ME. Living on a prayer Bon Jovi
Sending me Angels
Blue eyes Eric Clapton

Yup that pretty much sums it up.

At 5:09 PM, Blogger Mandy said...

Small Town by John Cougar Mellencamp, it helped me realize that being from a small town is something I needed to embrace.


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