Shivers run up and down your spine. You feel the glorious tingling sweep from your upper back down your arms and into your hands. All it took was the sound of that voice. But it was a fleeting moment. You heard that sound but as quickly as it came on, it is gone. You keep looking and looking. Searching and searching, but you cannot find her. Hearing that voice just one more time occupies every waking moment and you cannot wait until you come across her again. And then, out of the blue, there it is again and that familiar tingly feeling comes back and you put everything else on hold to let the moment wash over you.
Have you ever felt that way about a song? Don’t lie, you know you have. Even if it wasn’t the greatest song ever written, be proud and relish that memory. This is one of the best things about music, the way that with just one note or one measure you can be instantly transported to another place and time. That summer between high school and college. Your wedding reception. Spring Break 1995. A vacation. Your first job. We all have that song or multiple songs. (I would encourage you to list yours either on the Facebook comments or the comments for this blog.)
“Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince will always be associated with my summer between 8th grade and high school. It takes me back to all those summer evenings when I would hang out back at Operation Summer, which was essentially a teen center where most of my graduating class were trying to delay the inevitable moment that would soon come and scatter us to different high schools and different paths.
“With David Bowie” is an energetic and high-flying song by Veruca Salt which makes me think of the Spring semester of my sophomore year in college. I must have listened to this song a million times that year with my roommate in the fraternity house. It makes me think of my roommate who was by far my best friend in the house. Interestingly for such a happy sounding song, it also brings a lot of sadness and angst because Mark moved out of the house at the end of the year and because it reminds me of the girl that I had a crush that entire year who either didn’t know I existed, or did but ignored me anyway. (Not sure which one is worse. Let’s just move on.)
“Ghetto Superstar” is Susie and my song (which unfortunately no one guessed or so many posts ago.) We didn’t use it as the first dance at our wedding, only because we didn’t think that anyone would really understand. It came out a few months before we started dating and it reminds me of the early parts of our relationship.
“Sparkle and Shine” by Econoline Crush brings me back to Spring Break of my senior year in college. The Brothers decided to go out to the middle of Utah. Being poor college students, we decided that the best way to get there was to drive all night. The Bringer of Pain had a six CD changer and the CD with this song was in the changer solely to function as a pick-me up. Whenever we were getting down or tired during the drive, this song would get played to boost all of our spirits.
“Beautiful” by Snoop Dogg (with Pharrell). I have no idea exactly how this song became associated with my OB clerkship as a 3rd year medical student. But I had it on a mix CD and I listened to it every early morning on my way in to Methodist Hospital. I STILL can’t look at the lighthouse on top of the hospital without hearing this song in my head.
Tenacious D’s self titled album takes me back to my Family Practice clerkship. I had a good 40 minute drive all the way from the Eagle Creek area down to Greenwood. Which was just enough time to listen to the entire album and commit every excellent song to memory.
Now these memorable songs don’t just start out as memorable. At some point you have to hear them for the first time. And when you hear that song you want to keep hearing it. Usually, when it first comes out, it might be hard to find. But when you finally come across it, the sweet joy that comes out is unlike any other. I currently have a song like this that I am desperately on the hunt for.
As you may have guessed from my ranting post yesterday, for whatever reason, Indianapolis radio seems to not want to play Cee-Lo Green’s newest song, Bright Lights Bigger City. I can’t get enough of this song. My ears perk up at the first notes of the song and my whole body goes numb.
If When a movie is made about my life, I want this song to be playing during the opening scene when I am walking confidently to…. somewhere cool. I scan the radio constantly and having been searching on Pandora and Slacker for it non-stop. It is like a mini-miracle when it finally comes on.
This is not the first, nor will it be the last song that I feel this way about. It may sound trite to say, but to me, the feelings I get for certain songs are like those early moments in a relationship when your heart leaps when you see that special someone and you count the moments until you can see them again.
The first song I remember being so desperate to find was one of Vanilla Ice’s follow up songs to “Ice, Ice Baby”. It must have been “Play That Funky Music” because I sure don’t recognize any of the other songs on that album being on the radio. Either way, I remember staying up at night listening to American Top 40, hoping to hear the song so I could tape the song from the radio on to a cassette tape. (This memory just gets more and more embarrassing!) I still remember how elated I was when I finally recorded the whole song in one radio play.
At some point after that, my next target was “Mmmmmm” by Crash Test Dummies. After that, it was a long time until I had a song I was utterly obsessed by, but once it finally surfaced it was huge and it changed history.
Back before the Black Eyed Peas became over played and over commercialized they made some really good music. They had an excellent song with a entrancingly repetitive refrain and a driving baseline with a wacky title, Shut Up. I heard it once and loved it immediately. It was October 2003 and I kept searching and searching for the song to be played again. Unfortunately, it had not yet received wide play in Indianapolis. I was on my Emergency Medicine rotation (why do all of these memories coincide with medical school?) I was doing shift work and I had some days off, which was great because it was just in time to watch the Cubs make the World Series for the first time in forever. After the crushing Game 6 loss, I had finally put myself back together. For some reason, I got it in my head that the Cubs would win Game 7 if I could only hear that song on the day of the game. I had all day to listen to the radio and no work to do (life sure was simpler before children), so in my mind, this plan was flawless. Unfortunately, the game time quickly approached and I still had not heard the song yet. I even called in to the radio station I had heard it on days ago trying to request it, but I couldn’t get through. Sure enough, I never heard the song that day and the Cubs did not win. It was not Bartman’s fault nor Kerry Wood’s ineffective pitching nor anything else that ultimately prevented the Cubs from making the World Series that year. It was me and my idiotic quest to listen to some song that in three weeks time would be overplayed.
Since then, there have been other songs that I have been obsessed with (including a double play of Katy Perry and Ke$ha, kind of like my summer concert plans!) but none of which have led to such misery as that Fall of 2003. Just like in affairs of the heart, be careful about the songs that you give your allegiance to. For while they can leave you all happy and tingly inside, there is also a chance that you will get stood up and left drowning in your own tears on the side of the road. At least you can still use your music to transport you back to the memory of happier times.