Let’s start off with a disclaimer that I am not musically talented in any way, shape, or form. At different points in my life I have had delusions of grandeur that I could’ve been though and have attempted to learn how to play the guitar, the bass, and the piano (keyboard). None of those attempts every amounted to anything and I have resigned myself to the understanding that playing an instrument is just not a skill that I am ever going to have. With that out of the way, I am passionate about music and the genre of music is not important. When people ask me what my favorite type of music is or what I like to listen to, I don’t’ really have an answer for them other than; everything. I like country, rock n roll, metal and show tunes; I listen to rap, EDM and now that I have a two year old, nursery rhymes. I appreciate each genre of music because I have attached certain songs and melodies to memories from my life.
When I hear “You’re Sixteen” by Johnny Burnette I think about my grandfather sitting on these burnt orange colored 1970’s style couches in their family room as he played that song on his white electric guitar. When I hear songs by Third Eye Blind (probably my favorite band), I think about the more than a dozen times I have seen them in concert and the memories that are embedded in those experiences. When I hear “Hells Bells” by AC/DC I think about being at Jack Murphy Stadium (later to be known as Qualcomm) when fire would light up the bullpen and Trevor Hoffman would run to the mound from centerfield for a late inning save for the Padres. When I hear “You and Me Against the World” by Helen Reddy, I think of the immeasurable and special bond that my mom had with my grandma and dancing with my mom to that song at my wedding. These songs are anchored to memories that evoke emotions, but songs can also bring about action as well.
When I want to be productive or write something, I put on electronic music. Since it’s not something I normally listen to and usually there are no lyrics it plays in the background without me paying attention to it and helps me focus on the task at hand. When I am feeling a bit down on myself and need that pick me up that lights a fire in me, I listen to Garth Brooks’ song “Do What You Gotta Do.” In that song there is a lyric that says “Someday they’re going to call your name. They’ll come looking for someone to blame. What’s your name?” When I hear that lyric I remember who I am and what my name means to me and it ignites something in me that wasn’t there before. The flip side of that is needing to have a good cry. There is nothing wrong with a grown man sitting in his car with tears rolling down his cheek. Sometimes you just need to let it out and in the moment there is Scotty McReery’s “Five More Minutes.” In the song he talks about being there with his Grandpa when he says, “There are angels in the room.” And with that I am transported back to when I had to say goodbye to my own grandfather.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the songs that marked the milestones of my life; “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri which reminds me of the first time I knew I was going to marry Jillian, “From the Ground Up” by Dan and Shay which was our wedding song, the playlist we had for the delivery room when Brooks was being born, and “Baby Beluga” by Raffi which we sing with Brooks almost everyday and is my nickname for him.
Music can play an integral role in who we are, what we do, and how we relate to the world around us. And while I am sure there is a scientific explanation to why music has an impact upon us and how it attaches itself to our core memories; that part doesn’t matter because it is the emotion and actions that the music evokes and those trips down memory lane that are undeniable and unforgettable. I have shared some of the songs that have made a lasting impact in my life, what songs do the same for you?