Ah, music. From gym playlists to concerts, tunes that let us get our groove on are always a good thing.
Whether chatting about Beyonce’s use of the “B-word” in her latest song “Bow Down,” reminiscing about music from back in the day (oh boy, that would be Def Leppard, Belinda Carlisle and Eddie Money for me) or excited about checking out a new local band, one thing’s certain: society’s enjoyment of and fascination with music never goes away.
Music defines us. Many of my junior high and high school memories are of playing the cello. Around that same time, I became hooked REO Speedwagon and Cyndi Lauper. When Madonna came on the scene, I actually recall feeling a twinge of anger because Little Miss Newbie stole Lauper’s spotlight. The nerve! And The Police? I loved the whole “how’s it feel now that the table’s have turned” vibe in their “Wrapped Around Your Finger” lyrics. It was the most creative twist in a song. Ever.
Marrying Rick Springfield and Wearing Naughty Bracelets
Of course, like many girls back then, I knew I’d eventually exchange vows with Rick Springfield. Well, perhaps Jack Wagner – remember his song, “All I Need” and his GH character Frisco? Sigh. Bono in those sunglasses was just . . . wow. Today, Bon Jovi’s charismatic smile and ability to play up the camera continues to charm me. Clearly, band member crushes are not uncommon. I can still see my Mom’s hand-drawn heart on the bottom of a wooden chair. Inside the heart was her Beatle devotion: the word, “Davy” had permanently scared the seat, but healed her teenage heart. My friend in high school declared his love for Her Hotness, Lita Ford, adding that she looked good for “someone in her forties.” And heck, who doesn’t admire Tina Turner’s sculpted legs?
Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was an eargasm before “eargasm” was even a word and anyone wearing plastic “Madonna” bracelets was in touch with their inner material girl. My Jackson faves? “Beat It” and “Dirty Diana.” Apparently the Madonna bracelets carried some kind of raunchy boudoir “let’s wear cones-on-our-breasts” meaning, but at that age, what did we know? Or care? We were cool without even knowing why.
Loudness & Creativity
“Eye of the Tiger” was fierce enough to make my even my Sinatra-loving grandmother tap her toes, although our fourth grade teacher was visibly upset when an impromptu auditorium gathering forced her sensitive ears to hear another band class perform the tune. Us kids were in our glory. But Miss. Forsell would have nothing to do with such nonsense.
I recall (somewhat embarrassingly) blasting Air Supply as my friend MaryAnn and I used the handles of a jump rope as a “microphone,” her at one end and me at the other, belting out lyrics that stopped only when our Strawberry Quik sugar highs did. In later years, Molly and I had a momentary obsession with Boston’s “MaryAnn,” and during one long road trip, drove my parents crazy with our incessant “press rewind” requests.
In my early thirties, several of us silly coworkers enjoyed a game of “Create a Band Name” during our lunch hour. The idea stemmed from a discussion about the peculiarity behind some band and song names. Smashing Pumpkins. Alice in Chains. So we devised our own rules by scrawling random words on paper, tossing them in a box, then plucking them two or three at a time. We laughed ourselves silly at our creations: band names like Diabetic Wedding, Junkyard Erosion and Nylon Sexpots emerged. Somehow, “Blind Johnny & the Menstrual Bagladies” became the most memorable and is still the first we recall to this day, almost 10 years later. Song and album titles included Eternal Flatulence, Flighty Urges and Toothless Lamp Post.
At times, I get a case of Solo Sillies and play out scenes in my head where I imagine getting in a taxi. When the driver asks my destination, I pause and say, “won’t you take me, take me to . . funnnnkkkkky toooowwnn” at which point I crack myself up, then get back to paying my bills.
Good, Bad & Weird Memories
Some of the memories are not so great. For reasons still unknown, my mother immediately switches the station if a CCR song plays. In another case, my friend was more nervous about the DJ forgetting her request to not play Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath my Wings” than she was about having cake smashed on her face. Personally, Richard Marx triggers my station-changing finger. Too sad, even though it was well over 20 years ago. My other no-no? Paul Simon’s “Call me Al.” It’s a catchy tune, but friends played it over so many times one weekend that I seriously think it did something weird to my brain.
Then there are song moments. And I mean moments. It’s that part that makes the whole tune so worth listening to, even if the rest of it is ridiculous – or not. I enjoy the Chipmunk’s Christmas song (no, I’m serious), but for two very specific reasons: Alvin’s cute grumpiness (“O . . . K”) and later, the simplicity behind the gift request: “I just want a hoooooola-hoooooop.” Adorable. I love Whitesnake’s violin-bow-on-guitar sound in “Still of the Night” (specifically at 3:15 into the song) because well, its the coolest part of the song. And then there’s that whole “red light, yellow light, green light go” thing in Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” Yeah, I don’t get my red light lyric obsession either, but whenever that song plays, I make a point of listening to that particular bit. Gerry Rafferty and the sax in Baker Street is beyond wonderful. Sometimes, those moments come abruptly: I’ve awoken with David Bowie’s “Heroes” and Jackson Browne’s “Lawyers in Love” in my head for no reason whatsoever.
Don’t even get me going on concerts and my ever-changing tastes in music. My first concert was a late 80s Scorpions show in high school. A decade after, I enjoyed a Judy Collins performance. (Is it too much to admit to still singing “Send in the Clowns” in the shower? I mean, tile echos make everyone sound awesome). A few years ago, I saw Eddie Money. Even though I cringed when he spun around a wee bit too, um, enthusiastically, I felt über cool, especially when I heard those first few recognizable notes of my Money favorite, “Take me Home Tonight.”
These days, I’m enjoying the cool tunes of The Slakas, a terrific classic rock cover band based out of southern New Hampshire (Billy Squier, Foreigner, Heart . . . ).
My iPod? Wow. It has everything from Disturbed and Jewel to Bruno Mars and Bocelli.
My Dad, an announcer at a local upstate NY radio station during his teenage years, showed me his set of eight-tracks. It was 1980-something and I had no clue what those boxy clunkers were. My records were far cooler, or so I thought. To this day, he gets a kick out of “announcing” the song, artist and year before his XM radio displays the information . . . and his resulting smirk says he still nails all that Grand Funk Railroad and Jethro Tull goodness.
Music transport us, soothes our soul, even stirs up the pot.
Even when we don’t intend it to.
What does it do for you?
Note: I wrote a variation of this post for The Budget Fashionista, a beauty and fashion website for ladies who like to look their best for less. It appeared on 4/4/13 and highlighted music-inspired jewelry. This Thought Buffet version features additions and much more personal elaboration, and has differences from the original post on The Budget Fashionista. If you’d like to check out that post, or better yet, if you’re inclined to publicly declare your love of hip shakin’ goodness, check out the affordable music-inspired jewelry I mentioned on The Budget Fashionista, all under $50.