Today’s #writing101 challenge was to write about the three most influential songs in my life. I decided to take a twist on this assignment and do something that’s been an idea I’ve had for awhile. Below is a list of some of the songs that would make up the soundtrack of my life. I tried to limit myself to 20. I will try to follow a chronological pattern, starting with the earliest song that meant something to me, and ending with my most current significant tunes.
1. The Sign (Ace of Base) This was my first “favorite song.” I can remember being strapped into the kid seat in the back of our cornflower blue minivan and hearing this song on the radio. I thought it was so catchy. I also thought this song was literally about stop signs.
2. Baby, Baby (Amy Grant) Oh Amy Grant. The pop star that was too Christian for pop culture, and too secular for Christians. She was a much beloved artist at our house anyway. I LOVED this song and would rewind the cassette tape over and over and choreograph dances to this song in my living room.
3. Old Days (Chicago) This song is so nostalgic for me, although the time period Peter Cetera was singing about is about 40 years before the “old days” my memory conjures up when I hear this song. My dad may be Chicago’s biggest fan. Many a Saturday morning this song could be heard playing from our garage as he tinkered around on one of the many projects he had, or blasting from his truck as we took another trip to Lowe’s. He would crank up the music at his favorite parts and direct the trumpet solo’s with emphatic hand movements, with me grinning from ear to ear in the passenger seat. While this was one of my favorite memories from my childhood, I am happy to say that not much has changed. We still crank it up and sing along to the old days now, 20 years later.
4. Colored People (DC Talk) Remember when Christian music got “cool”? I can remember listening to this song at full volume in the car with my mom. One of the many times that I realized that my parents were pretty hip too.
5. Deep Love (Michelle Tumes) This was one of the first CDs that I owned. Michelle Tumes was this eloquent, graceful musician, her music haunting and deep. I would sing along, not really knowing exactly what she was saying, but thinking it was really beautiful. I rediscovered this album in college and enjoyed listening to it then as well. She has this mystic air about her lyrics that I really resonated with.
6. Barbie Girl (Aqua) Sixth Grade. This song. A nickname that took a few years to live down. What else can I say?
7. Meant to Live (Switchfoot) This song will forever take me back to driving to and from school with Chris in his white Grand Am. Sibling bonding and contemplating life in a way that this song invokes.
8. Your Grace is Enough (Chris Tomlin) I can remember letting go of self-consciousness as a shy teenager and worshiping with abandon to this song at a youth conference in high school. This song represents a time when my faith became my own for the first time.
9. Beautiful Redemption (Joy Williams) The lyrics of this song are heart-wrenchingly beautiful. I remember weeping as I came to grips with the first glimpses of what grace really meant listening to this song in high school. Father, Father, forgive me/ Child, I already have/ You are beautiful, beautiful redemption. These words were so comforting at a time when I started to wrestle with my faith.
10. Jacqueline (Franz Ferdinand) My best friend, Jaci, made some pretty sweet mixed CDs for me. This was the first song on her famous “Pink CD”. It was our jam, whether we were hanging out after play practice, on our way to pep band, or driving around to all of the fast food drive thrus, pretending to be British.
11. Only Living Boy in New York (Simon & Garfunkel) I discovered this song, and so many other musicians that I came to love from the Garden State soundtrack. Previously, I had always assumed that I didn’t like Simon & Garfunkel, as the only song I knew of theirs was the sappy and overplayed Bridge over Troubled Water. I was so wrong. That Garden State Soundtrack introduced me to several great musicians and shaped my music tastes that I still have today.
12. Boy with a Coin (Iron & Wine) This song has a physical effect on me. As the rich and complex harmonies start, my body instantly relaxes and sighs with pleasure. Everytime. Equally pleasurable to my ears are Naked as We Came, Such Great Heights, and Lion’s Mane. Love me some Samuel Beam!
13. Mushaboom (Feist) I loved dancing and singing along to this song when I lived at Lampost. It was on our (very limited and often repeated) playlist in the coffeeshop.
14. Life in Technicolor (Coldplay) LOVED this album- danced my heart out to it with my dear friend Krystal in one of our many spontaneous dance parties.
15. We No Speak Americano (Yolanda Be Cool) When I lived in Brazil, this song was really popular. Trucks with speakers mounted on the roof would drive slowly through the streets blasting this song. It seemed an appropriate accompaniment to the many Brazilians who tried out their limited English with us Gringos! (PS-check out the video– it’s pretty sweet)
16. Heartbeats (Jose Gonzales) I think my travel companion, Jana introduced me to this song and gorgeous video (actually it’s a commercial for Sony Bravia TV.) This song has accompanied many a late night art project or early morning coffee. Also, check out this video as well. It will make your day
17. Dog Days Are Over (Florence + The Machine) I had the privilege to see Florence + The Machine at Starlight Theatre a couple years ago when my friend Julie invited me to go last minute. I was so struck by the power and raw femininity of Florence as she belted this song out on stage. It reminds me of the summer days of independence and starting fresh in Kansas City.
18. We’re Going To Be Friends (Jack Johnson) At the end of the school day, I play a song- during which my students have to get packed up, stack their chairs, clean the classroom, and get ready for the end of the day. They can sing along, but can’t talk, and the transition has to be complete by the end of the song (great way to avoid the chaos and stress that the end of the day can be in a third grade classroom) I used this song for a long time. Jack Johnson has a great way of putting all that childhood should be into musical form.
19. You Are the Best Thing (Ray LaMontagne) I think my friend Adam introduced me to Ray LaMontagne. I love his earthy, soulful voice. This song has become one of my favorites, and immediately puts me in a good mood. I could see this song being in my wedding… someday…
20. In Christ Alone This is a song I’ve sung my whole life, whether it was at my grandparent’s church, my brother and sister in law’s wedding, or just on my own in the car. The lyrics sum up the deepest truth I’ve found, and I am continually struck by them. If my life were a movie, this song would be the theme.
So, what songs would be on your soundtrack? Do you have any suggestions? My soundtrack isn’t done yet! Maybe you will help me add the next one on the list!