Music is one thing I find that binds my disparate life story together. The Mr. and I often talk about the soundtrack to music of our lives. I am hardly a snob and know very little to any depth, but there are a few songs that I can cling to and auto-repeat infinitely during certain periods of time. These are the hits for the past 4 decades. And, mock me not, lest I find your secret love of Skid Row (actually, I openly love this Lodi band) or Stryper, or Maxi Priest, or the J Geils Band and ping that bad music pong back at you with spin.
Decade 1: Years 0-10
My early memories are a mixture of Neil Diamond, Olivia Newton John, Patsy Cline, Kenny Rogers, Blondie, Jimmy Buffet, and Marty Robins. I could belt out the words to "Big Iron" like nobody's business. I blame the radio in Texas, frankly. By the time my parents divorced, music was getting more interesting. Of course we lived in a backwater desert town in California without cable or a major radio station by this time.
I'm going to just say that I'm eight years old about now. I desperately wanted to learn to play an instrument, but having a single mom and being poor meant that it was a luxury beyond my reach. My alter ego during my first decade was the sideways-ponytail Missyfit. For some reason, this was a look that I yearned to make work for me. Often practicing this do in the mirror, and even flipping my hair during a school bathroom break and miming my fabulousness before retreating to a more centered coiffe. What's a poor girl to do? Your voice is your instrument, baby. Except I am wildly medocre and always have been. I can sing. It's just nothing special. I thank jeebus that the idea of an Americal Idol was never planted in my visions of stardom.
This did enough damage as it was.
Head over heels. I blame my addiction to a surf beat on this song.
And a wee glimmer of where my tastes would lean in my 30's.
Okay, and this one, too.
Decade 2: Years 11-20
I am going to lump all of this decade into the most awkward category. En Vogue, Biz Markee, NKOTB, and Stevie B stand alongside the Jesus and Mary Chain, New Order, and the Misfits. The terror of being different during this time was strong. Listening to music that was different back in those 1980's was a source of ridicule. Strangely enough, the more formitive ones weren't the oddballs, they were quite mainstream.
First U2. My #1 desire during this time was to grow up and leave home. I was ready to be my own person. Everytime I hear this song, I remember listening to this album on my walkman sitting on the abandoned railroad tracks of our dusty 400 person town. I wanted to go anywhere else.
And then there's the song that gave me hope that I could come out of the musical closet. I can vividly remember the first time I ever heard Nirvana on the radio. The 90's were going to be very good to me, indeed.
Decade 3: Years 21-30
I was a college dj by now. Being weird was a badge of honor. I had found my peeps. I went to live show after live show. The music here swings wide. Green Day, Sparklehorse, Firehose, TMBG, Vic Chestnut, Fugazi, Lucinda Williams, Swingin Utters, Slobberbone and a healthy dose of ska. My band that I saw more than any other during this time was this one, which has this guy, who was an English Major with along yours truly. I still blame him a bit for being the guy who my dearest college pal ended up dating and whisking off to Portland or something. I hope some of you listen to him with that girl. I don't, but that's not a judgement at all. It's just not my current taste of music. Respect. At then end of this era, I am at warehouse punk shows and hanging around an amazing scene of live music in the Bay Area.
You want me to stop what I'm doing and transport myself to a better place? Play this song.
The Mr. and I, our first show together. We weren't even dataing and yet we were throwing food along with the rest of our mutual college friends circa 1999 in a Berkeley, CA dorm. It was a hot mess of ding dongs, bananas and powdered sugar. Feel free to skim the first minute for the gist. It's not everybody's cuppa.
In fact, the Mr. is off doing work and just playing that clip brought him immediately to my computer to watch. True love is born in oh so many ways. Having it dipped in saturated fats, perhaps, is the ingredient to our current shelf-life longevity.
More after the birthday, I promise. I started to pick apart my 30's, only to realize how LONG it felt. I suspect that it felt like an eon when I turned 30, but the shit that went down in this last decade is stunning to say the least. I will leave you with my more solidified top 10 of the era.
My response to people who say "How does it feel to be forty" is that I am actually 40 right now and have been since I ticked over to 39. I wasn't 0 on my first birthday after all, and thus I am not beginning my 40th year, but my 41st. And for a 40th year, this has been pretty kick ass, if I do say so myself.