17 November 2013

Life's Rich Playlist

For my fortieth birthday, Dan made me a playlist.  He is a master of playlists, assembling songs that flow perfectly from one to the next.  The one he made for that milestone birthday, though, contains ninety-five tracks, each released between 1968 and 2008.  I’ve been listening to it again since my birthday this year.  And while I’ve been the recipient of some special gifts over the years, this playlist is one of my favorites.  There’s a memory, an era, a phase for each tune.  For example, I can’t listen to the following without some kind of flashback:

U2:  Where the Streets Have No Name.  If you were in college in the late 1980s, this song was the theme for every party, road trip, pre-game celebration, and, ahem, study session.

REM:  I Am Superman.  The first openly lesbian woman I knew, who lived across the hall from me my sophomore year in college, played this song a lot.  She was older than the rest of us in the dorm, and was very wise for her years.  It was a big deal when she moved in, practically a scandal, but I remember how most of us came to consider her a friend.  I think of her when I hear this song and I wonder where she is today and what’s she’s doing.

The Smiths:  How Soon Is Now?  The theme of my senior year of high school.

Paul Simon:  Hearts and Bones.  I fell in love with Simon’s strangely poetic lyrics because of this song.  He made me realize how playful and poignant words could be, sometimes simultaneously.

Led Zeppelin:  Stairway to Heaven.  My favorite song when I was in about seventh or eighth grade.

Dire Straits:  The Sultans of Swing.  This song was on endless repeat during my summer in Paris.  My Parisien friend Marco had this song, and nothing but this song, on the cassette he played as we drove in his little Peugeot from café to café on the weekends.  He sang at the top of his lungs with his French accent, the lyrics just about the only English he knew.

Red Hot Chili Peppers:  Breaking the Girl, Smashing Pumpkins:  Disarm, and Cowboy Junkies:  Powderfinger. These are a few of the songs that Dan and I listened to a lot early in our relationship, and while I still love these songs, I also love how our musical tastes have continued to evolve as we grow older.

I doubt that Dan is aware of some of the stories behind these songs, and really, everyone has their own memories connected to music that can’t adequately be duplicated or expressed.  But I still love my lifelist, five years down the road.  A gift someone makes for you is truly something to be cherished.  Merci, D.  xoxoxox


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