The soundtrack of my life

May 2, 2010 at 10:14 pm (Concert, Friends, Music, Opinion, Random)

Last week, I was in my car listening to music and all of a sudden I heard it.  One of “my” songs.  One of the songs that I consider to be in an elite category.  This one happened to be Southern Cross.  I turned up the volume and listened to the words and remembered the times I had heard it before and how much I loved the song.  Music is everywhere.  You can’t escape it.  Some people listen to music as background.  I don’t.  I have always been very in tune with the music that surrounds me.  I listen to lyrics and they can at times deeply affect me.  Of course there is the fluff, the silly music that I listen to and enjoy just because.  But there is always the other stuff, the song that you haven’t heard in 15 years that can make you stop in your tracks and transport you to a moment or a time in life.  I can’t listen to music without hearing the words.

I also have an innate ability to recognize songs and artists that makes most people refuse to play any kind of music trivia game with me.  It’s just something I’ve always been able to do, I certainly don’t study or work at it.  My taste in music is wildly eclectic and includes just about every genre from the 1960’s through now.  As a kid, I listened to classic rock because it’s what I was exposed to, I knew all of Led Zeppelin IV when I was still in grade school, my love of the Doors began when I was still in single digits.  Obviously artists come and go and tastes mature and change but the fundamentals are still there.  While a lot of my friends were listening to New kids on the block, I was listening to Motley Crue, Skid Row, and Poison.  I loved it.  Whenever I turn on Hair Nation in my car on XM, I find that I can still sing along with the lyrics and I can remember listening to those songs so many years ago, and there is a kind of innocence about that.

There is, as anyone who knows me at all can attest to, a special place in my heart for U2.  I have been a fan for as long as I can remember, I have been to every concert they have played in south florida since about 1990 – except one because I was out of the country and I’m still sad about it.  Their music as a whole has more meaning to me than anything I have ever heard.  Not every song or every album has had the same effect on me.  However, there are some songs that I can listen to and be moved in a way that nothing else can do.  To name a few songs, Kite, Moment of Surrender, Where the Streets Have No Name, All I Want is You, One, Sometimes You Can’t Make it on Your Own, Electrical Storm, The Sweetest Thing.  I have heard most of those live and to hear a song that has meaning to me sung live by a band who I admire so much is truly a spiritual moment.  Moment of Surrender, off their most recent album, caught me from the moment I heard it.  I can listen to it over and over and over again and it gets to me every time.  When I went to see them in Tampa this past fall and heard them sing that live, I wish I could capture that feeling and that moment and replay it whenever I need to.  My all time favorite, All I Want is You, was featured in the movie Reality Bites.  It’s haunting and sad and beautiful.  I will post the lyrics to both of those at the end, the rest can be looked up if anyone is curious.

Aside from U2, there is a whole list of other artists who I consider superior to the masses.  Paul McCartney, The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffet, Pink Floyd, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, Beastie Boys, REM, Oasis, Pearl Jam, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, Eagles, Doors, Queen to name a few.  I’m sure I’m missing some, but those are the ones who I can recall right now.  I’m not going to list all the songs that I would put in the category of outstanding or that can really captivate me, but there are a lot.

It’s amazing how a song can bring back a memory so viscerally and truly make you feel as if you were in that place again.  Sometimes this is good.  When I hear a song that brings me back to a happy time, songs that were playing when I was out having fun with friends, or that remind me of high school dances and football games.  Those songs that have the power to bring me back to a happy place and time are priceless.  But then there are the songs that bring back bad memories of heartache, or not so fun moments.  The only one that I can think of that I still have a hard time listening to is Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, I won’t go into the reasons why here, but for a long time I couldn’t listen to it at all, and now only sometimes, but it always makes me think of the same thing and always makes me sad.  I’m sure there are others, but that one stands out.  There are songs that can make us feel empowered or emotional, can help us get through tough times, or inspire us.  There are songs that are important in a certain stage of our life, but not so much in others.

I think this is a testament to the songwriters and performers.  It’s an amazing thing to be able to write a song that is powerful enough to have such long-lasting effects on people.  As I said at the beginning, I know not everyone is as affected by music as I am, but I’m glad that I am.  And when I meet someone who has the same affinity for music and lyrics as I do, I can’t help but like them immediately.  I love when I’m blindsided by an old memory or a not often thought about moment.   I love that I can so quickly be 13 again when I hear Every Rose Has Its Thorn.

As promised, lyrics:

All I Want is You

You say you want diamonds on a ring of gold
You say you want your story to remain untold.
All the promises we make
From the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you.

You say you’ll give me a highway with no-one on it
Treasure, just to look upon it
All the riches in the night.

You say you’ll give me eyes in the moon of blindness
A river in a time of dryness
A harbour in the tempest.
All the promises we make, from the cradle to the grave
When all I need is you.

You say you want your love to work out right
To last with me through the night.

You say you want diamonds on a ring of gold
Your story to remain untold
Your love not to grow cold.
All the promises we break, from the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you.

Moment of Surrender

I tied myself with wire
To let the horses run free
Playing with the fire
Until the fire played with me

The stone was semi-precious
We were barely conscious
Two souls too cool to be
In the realm of certainty
Even on our wedding day

We set ourselves on fire
Oh God, do not deny her
It’s not if I believe in love
But if love believes in me
Oh, believe in me

At the moment of surrender
I folded to my knees
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

I’ve been in every black hole
At the altar of the dark star
My body’s now a begging bowl
That’s begging to get back, begging to get back
To my heart
To the rhythm of my soul
To the rhythm of my unconsciousness
To the rhythm that yearns
To be released from control

I was punching in the numbers at the ATM machine
I could see in the reflection
A face staring back at me
At the moment of surrender
Of vision over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

I was speeding on the subway
Through the stations of the cross
Every eye looking every other way
Counting down ’til the pentecost

At the moment of surrender
Of vision of over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

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