I purposely waited to write about this playlist, because as I collected these songs together, I had a sadly shallow thought: “Surely that can’t be all of the music I want to include here! There’s got to be some interesting, perhaps a little more eclectic music for some of the crazy epic scenes in my life!”
But as I continued to think about how I would pick more songs for this personal soundtrack, it became clear that only a few tunes were needed. I only included songs that invoke a memory of a very personal moment or association for a specific time in my life. Each one is so poignant to me, that I can’t hear any of these songs and not be transported back to a certain moment in my life. While this list of course doesn’t encompass the scope of my music tastes and preferences, it speaks to my life experience. This post was also in part inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, The Nester, and this post she wrote for Incourage.
Though I haven’t written about individual songs on any of the other playlists, I feel this one is the exception. I’ve shared a little bit about each song’s personal connection for me next to the titles of the songs below.
(kindly scroll to the songlist & descriptions below this playlist if you can’t see the Grooveshark player on your smartphone or ipad device.)
31 Days of Playlists – A Soundtrack of My Life
1. Sara – Fleetwood Mac: My dad used to play this song for me when I was a little girl, as we cruised along the Colorado mountains in his yellow Blazer. The week after he died, it was the only piece of music I could listen to that didn’t make me cry. It continues to bring me comfort and memories of him every time I hear it.
2. Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty: When I was in junior high, I visited my Dad on the west coast. We drove through Ventura, and I saw the ocean for the first time in my life. This song feels exactly like those moments look in my mind. I think Dad may have even played this as we drove through Hollywood. A perfect song to describe a moment of time.
3. Every Little Kiss – Bruce Hornsby & the Range: When I was in high school, my first love was a boy that lived in Washington D.C. Since I lived in the midwest, in my little adolescent brain, this became an epic long distant love of great proportions. He wrote the lyrics to this song out in a mixtape for me, and my little crushed out heart swooned with gooey-first-loveness.
4. Why Should I Cry For You – Sting: Yes, I put two versions of this song on the playlist. I couldn’t choose my favorite. I have such a sense memory attached to the original version of this song, but I love the live track where Sting talks of his own father and what inspired him to write this tune. I resonate with so much of what he says about his father that I had to include it. Listen to your favorite version, I say. Check out Day 6 of this series for a full playlist of his music). I vividly remember riding back to school from a debate tournament and leaning against the window of the van, watching the Kansas fields glisten in the sunset. At the time, I couldn’t wait to escape to another place, but the beauty before me captivated me, and this song was the perfect musical backdrop.
5. Closer To Fine – The Indigo Girls: This song was one of my anthems in college, and one of my first concert experiences. The Indigo’s wrote songs that spoke out the contents of my little restless, searching heart. It’s the perfect song to bellow out at the top of your lungs on a road trip…just sayin’.
6. God-Shaped Hole – Plumb: This is probably the one song that isn’t directly attached to a specific memory. But this song encompasses the questions I had on the quest for the heart of my faith to line up with my mind. This song beautifully and simply states the complexity of our divine search.
7. Cast You Fate To The Wind – George Winston: The year I worked at the best bookstore in the world before I began my days on the road, this song was on continual repeat. I can still hear Warren, the proprietor (and holy man) whistling this tune as the coffee brewed strong, and the nooks and crannies amongst old books filled with friends.
8. Fragile – Sting: After 9/11, my heart felt so fragile. I listened to this song on continual repeat that year. This recording was done overseas on 9/11, and it is one of my most favorite songs ever.
9. I Can Only Imagine – Mercy Me: This song will forever be full of memories of my Mother. When she was battling cancer, we went to an outdoor concert in the midwest. As Mercy Me and 100’s of thousands of concertgoers sang the words, my Mom joined the chorus with her hands raised and eyes closed. I know she was singing to Jesus. When I listen to this song and close my eyes, I will forever see this memory, one of the most precious visions of my Mom that I ever experienced.
10. Homesick – Mercy Me: (Yep, another song with 2 versions. I prefer the acoustic recording now, but walking through the streets of New York, the strings on the studio version cradled my heart). When I moved to NYC, I was nursing a lacerated heart. I would listen to this song as I walked along the streets of Midtown and rode the subway home. It was a song that gave breath to my grief, and helped me through the process of healing.
11. Clocks – Coldplay: As I walked along the Upper East side in Manhattan, I gazed at the massive skyscrapers reflecting the sunlight as this song pulsed through my ears.
12. Great Light of the World – Bebo Norman: When I traded skyscrapers for rolling hills, I felt strangely both at home and displaced. This song helped me make sense of that.
13. Keep Breathing – Ingrid Michaelson: The week after a devastating and unexpected loss, this song helped me put one foot in front of the other.
14. Heart of Gold – Neil Young: I hear this song, and think of my Dad. Always.
15. Steady As We Go – Dave Matthews Band: This song represents a shift in my life. I had many seasons filled with crisis after crisis. Suddenly, God brought an incredible calm to my circumstances, and blessed me with love. After years of doing it wrong, I learned to do right. I finally felt my soul breathing out a glorious exhale…
16. The Idea of Growing Old – The Features: A friend of mine (and a crush at the time) introduced me to this song. I thought this song was meant for the romance at that time, but I realized later this song for me was about the Love of My Life. (And we rocked it out at our wedding reception!)
17. In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel: For years and years this was my favorite love song. Every time I would get into a new relationship, I would share this song with my significant other, because surely, they would understand it’s glorious words and love it as much as I did! (They didn’t, by the way). Enter my husband. From the minute we sung the words back to each other as we laughed and smiled, it was like technicolor broke through the black and white. “In your eyes I see the doorway to a thousand churches, the resolution of all my fruitless searches”. Yes.
18. Next To You – Sting: I know, I know, too much Sting, right? It was the ring tone on my phone for my husband the entire engagement period leading up to our wedding. And it makes me want to smile and dance.
19. You & Me – Dave Matthews Band: Yep, Yep, this is my man and I’s song… Nuff said.
20. At Last – Etta James: I said it before in a previous post. You can’t wait as long as I did for the Love of Your Life, and not use this song for your first dance. It truly was worth every second I waited.