It’s fairly common for our family to gather around the tv once things settle down for the day. Lately, everyone enjoys watching Hallmark movies. No, they aren’t the best plots, nor do they have the best acting. However, they are clean and wholesome by today’s standards, and by-and-by, they’re very positive. A recent one, ironically titled Summer of Dreams, portrayed Debbie Gibson, playing the role of a 40-something former female pop-star who peaked in her teens (in other words… playing herself). Her character had a line about life being a soundtrack. I asked myself… If your life had a soundtrack… what songs would be on it? Isn’t that just a phenomenal thing to consider?
If Your Life Had A Soundtrack…
Soundtracks are fun. They have a way of taking us back to memorable moments in movies or shows. The only thing I can think of that is more powerful for me in that way are certain scents. Wow, can a scent take you to a different time and place, but that’s another post for another day! Music has its way with us too. It’s a powerful tool for engaging our memories. That said, it’s worth asking, “If your life had a soundtrack… what songs would be on it?”
What Songs Would Be On It?
Some soundtracks have songs with themes matching particular scenes. Obviously, this works really well with musicals. Think of “Summer Loving,” from Grease. Then there are soundtracks with songs that emote according to the mood of a scene. The words of these songs may fail to match the characters or scenes perfectly. Taking an example from Rocky IV, my favorite soundtrack of all time, I think of “No Easy Way Out.” It’s a rocking love song without a love scene to go with it. Somehow it still sets a mood for revenge against an evil Russian boxer!
When asking myself the “If your life had a soundtrack…” question, I realize I can’t even begin to answer unless I decide which of the above routes to take. Then again, I could just decide to go with a little of both, right?
Songs That Match The Scenes Of My Life
John Lennon’s “Woman,” would be the first song on my life’s soundtrack. It may be the first song I can remember hearing on the radio. We were riding in my mom’s car, on the way to Ursuline Pre-school. I can still picture the pine trees lining the road as we approached the convent/school. I can hear John Lennon’s wispy voice, and lyrics about a wonderful woman. Thinking on those lyrics and the memory associated with my mom in the early stages of my life, it just fits.
My dad constantly played “One Summer Night,” an oldie but a goodie, in his car’s cassette player when I was a kid. My favorite memories associated with that were indeed on summer evenings. Dad drove us home from either set of grandparents who might have watched my sister and I that day. As the golden sun dropped in the blue sky, with windows rolled down, he and I sat in the front seats and sang our hearts out along with the music.
“It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday,” by Boyz II Men might make a lot of my generation’s life-soundtracks. I just think mine could be better justified than most! I mentioned in a previous post that my best friends and I sang acapella together in high school, but I didn’t mention that we were the very first (and maybe only?) group to ever sing our High School Alma Mater on stage at graduation. The band traditionally played it themselves. On that occasion, we were also asked to sing “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” and rarely were there ever more fitting words for such a suitable occasion.
Billy Vera and the Beaters “At This Moment,” could go somewhere in the mid-80’s, as I distinctly recall the first time I heard it. Alex P. Keaton, played by Michael J. Fox, had just lost his long-time girlfriend, Ellen, on the show Family Ties. If memory serves me right, I picture him leaning over the jukebox as it played. At that moment, I loved “At This Moment.” It was not until roughly a decade later, however, that I temporarily lost the love of my life for a handful of months (after four years of dating), and sang that very song to her in a karaoke bar, that it properly belongs on my life’s soundtrack. Incidentally, we got back together and have been married over 16 years!
The Plain-Old Emotive Ones
While the songs above certainly are emotional enough, there are others that just feel like they belong in certain places even though, lyrically, they don’t fit at all. I think of “Something About You,” by Level 42, for instance. So unfitting is it, that until the moment I typed this, I knew neither the name of the song nor the artist! I Googled one line of the song that came to mind, and voila! That’s it. This song reminds me of the last year I played baseball. It must have been big that year!
“Moving Sidewalks,” by Dan Hartman is another one of those summer-time songs, and this one reminds me of the neighborhood where I spent most of my childhood. I suspect this is the case simply because it has a happy sound.
There are a few songs that remind me of when our family moved from Poland, OH to Uniontown, OH, but one in particular is Chicago’s “Look Away.” Though I hated the song at the time, I came to love it as I matured. I can still picture hearing it on my headphones, looking out the foggy bus windows, on my way to school in the morning, the bus preparing to turn onto Market Street from 619. Isn’t that crazy?
The last one I’ll mention is Train’s, “Drops of Jupiter.” That one I call my “Tennessee song,” because it reminds me of the year my wife and I lived in Tennessee during our first year of marriage. To this day, I have no idea what the lyrics are or what they mean, but when I hear it, I can’t help but think “Tennessee.”
So Many More
I mention only eight songs here, not because that’s all I have, but because the point isn’t what’s on my life’s soundtrack. I genuinely want others to enjoy what I’m finding to be an awfully fun and interesting activity! So let me put it to you now (and please DO leave comments)… “If your life had a soundtrack… what songs would be on it?” Have a ball!
Author: Mark Moorhead
Mark Moorhead produces Catholic and inspirational non-fiction works for Cayman Gabriel Media. He is also the host of The Catecast, a weekly podcast produced by CGM.