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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Life's Trigger Songs

Music has always been a large part of my daily life.  It changes my mood when it's needed.  While listening to 80s on 8 the other day, I realized that when I recall most of my life, there is music attached.  The "trigger songs," as I like to call them can spark a memory so strong that it elicits a visceral response.  That is powerful!  I've collected a mere few of these trigger songs for you here.  If these songs pop up on my radio, I will always listen to them.  They will never be worn out.

The first and one of the most powerful is Lionel Richie's "Dancing On The Ceiling".  During my precious formative years in Upstate New York, I had the blessed experience of participating in Drill Colorguard.  This differs from a marching band's color guard, if you aren't familiar.  In Drill, you have a piece of music to which you perform a routine using banners, rifles, and sabers.  This routine was the first that I was lucky enough to have been a part, and we won the Championship that year.  It still gives me butterflies after all this time.

The "Star Spangled Banner" and Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" make me tear up almost every time I hear them.  It's all about having pride in where I'm from.  I literally have to hold back the flood of emotion that rushes through me when I hear either of these.  Maybe I'm mental, who knows.  They have more of an impact when I'm away from home too.  Guess it could be the homesick thing.  These songs always make me think of my Mom and Dad.

Mr. Warren G and Nate Dogg's "Regulate" links my mood to a group of friends in high school that I continue to cherish today.  Those carefree Senior days were the best!  We weren't aware at the time that those days wouldn't last forever.  The invincibility of our youth helped us glide through that time's reality with feelings of ease and glimpses of future greatness.

U2's "One" brings me right back to the prom.  The huge circle of '94 dancing together.  How much more awesome could a class have been?  We were blessed to have each other.  We still are.

Dave Matthews just makes me happy.  If I'm in a bad mood, his voice makes me smile.  Memories of my college days and the many shows I've seen put me in a good place.  I can't pick just one!  The same goes for Abba.  I love all things Abba, including my vintage T-shirt that I refuse to unload.  Abba will typically be chosen for karaoke because you can dance while you sing.

A huge trigger song bringing memories of my college roommate is 311's, "All Mixed Up".  We listened to that album until it was completely worn out.  That was love at first listen.  Another big song from that stage of my life was Will Smith's "Gettin' Jiggy With It", which immediately makes my shoulders dip in that special rhythmic way.  Oh Abba again here too.  Abba never leaves me.

The Cranberries, "Linger" brings me back to when my boyfriend sang it to make me laugh.  He can still make me laugh because he became the best husband in the world.  Dan Hartman's "I Can Dream About You" takes me back to when this man was leaving on a cutter and he sang this as a joke on his balcony before he left.  It continues to give me the vapors.  Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" was our wedding song and I get "swoony"  with that one too, but Hartman gets me every time.  There are probably a million songs that link me to this man, but these are some major trigger songs.

Jack Johnson's "Lullaby" is my most maternal trigger song.  I sang this one to my kids each night before they went to sleep; sometimes I still do.  It melts me and as they grow it will trigger the intense love that I feel for them.  It also takes me back to Hawaii, where I first fell in love with Mr. Johnson.  All of my beautiful friends we met there have spread out all over the world, but that song can put me right back to the fun and peaceful space we had as young mothers.  

My new "theme song" down here in the bayou is Andy Grammer's "Back Home".  It's triggering strength for the kids and I at the moment.  We will use the powerful tool of music to help us remember that wherever we are is home, as long as we are together.  There is no need to change who we are just because our city is a new one.

What are your trigger songs?  I hope I'm not the only cuckoo bird to feel this way about music.  This is just a small portion of the songs that trigger a particular response.  My guess is that music takes everyone on nostalgic journeys now and again.  It's a part of our shared reality.

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