Sunday, May 07, 2006

my soundtrack

I have fallen in love several times in my life with songs. I have been known to buy a CD (or more recently to download one) and play the one song that prompted the purchase five or six times in a row. I tend to need to immerse myself in a song like I would a book or a movie and just one play isn't enough for that experience. The first time I heard Stephanie Dosen's song "brave," for example, I sat on the floor and let it flow over me play after play until I was full. More recently it has been Polly Paulusma, James Blunt, Rosie Thomas and Deb Talan. I can play their music until I can feel it in my bones.

I never used to listen to music very much in my house unless I was cleaning. Once I got my driving license I was a mixed-tape QUEEN. I still have the box of tapes in my closet at home and when I am in Canada and alone in my car, they come out. I'll drive along and remember who I was when I was listening to The Indigo Girls and Sarah McLaughlin and Tracy Chapman and the Tragically Hip and the various Canadian bands I loved so fiercely in my youth.

Some time ago I began thinking about the concept of a personal soundtrack. I thought, if they made a movie of my life, what songs would capture the different parts the best? It's not about the songs that I like now, it's about the songs that captured who I was then. (No matter how embarrassing they are!) So for the last few days I have been going through my iTunes files. Due to geography, I haven't got access to everything I once loved, so this is a working list of the 12 songs that are on the Soundtrack for My Life (in chronological order.)

1. Shake your sillies out - Raffi

I lived at a summer camp when I was small - my earliest musical memories are silly camp songs! (And yes, I do have this song in my iTunes library.)
2. The Lion Sleeps Tonight - the Tokens
One side of my extended family used to go camping every single year. During that camping trip we would all sit around the fire and sing fun songs. This is the only one of those songs I have in my files.
3. Pop Goes the World - Men Without Hats
Yes, this is embarrassing, but I won the album when I was on Campus Quiz (t.v. show!) and my friend Robin and I used to listen to this song in the back of the bus in grade school. We even had a dance routine you could do sitting down.
4. If I had $1,000,000 - The Barenaked Ladies
Parties, my friend's band and the BNL coming to do a concert at my high school.
5. Closer to Fine - The Indigo Girls
There can be no other song that more fully symbolizes my time at camp and with camp friends - we sang this a lot. And no list of the songs in my life would be complete without something by the Indigo Girls. I truly love them.
6. Untouchable Face - Ani Difranco
Definitely THE bitterest breakup song ever. She rocks.
7. Wannabe - The Spice Girls
Captures my time with crazy fellow Pioneers - if you dance to the Spice Girls in the parking lot of your work, you like the people you work with!!
8. Wide Open Spaces - The Dixie Chicks
This was the song that helped me go to England the first time.
9. Don't Marry Her - The Beautiful South (the swearing version)
Fun times being a waitress in the UK and doing nothing else but drink in the pub!
10. Life For Rent - Dido
Do I move to the UK again or not? YES.
11. London Rain - Heather Nova
This is a sappy song but it makes me think of Mark and I every single time.
12. Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'
This is just the craziest, happiest song. It's good for who I am right now - following dreams, hoping for the best, waiting for the rest of the movie!

So there you have it. There were songs that I liked more, but these really would be played in those scenes of my life. I may come back to this in the future, but for now that's me. So now I challenge you to create and share your own soundtrack. I am starting a meme (will someone please tell me what that means?!) but I'm challenging everyone. If they made a movie of your life, what would be playing in the background?


Cate said...

I love your soundtrack, Meg--music says so much about each of us, doesn't it? And I just laughed when I read your "Men Without Hats" selection--my husband made me a CD for my birthday and one of my requests was "Safety Dance!"

I'm in for the meme! What a brilliant idea! xo

Susannah said...

what a genius idea for a post (and a meme - and yes, what *does* that mean?) i'm going to get on the case....

Safety Dance - brilliant! and the Indigo Girls - i keep reading that name but don't know them - i will investigate!

and thanks for the email, sweetie - will reply tomorrow when hangover has subsided :-)

susanlavonne said...

I will accept your challenge Tara for my post tomorrow...thanks for the ideas and what a wonderful read...I must say that you have listed a few songs that I can really identify with!
PS...check out "Pandora" which is a radio website thingee that plays music based on the criteria you set up yourself

susanlavonne said...

woops! sorry Megg, I was reading Tara's post just before yours and forgot where I was! but i still love the challenge and it will take me all night to narrow down my list

la vie en rose said...

i love, love, love this idea!!!! i'm gonna have to think about this one...

and i just love the song closer to fine

Karen said...

love your soundrack---a few of the same ones would be on mine!!
So funny- about the last song- it's our Sophie Song--when she was brand new I would play it over and over and dance and sing it to her. I absolutely love it.

M said...

This is a great idea! Music has been such a part of my life, I'm not sure I'll be able to choose! Your soundtrack sounds great though!!

Sarah e.Smith said...

Brilliant idea! I may just have to figure this out for myself! I am addicted to music and have often thought of gathering that songs that best describe my life thus far. You have inspired me! Great blog....i will be back to visit again!!!

By the way....i LOVE your taste in music :)

Anonymous said...

What a fun post and idea! Reminds me of that episode of Ally McBeal where the therapist tells Ally that she needs to find her theme song for her life.

I definitely need to think about this...I'll need my own list.

One song I know I'll have on there is "Somebody" by Depeche Mode. I used to listen to that song in high school and dream of finding someone like that. That was the first dance at my wedding.

Thanks for the inspiration (as always)!

Letha Sandison said...


This was a great post!! I love so many of these songs too!

Emaiil me your address and I will send you a Cd with my songs. Or, I can bring it to the UK in June!

Great post!

kelly rae said...

i am so with you on #5, 6, 8, and 9. you have me thinking about my own soundtrack!

Jeremy said...

Meme could mean 'Me! Me!', I suppose. Good idea for a challenge, though. It's funny how some songs, like certain smells or colours, can have a deep-rooted, indelible effect. Usually they are associated with some good thing that happens, though I can think of some which have attached themselves to bad memories at times. Glad to see that all of yours look on the good side.

K said...

Meme is what my Acadian friend calls her grandmother! I'm sure it's not the definition you were looking for but I thought you might like to stumble upon that interpretation of the word.

p.s. I absolutely adore your blog! Truly.

liz elayne said...

this is such a good question...and i keep coming back to look at it again and think about it some more. i am going to have to continue thinking about it, and then put some pen to paper about it...

fern_leaf said...

One of my favorite songs ever is "London Rain" by Heather Nova. What a wonderful entry. Just had to delurk to tell you so.


Jim Genge said...

Hey Meg, The Lion Sleeps Tonight?
What about " Does your chewing gum lose it's flavour on the bed post over night" or the other favorite " Boil that cabbage down" ??
Uncle Jim

krista said...

Oh how I love Ani Difranco.

Untouchable face is a great song.

There is one song (Both Hands) where she sings,

"I am watching your chest rise and fall
like the tides of my life,
and the rest of it all
and your bones have been my bedframe
and your flesh has been my pillow
I am waiting for sleep
to offer up the deep
with both hands
in eachother's shadows we grew less and less tall
and eventually our theories couldn't explain it all
and I'm recording our history now on the bedroom wall
and eventually the landlord will come
and paint over it all"

They are some of my favourite lyrics.

I haven't listened to her in awhile I think I'll go dig up my old CD's now!

susanna said...

Canadian music! If I had $1,000,000 will always remind me of the good ol' maple leaf and university parties and Lotto 6/49. Sarah Maclachlan will always remind me of my 20's, living in Toronto. And how about the Cowboy Junkies' remake of Lou Reed's Sweet Jane? Ahhh...home.