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15 Songs 15 Memories - The Power of Music

15 Songs 15 Memories - The Power of Music

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Published by The New Scum
A writing exercise I invented to kill some writer's block today. Every body has some songs permanently attached to their memories, and this is a list of fifteen songs that mean a great deal to me, and the story behind each one.
A writing exercise I invented to kill some writer's block today. Every body has some songs permanently attached to their memories, and this is a list of fifteen songs that mean a great deal to me, and the story behind each one.

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Published by: The New Scum on Aug 21, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Originally posted athttp://somewhereinkalamazoo.blogspot.comCopyright 2010 by The New Scum Productionshttp://www.TheNewScum.Org
Music runs my life. It's always been there for me, and I bet you feelthe same way.
The first song I ever remember hearing on the radio was "Don't be Cruel" by Elvis. I was a wee youngsprout sitting in the bucket seat of my dad's yellow Chevy Vega. The first record I owned was a copy of "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure: The Soundtrack" I got from my cousin Becky. The first tape I ever owned was one of those birthday tapes from Toys r Us, and truth be told - I might have listened to it ondays that weren't my birthday. The first CD I ever got, along with my CD player, was a copy of EltonJohn's Greatest Hits, Volume One. As an interesting fact, it was actually a rare misprint. The CD waslabeled and packaged as volume one, but was actually the songs from volume two. I wonder what I didwith that, I bet it's worth some money. Anyway, I'm trying to get rid of a bit of anxiety and a mild caseof writer's block; so I figured I'd invent myself a creative writing exercise.Everybody has those songs. You know what I'm talking about. Those songs that you listen to over andover again. Those songs that remind you of good times, good friends, and good living. The songs thatcan instantly take you back to a moment in time that you thought you had all together forgotten. Thenthere's the songs that helped you through some of the bad times, or offered you hope when you couldn'tfind it anywhere else. They aren't in any particular order, because no favorite song is better than anyother favorite song. Numbers are fun, especially when they count down, so I'll just number them as Ithink of them.You could call this a list of my favorite songs, but that's not really what this is about. It's about a fewexperiences in my life, and what the soundtrack was. You all have similar experiences, I'm sure, and I'dlove for you to share them with me in the comments. There's something about music. Once you get it,you're hooked, and you'll never look back. Here's a list of some songs you've heard of, probably a fewyou haven't, and one person's visceral reaction to the music that seemed at the time like it was made just for him.
#15 - "Fade to Black" by Metallica (Ride the Lightning)
My first copy of Ride the Lightning was a dubbed tape I got from my cousin Eric. I had listened toMaster of Puppets and ... And Justice for All, but I still hadn't heard Ride. My cousin damn near shit a brick, and ran downstairs to grab me the tape right away. At first, I only listened to the second side because I really liked "Creeping Death." I was thirteen years old, and I had the hots for this girl thatlived in my neighborhood. There was a big group of us kids that used to play together, and she was oneof them. One of our friend's brother had just died in a car accident, and we were all sitting in this girl's backyard talking about life and death. We played truth or dare, and this kid named R.J. dared her to kiss
him. I was destroyed. That night, I listened to the first side again, sitting on a couch in the garage withfresh ears. I listened on my little portable tape recorder that I recorded guitar riffs with. When I heardthe lyrics, "Life it seems to fade away, drifting further everyday..." I had one of those melodramaticteenage boy moments where I thought the world would never be the same again because I couldn't kissthat girl, and the sadness of our friend's death made things even worse. A lot of people say this songkept them from committing suicide, but I think they're lying. The truth is, they were all thirteen and bummed out about a girl that didn't like them back.
#14 - "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel (Other People's Songs)
This is one of the cheesy radio songs that will end up on any list like this. If "Fade to Black" wasn'tcheesy enough for you, this song surely is. There's a few memories I have associated with this song, butthe most important was the day I formed my first business. I had just come home from a road trip outEast, and my roommate was making out on the couch with his girlfriend so I split. I had spent the lasttwelve hours thinking about what I was doing with my life, and after hitting the seek button on theradio for a while, I stumbled on to this song. I had just read a bit more about Peter's departure fromGenesis, and read into the song lyrics a bit more. "Which connections I should cut." That's the key lyricin that song. There's a moment before you make a major life decision, right before the decision is made,where you have to deal with the burden of choosing which of two distinct paths you'll walk down."Solsbury Hill" was the soundtrack of me deciding to pursue writing as a reality instead of a pipedream.
#13 - "Stigmata" by Ministry (The Land of Rape and Honey)
The first time I saw Ministry was at the Orbit Room in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I have so manymemories from that night. The bass player of Hanzel Und Gretyl showing me her boobs, getting stuck in a blizzard on the way there and nearly missing the show, and screaming along to every Ministry songwith my best friend Stan. We loved that band, man. We listened to them all the time. We talked aboutthat show for weeks. It was one of the loudest shows, and one of the better shows I've ever seen. Thewhole time, though, there was this dumb kid on a million drugs screaming "PLAY STIGMATA!!!STIGMATA!!!" every two seconds. Near the end of the show, they played "Thieves," and we took thekid down in the mosh pit. Good times. Now every time I hear this song, I think of that dumb kid andthe look on his face when me and my buddy Stan screamed "Shut up!" at him and shoved him with allour might into a hyperactive circle pit.
#12 - "In my Life" by The Beatles (Rubber Soul)
I bought a crate of Beatles vinyl from my Cub Scout Master, Rodger, in 1996 for twenty five dollars.There were copies of nearly every U.S. release, with the exception of the Self-Titled. (My parentswouldn't let me have that one, it's the one that made Charlie Manson crazy, you know!) I wanted tomake sure I put a Beatles song on here. The Beatles were the first band I ever obsessed over. I listenedto them constantly, digested magazine articles, taped television specials, and wore out every single oneof those records. I still have them, but good luck listening to those smudgy, scratched, abused relics. I'dhave to say that my favorite Beatles song has always been "In my Life." It's almost like you can feel theweight of the world on John Lennon's shoulders. It's such a great song. "Lovers and friends, I still canrecall, some are dead and some are living." Death is something I've had to contend with on frequentoccasion since the very beginnings of my cognizance. "In my Life" gets played shortly after everyfuneral I go to, and that means I hear it a lot. "I know I'll often stop and think about them."
#11 - "Disappear" by Dream Theater (Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence)
The first Dream Theater album I ever bought was "Scenes from a Memory," shortly after it came out,and I was hooked from then on. I waited in line at the local music store, Music Express, for an hour 
 before they opened to get that CD. I still go to see them, and I still spend way too much money buyingall their crap. I have almost every DVD, bootleg, Live album, Studio album, and single. I definitely likeDream Theater a lot. Since I'm talking about the way music affects our mood, or creates a story in our mind, I'll just have to say that I think this is James Labrie's most personal and sincere vocal performance to date. If I remember correctly, the song is written about the death of his mother. It's sucha beautiful song. You can almost feel him suffering through the microphone. Even if that isn't the realstory, I'm still going to pretend it is. "And I'll carry on, the best that I can, without you here beside me."Those words speak so truthfully to anyone who's ever lost something they know they can never get back. It seems to me like everybody has had a few moments like that in their past. I know I've had myfair share. This song helps soothe those pains that never really go away.
#10 - "Counterfeit" by Limp Bizkit (3 Dolla bill yall)
Yes, Limp Bizkit sucks. I know. Fred Durst is the world's biggest douche bag. When I was fifteen yearsold, though, Limp Bizkit was the coolest thing in the entire world. After I first heard that album, I ran tomy guitar instructor with my spare guitar and begged him to teach me about the theory behind lowtunings. That sent me down a road of musical exploration that I still haven't found the end of.Hopefully I never will, either. In 1999, I think every fifteen-year-old Midwestern male in America wassinging Limp Bizkit songs and getting threatened to have their mouths washed out with soap. That wasone of the CDs I took with me on my trip to Colorado after Eighth grade. Weeks later, I was a DCshoes-wearing, Yankees cap backwards, bleached haired little punk walking the halls of good 'ol AlmaMater Prima, Hackett Catholic Central. "Reality bites, but that's what life is." Thanks Fred, I'll take thatto heart.
#9 - "Like Icarus" by Summer Dying (One Last Taste of Temptation)
Summer Dying was a metal band from Lansing, Michigan, that was active in the early 2000's. I sawthem a few times at this great fallen venue in Kalamazoo called "The Space." To anyone thatremembers that place, there were a long series of open notebooks that visitors were encouraged to writein. I still wonder who has those notebooks. I know I wrote a whole bunch of dumb teenage angst inthere, I'd really like to see them some time. The first time I got really high, and I mean REALLY high, Ilistened to this song and thought I was being communicated to. I had smoke weed before, but this wassome really good stuff I had just bought from a guy I worked with. I smoked it on the playground at theschool near my parent's house with my buddy Vince. He started having a panic attack because hethought his entire life was actually a video game. I just felt really good. He finally went to bed, and Iwent into my room and put my headphones on to listen to this song. It was my favorite. I really wishSummer Dying hadn't broken up. I had such a good time at those shows. "Is it just me, or are the starsout tonight? Up high. Enchanted visions of stars that shine for me in heavens above! I wish to be insideof you! Inside the constellations of my heart." Then there's this ear busting guitar solo that made mefeel like my brain was melting.
#8 - "Shivers" by Armin Van Buuren (Shivers)
This song still gives me shivers, as the title might suggest. In 2005, I was partying really hard. I wasmaking over forty grand in salary, and I had a whole lot of money to spend on throwing parties in mynew house. Things took a turn for the worst in November. There were a series of mishaps, which youcan read about in my book, "Whatever Happens, Happens: A True Story About Coming to Grips withReality." My cousin, Eric, was trying to practice DJing trance music. Since I had a giant P.A., we wouldhave trance parties in my basement every couple of weeks. One of my favorite songs was "Shivers,"and he made sure to play it for me every time we had a party. One night, when all hell was breakingloose in my relationship with the girl in my book, my best friend and roommate went completely insaneand started punching holes his bedroom wall to the beat of this song. After that, the CD was just left on

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