Weird thing about music; How a particular song can make you immediately leave the present and go back to a different time and place. This happened to me while driving home from work one day last week, and it got me to thinking about what songs really sort of define moments in my life. Some of them make me cry, but most of them just make me smile, and think about all those years that have passed that have made me exactly who I am today. That shit makes me kinda happy. So here they are, folks, in no particular order:
The Superbowl Shuffle by The Chicago Bears Shufflin’ Crew
I couldn’t find a decent video of this one, but I couldn’t not include it here. You all know it anyway. If you don’t, you really should. The 1985 Chicago Bears were kind of the shit. This song always takes me back to the basement of my childhood home, singing it over and over with my older brothers. I can’t remember who they were, but I was the Punky QB known as McMahon. Duh. Because I look just like him.
Jump by The Pointer Sisters
Singing this song repeatedly while using a hairbrush microphone is how I discovered I wanted to grow up to be a black lady singer.
Manic Monday by The Bangles
You can’t be a girl who’s grown up in the 80’s without having loved The Bangles. When this song comes on, I’m 12 years old again, jumping on a mini trampoline at my friend’s house, a game of Q-Bert paused on the Atari, and empty bowls with remnants of ice cream with Diet Pepsi poured over it. Because we were healthy like that.
Jump! by Van Halen
Times were so much simpler before David Lee Roth went kinda nuts. This song was #1 for, from what I recall, approximately 86 weeks in a row, and every week my brothers and I would sit by the radio in our family room, and wait for Kasey Kasem to announce that it was again the #1 song in the country. Then we’d all go David Lee Roth air guitar. We were pretty good air guitarists, too, I gotta say.
Mack The Knife by Bobby Darin
I’m at my oldest brother’s wedding reception, and I can’t even tell you what year it was. All I remember was a horrible giant pink bridesmaid dress, and I was acting like a teenage asshole because I didn’t get to ride in the limo. The only other thing I remember is watching my mom and dad dancing to this song. For a couple of old farts, they could really dance. This may be one of my favorite memories of all time.
Lighters by Bad Meets Evil
This song lost its appeal for me after I heard it approximately 86,432 times on the radio, but it still always takes me back just a few years to one of my top five best birthdays of all time. I spent all day lounging at the beach, then had one of the best and most memorable dates of my life. Rooftop bar, Cajun potato salad, Absolut Orient Apple, and a nice boy wearing plaid shorts, who I have since then called many a man-hating name, but who has, oddly, become someone I consider a great friend.
No, No, No by Destiny’s Child
I’m on the dance floor at a local bar called Mark’s with my friend Janet, in a shirt that shows off far too much of my young 20-something chubby belly and freshly pierced belly button, which I did myself with a sewing needle in my parent’s bathroom because I thought I was badass, and I’m dancing like an idiot, attempting to get the attention of the DJ, who I worshipped from afar. It also reminds me of 2am trips to Denny’s, car dancing, and also, one unfortunate White Russian bad cream incident. I may or may not have Exorcist-like bad cream vomited on myself.
Watch The Wind Blow By by Tim McGraw
This was going to be my wedding song. Yep, Paula In The Country could’ve actually been Married Mom In The Country right now, but life sometimes takes unexpected turns. Luckily, the man who was my fiance has ended up instead being like a best friend/brother to me, and I’m grateful to still have him in my life every single day. All right, enough mushy shit, guys. Knock that off.
You Dropped A Bomb On Me by The Gap Band
Whenever I hear this, I think of my oldest brother in his Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo phase, breakdancing in our family room. I thought he and his friend Hilbert were the coolest people ever as they were attempting to spin on their backs on bad orange-ish carpeting. I’ve since raised my ‘cool’ standards by a lot.
Ho Hey by The Lumineers
My most recent memory, and yet another story about a boy. The song turned out to be better than the guy, but this will forever remind me of drinking martinis and sitting across from someone I thought could be ‘the one’. Mostly, it reminds me of how amazing those first few weeks of falling for someone can be, and how that shit should really last longer.
Why Don’t We Get Drunk by Jimmy Buffett
Summer of 1993. Post-high school graduation. I was shy and quiet, but hung out with a group of rowdy drunken bastards, all of whom I still love dearly. A lot of Cardinal Puff, a lot of Jimmy Buffett, and a lot of REO Speedwagon happened that summer. Side note: Once a Cardinal, always a Cardinal.
Pump Up The Volume by MARRS
This takes me back to watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve when I was probably about 12 or so. My parents used to go out and leave me at home alone with my older brothers. Let me just say, for anyone who has children and is considering leaving boys in charge: Don’t do it. Peppermint Schnapps and ballet dancing in the kitchen may have happened. I turned out perfectly ok, though. Right? Just go with it.
Everybody’s Free (To Wear Suncreen) by Baz Luhrman
This probably reminds a lot of people of their high school graduation. However, since it came out around 1997 or so, which is 4 years after I graduated, it actually takes me back to New Year’s Eve of 1998. I’d been sick, but wanted to go out anyway because it was New Year’s Eve, damn it! I was also young and stupid. I drank too much, don’t know how I got home, and woke up on New Year’s morning with this song playing on my radio. While listening to Baz Luhrman’s words of wisdom, I got out of bed and immediately passed out and crushed a wicker garbage can with my giant ass.
Ah… Ass-crushing memories.