I must start this week with a confession, because you'll find me out anyhow. Kat!, Jennie!, and Abigail! possess many splendid qualities that I do not, and one of those qualities is musical discretion. They consistently listen to diverse, soul-affecting music. They attend concerts with other music aficionados. They have refined taste and read music reviews and discuss cover songs and who knows what else. Kat! and Abigail! both send me music, and I do enjoy it. But the music in my dreams (especially the montages) is nearly always Celine Dion. If music were food, the rest of the Collective flies to Italy for pasta, while I eat spaghetti at The Olive Garden. I have owned every single Backstreet Boys and N'Sync Album. This week I am meant to tell you five songs or albums that define or mean a lot to me. Feel free commence the judging, because here they are:
The Rainbow Connection, Kermit the Frog — I was fourteen the first time I took a plane ride somewhere all by myself, and I knew when we lifted off the ground that some people were made to get married and have families, but I was born to fly. When I was a child, Kermit asked, "Have you been half asleep, and have you heard voices?" And I was all, "Yes, Kermit the Frog! I have!" Then he reassured me, "I've heard them calling my name." Which, I must say, was quite a relief. I'm a bit of a square peg in a round-holed world, but so was this talking frog, so at least I wasn't alone! And Kermit continued his song. "Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors? The voice might be one in the same. I've heard it too many times to ignore it. It's something that I'm s'posed to be." Then that singing frog gave my life purpose: "Someday we'll find it, The Rainbow Connection. The lovers, the dreamers, and me." (La da da da da day da doo.)
Rocky Top, University of Tennessee Pride of the Southland Marching Band — It doesn't translate well to the Internet, my deep, fervent, abiding affection for the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team, but it is the longest, truest love affair of my life. I can't... even now, I can't describe it to you. I could show you the ticket stubs, souvenir programs, team jerseys, newspaper clippings, VHS tapes of March Madness. There are 15 years worth of those things (and counting) stored away in my bedroom. I've been there: I've played in Thompson-Bolling Arena. My first unchaperoned plane ride was to the University of Tennessee, where Pat Summitt said I had a nice crossover, like Jesus said Peter could walk on water.
I Come to the Garden Alone, C. Austin Miles — Oh, I was brought up Baptist. Not regular Baptist, either. No, I was brought up Southern Baptist, and I viewed my whole life in the context of that religion until I was twenty-four-years old. My memories of the church are a perfect mix of fondness and aggravation, freedom and oppression. Nothing makes me angrier than when bad Christians happen to good people. And there seems to be a lot of that going around these days—a lot of redefinition. But whenever I hear this old hymn, I am back in the wooden church pew I grew up in. It's Sunday night; the doors are open to let in the breeze. My white patent leather shoes glow against the olive green carpet of the sanctuary, and there ain't nothin' but the piano playing and the tree frogs chirping and my own voice echoing through my soul as I rest my head on my arms on the pew in front of me and sing, "I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear, falling on my eat, the son of God discloses. And he walks with me and he talks with me. And he tells me I am his own. And the joy we share, as we tarry there, none other has ever known."
Giraffes #1, Chris T-T — Last year, through my blog, I met a fella named Geo. He is a UConn Lady Huskies fan, which makes him my arch nemesis, but every Friday he sends me music. The first song he ever sent me was Giraffes #1, a song that tells the most perfect story. See, there are 280 giraffes on the British mainland, shared between 85 zoos and private collections. The giraffes are getting organized, and counting down to their own Year Zero. The first giraffe learned to swim and led a bunch of other giraffes to England. He wrote down three rules to live by: Stick your neck out. Stand up taller. Don't look down now. And that's what those giraffes are doing right now, just getting ready to learn to fly right out of the fences humans built for them. Boy, I wish that would happen. I would stand out in the street and cheer, "Don't look down now! Stick your neck out! It's okay! It's okay!" Probably because I would want people to do the same for me.
Back in Black, AC/DC — My college boyfriend was named Chip and I loved that boy in the innocent, reckless way that only a twenty-year-old girl can love a person. In the first summer of us, I asked him didn't he think we ought to have a song. He said, "Yeah, sure, just pick anything off the AC/DC Back in Black album." Instead of You Shook Me All Night Long or Let Me Put My Love Into You (both appropriate choices), I went with the title track, Back in Black. When we broke up for the last time he said, "But no one will ever love me the way you do." He was probably right, and God, no amount of money in the world could convince me to be twenty years old again.