Saturday, November 28, 2009

From my iPod (and the dark, cobwebby recesses of my brain) to your ears...

Lately I've been listening to my iPod on shuffle. It's interesting which of the 3843 songs I've got on there will pop up and--out of nowhere--bring a memory screaming back to my mind. Most of them are fond, some of them tinged with pain, but all of them make me remember times that were influenced by one menial song.

Duncan Sheik - Barely Breathing

In the 8th grade, our science teacher gave us an assignment to pick any song and write about one of the science topics we had learned about that year. It was supposed to be a fun, easy project that would get us 14-year-olds out of our shells and doing something that wasn't studying a book. Of course, I made the entire assignment too difficult...this song was brand new on the radio, and I sat there with my hand poised over the RECORD button, just waiting for the radio station to play my request I had called in--we didn't have iTunes or YouTube back in the day, so it was me and a trusty cassette tape. After waiting for about three hours, I finally got the song recorded. My older sister, Sarah, agreed to help be the vocals for my project (hello, embarrassing for me to do it myself...), and we set to sussing it all out. At about two o'clock in the morning, our brains had become mush, but our product was gold. If I recall, there was a goofy part at the end of our recording that had something to do with Sean Connery (?). To this day, whenever I hear this song on the radio, I giggle a little to myself, recalling how silly we got and how great it was to have an older sister to help me see it through to the rollicking end. I think I got the same number of points for that tape as the people who wrote their songs to easy tunes and took about fifteen minutes to do the assignment, as opposed to the several hours I invested into mine. And you can see how all of my effort paid off eventually, right...?

Love Is Spoken Here (Primary Song)

I don't know why the title of this video says it's "A Child's Prayer"...

As an 11-year-old, I was asked to participate in a Primary children's choir that sang for LDS General Conference. We practiced every Sunday evening for a couple months with Sister Watkins, and this song was one of my favorites that we performed. One of the things I remember about the way she taught us was that she had a tennis ball she had sliced open. She would squeeze it, and its 'mouth' would open and sing rOund vOwels. I hated being patronized like a silly little child, but thinking about it now, she was onto something. I thought we sounded great. It was the one General Conference that President Howard W. Hunter was the prophet. As we were sitting in the tabernacle, waiting to start, he walked in and waved to the side of the choir where I was. A prophet, waving at us! I even remember what I was wearing that was a white dress with little blue flowers on it, and a fabric rose as sort of a brooch. And I had to sit next to the most annoying kid in our ward; that I remember distinctly. This particular song is one of the first ones (for me, at least) I sang the harmony (listen to the end) on, and I loved singing the 'different' part.

The Righteous Brothers - You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling

This song is one of the tunes twinged with sadness...but now that I think of it, it is a little humorous how this story happened. Quick background: at the age of 17, I thought I had found my soulmate. I waited for him while he went on his mission, and then when he returned, and I was on the verge of turning 20, I was positive we would settle down and live life happily ever after. Three weeks after he got back, we went to a park and had an awkward chat about how he wanted to focus on dating another girl who had written him on his mission. I was beyond devastated. Three years I had invested into this person who wouldn't return my affections. On the way home from the park, we were listening to the radio...I don't even know which station (let's face it, I was in a stupor), and this song came on. He couldn't have just left well enough alone and said, "Oh hey, this song is kind of fitting for the night." My heart just sank even further at his cheekiness. I have since moved on and realized it definitely wasn't meant to be with him and me. So I can still listen to this song with a grimace-laced half-smile. It was a ridiculous thing for him to say, but kind of funny in hindsight.

John Denver - Grandma's Feather Bed

As a family, we used to make weekly trips to go visit one set of grandparents or the other. Usually things got pretty rowdy with seven children in the car, so I think my dad tried to get us focused on a singular goal by teaching us this song. We loved singing it because we thought it was a hilarious concept. For years, I didn't know that it was John Denver who sang it, but it makes sense considering my dad is a huge fan. I bet even today you could get us all to sing along to this ditty if you got us all started. When I was really young, I always wondered if my grandma kept the feather bed out in the garage or something because she didn't want us jumping on it. And I would get confused at a bed being nine feet high; it just didn't seem quite plausible...

Mary Poppins - A Spoonful of Sugar

Mary Poppins remains today one of my favorite movies, and it's in part due to this next memory... When I was about 6, my sister and I shared a bedroom. And we were messy little children, so you can imagine all of the toys and clothing that ended up strewn about the floor. One day, my mom told us that we weren't allowed to leave the room until it was cleaned up. Obviously no small child wants to feel restricted by chores, so we decided to put our movie knowledge to the test. We gathered everything into a huge heap and began snapping our fingers at it. To our dismay and disappointment, nothing budged. Not a single toy jumped back into its rightful place, and we were slightly devastated. All of our faith in films was shattered, and we were left with a mountain of crap that we now had to clean up by our own non-magical devices.

Smash Mouth - Then the Morning Comes

As a teenager with newly-found freedom (i.e., a drivers license), I wanted what every 16-year-old dreams of: her own car. My parents had a vehicle that my oldest sister had used for a bit but no longer needed (or was a great car shuffle in which I ended up with something to get me to school, work, and back). The only problem was that it had a manual transmission, and I had learned to drive on an automatic. Learning how to drive a clutch was a fantastic event at our house...we got a pre-lesson from our dad that involved plates and talk of gears and shifting and the way the mechanics of it worked (which was actually extremely helpful!). After we had sufficiently learned, we got to go out to the right-of-way next to my parents' house and drive up and down the short gravel path, practicing going from idling to first and then to second gear. Mastery of that meant that we got to drive up and down the long, straight road in front of the house. I had a tape with this song on it, and that was what I used to get psyched up to learn how to drive this crazy car. I would listen to it, rewind, and then listen again. Whenever this song comes on and I get rocking out, I remember the short drives up and down that road, feeling so cool in the little Suzuki Samurai.

Ah, misty watercolor memories...gotta love the trips down memory lane. Do you have songs that *always* remind you of a certain time or place?


Blogger heidikins said...

This is about six different kinds of Awesome.


November 28, 2009 at 5:26 PM

Blogger Erika said...

I have to say "Steal My Sunshine" always reminds me of when we stayed up all night long at Lisa's house and went to eat at Denny's? in the morning before we'd even slept, and we were all singing this song half-dead. I think Lacy was sitting on my lap (we all stuffed into Betsy or something) and I can still hear her singing it, sounding stoned, it makes me laugh!!

November 28, 2009 at 9:02 PM

Blogger Lisa said...

I love to do this too! Most of the memories you described here are things that I remember too (not necessarily the songs associated, but the events). Good times. It's funny what memories are triggered by what songs.

November 29, 2009 at 11:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You crack me up, seriously, I love you!

November 30, 2009 at 6:07 PM

Blogger Lindsay said...

I didn't know you were in that choir too! Sister Watkins was incredible! Great memories of songs...

December 2, 2009 at 12:03 AM


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