Music is Magic

Today on Jezebel, there was an amazing post that asked what the album was that made you fall in love with music. Hortense shared a story about her father and The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds that really hit home for me. My dad would come home from work late, grab a Coors (in the gold can), and come get me out of bed when I was supposed to be sleeping. We would sit in the living room listening to all his favorite music. He bonded with me by sharing the music he loved. This is now music that I love. Some of it I love because it is amazing music, and some of it I love because it reminds me of my daddy.
We had our own little jokes and our “own” songs that we would listen to together. The first full album that I really remember listening to with him over and over was The Beatles’ Abbey Road. While there are Beatles albums that I like more than that one, Abbey Road will forever remind me of my father. I also remember helping him wash his car when I was 7 or so. He always listened to Bob Marley when he washed his car, and every time Marley came on I would yell, “It’s the dead guy!” My dad thought that was the funniest thing ever. 
When I came home from preschool with a newfound love of George Hamilton’s “I Got My Mind Set On You,” my dad bought the tape and we would have dance parties in the living room to that song. However, I was adamant about the fact that the words to that song were actually “I’ve got my mind sell on doop,” so my father sang those words with me over and over and over.
To this day, he still loves to share the new music that he discovers with me, but I will forever appreciate the music we listened to together when I was a little girl. Here are some of my favorite songs, courtesy of my father.

Billy Joel, “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant.” I am a HUGE Billy Joel fan. Huge. I love every song and every album that he has ever done. For some reason, this song always resonates with me, though I also really love the sentiment behind “Only The Good Die Young.” And The Stranger is one of my favorite albums of all time.

The Beatles, “Blackbird.” As I stated before, Abbey Road is the album that really, really reminds me of my father, but “Blackbird” is my all time favorite Beatles song. I guess I should also mention that if I ever have a daughter, I want to name her Penny Lane.

Elton John, “Tiny Dancer.” I love anything that involves the piano, I really do. And Elton John just makes me happy and content and serene. I also love “Rocket Man” and “Bennie and the Jets” always makes me smile. And, of course, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is one of the most amazing albums ever.

Queen, “The Show Must Go On.” This song never fails to make me cry. I’m not sure my father knew what the song was about, but I find it to be so powerful and moving. I also love “I Want To Break Free” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” Queen is timeless and fantastic and was some of the more fun music that me and my dad would listen to together. We played their Greatest Hits album over and over and danced around the living room.

When I was old enough to discover music on my own, this is what I really, really fell in love with. These are the songs, the albums, the artists that moved me and spoke to me directly.
No Doubt, “Don’t Speak.” This song still resonates with me whenever I am going through a breakup. The Tragic Kingdom album is one of my favorites to this day, and I really hated the stuff that No Doubt was doing on their last few albums. But Tragic Kingdom really spoke to me, especially “Just A Girl” (“I’m just a girl, all pretty and petite/So don’t let me have any rights”).

Ani DiFranco, “Not A Pretty Girl”. I don’t even know where to begin with Ani. Ani moves me in ways that no other artist can. Picking just a few of her songs that stand out for me is really difficult, but I would have to say “If It Isn’t Her” (“I have been playing too many of those boy-girl games/She says, ‘Honey you are safe here/This is a girl-girl thing’”) and “In Or Out” (“Some days the line I walk turns out to be straight/Other days the line tends to deviate”) because those songs were the first songs I ever really heard that talked about loving women, and some of the feelings that I was struggling with at the time. But “Not A Pretty Girl” has some of my favorite lyrics, including my favorite line from any Ani song ever (“I ain’t no damsel in distress and I don’t need to be rescued, so put me down, punk”).

Jeff Buckley, “Grace.” Jeff Buckley is haunting for me. He brings me to tears, and his voice is just so beautiful and pure. His album Grace is unbelievable. There is, of course, “Hallelujah,” which is one of the most beautiful songs ever, and I also love “Lover You Should Have Come Over.” No one compares to Jeff Buckley.

Dashboard Confessional, “The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most”. I know, I know, but I found their album The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most at a time that I really, really needed it. I was going through a breakup and every song on that album resonated with me. The lyrics to this song I think are amazing (“This is one time when you can’t fake it hard enough to please/Everyone, or anyone at all”). And then, A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar was released, which was all about being in love, which I was at the time. Chris Carrabba’s lyrics just hit me. Hard.

The Spill Canvas, “Lullaby”. I have just started listening to them in the last 5 years or so, but for some reason, their music really resonates with me. The lyrics to this song are some of the most beautiful that I’ve heard and I would melt if someone ever wrote something like it for me (“It’s those pills that you don’t need to take/Medicating perfection, now that’s a mistake”). “All Hail the Heartbreaker” always breaks my heart and is great for just crying and crying. Their newest album, No Really, I’m Fine is freaking great. Really, really great.

What about you guys? What songs or albums really, really made you say, “Wow. THIS is music”? What songs or albums have special memories for you? Or what music do you just really, really love?
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  1. Patrick
    Posted January 11, 2009 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Theres so many for me, Billy joel was a huge one for me as well, Allentown, Piano Man, Always a woman, there so many he sang that you could just zone out close your eyes and feel the music, Elton John, Louie Armstrong, Etta James, there's too many for me to name that have touched my soul. :D

  2. The Promo Homo
    Posted January 12, 2009 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    I grew up on music like Elton John, The Eagles, Queen, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello…

    and if I write about what music I love on my own it'll take years… but you know that No Doubt will always hold the number 1 spot in my heart.

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