Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Soundtrack of My Life (so far)

When I met my husband 19 years ago, he told me I had the worst taste in music.  He was in my bedroom at the University of Western Ontario (don't worry, Mom, nothing happened) when he made that declaration while shaking his head at my eclectic collection that included multiple Motown albums, Madonna, and Dread Zepplin, a reggae-style Zepplin cover bad.  While I do admit that last one was a giant stinker, I fully defend the other two. And if weren't for the fact that I was already in love with him for driving over two hours for our first date and bringing me fresh bagels from Bagel World (the best bagels in Toronto, IMHO), I would've kicked him out right there.

Looking back on the situation, I do have to admit I didn't have the best taste in music.  Its not that it stunk, its just that it was…weird. Stuff like Victoria's Secret collection of classics (yes, that Victoria's Secret) and the full album's of every one-hit wonder of that time, such as Right Said Fred, Tom Cochrane, and Deee-Lite. I guess I was either completely sucked into the media hype, stupid, or optimistic that one day the rest of the album would miraculously stop sucking as much as it did.

Two decades and thousands of songs later, I was pretty confident that my taste had improved…until this week.  I was at work and a colleague was looking for a song to play for Valentine's Day over the intercom.  I offered up my ITunes collection and she said, "No offence, but you have the worst taste in music." WHAT!?

Ok, now this is getting nutz.  I know I'm tone-deaf & can't carry a tune or play the violin to save my life  (that's a whole other story) but I can play the first two bars of Lean on Me on the piano and match my running speed to the tempo of whatever's playing on my Ipod.  That has to count for something, right? I'm not totally clueless when it come to music…am I?

In order for you to properly judge this question, I have put together a 10-song playlist of the most meaningful songs of my life, along with a brief explanation of each one.  Feel free to click on the link for a listen or two, in case you don't know the song (which may be the case since I tend to fall victim to the hype of the one-hit-wonder)

1. Copacabana by Barry Manalow.  The first concert I ever attended.  While I don't remember much, I do remember that when this song came on, Barry came out dancing in an awesome 70's-style white suit  (it was the 70's after all),  palm leaves miraculous sprouted from the top of the columns on stage, and the crowd went wild!  

2. Endless Love by Diana Ross & Lionel Ritchie.  My soon-to-be sister, Dina, and I used to sing this duet-style in her bedroom with hairbrushes and indian-earth brushes as microphones.  Her dad and my mom had just moved in together and we were still figuring out how to be a family.  I was so excited about having her live with us.  I was 7 and in grade 2 and she was 15 and in high school.  I thought she was the coolest, prettiest person I had ever seen.  In my mind, the day she invited me into her room and asked me to "join her airband" is the day she became my sister. I didn't really understand the song, but from what Dina told me about it and the movie it was from, I thought it was the most romantic song ever. Years later, I watched the movie and realized that it was not so much romantic as it was freaky & stalker-esque.

3.  Michael Jackson's entire Thriller album.  This was the second concert I attended…but this time, I actually knew what I was listening to.  I had every song memorized, every dance memorized, and even the red multi-zipper ℗leather jacket.  This is one of the few albums of my youth that I can't stand listening to today, which is sad since MJ is considered one the greatest musical artists of our time.  Maybe my taste in music does suck!
How cool is that jacket? Damn! I wish I would've kept it!

4. Burning Down the House by Talking Heads.  I don't know what it is about this song, but I just loved it.  I spend many a Sunday at my Dad's house making mixed tapes from his music collection and while my playlist changed all the time, this song was always in the mix. As ironic as it sounds, this song feels like home to me.

5. Vogue by Madonna.  This is the theme song of my high school years.  Every time I hear it, I smile, envisioning my besties, Romy and Stacey, and I blasting down the street in the middle of the night in my white convertible Suzuki Sidekick, singing this at the top of our lungs, and feeling like we owned the world.

6. Every Little Step by Bobbi Brown.  Don't tell my husband that I told you this, but he sang this whole song to me on one of our first dates.  We were in his car and there was a bit of a lull in the conversation.  A few seconds into the awkward silence, he broke into song.  I still remember the sound of his voice as he sang and how it made the butterflies already in my tummy flutter even faster.

7. How Do I Live by Trisha Yearwood.  Our wedding song. At that time, neither of us were really into music and we needed a "first dance"song.  I chose it for the dumbest reasons ever: we had just returned from a road trip to Nashville & liked the move ConAir (it was that movie's theme song) and I thought it was a pretty good song, so I thought, "why not?"  Turned out to be a great choice and we always stop whatever we're doing and listen when it comes on.  

8.  Blackbird by the Beatles.  Even though this song came out in 1968, I didn't really know about it until 2004, when I was training to run my first race.  I had somehow come across this song & it reminded me of my niece, Hope, who was still sick at that time.  Even though it's slow tempo didn't at all go with the rest of songs on my race-day play list, I stuck it in there.  I'm glad I did.  Sure enough, during my race, I hit "the wall"; I didn't think I could run another step.  And then Blackbird started to play.  I though of Hope and her fighting spirit and found it in me to start running again.  I didn't stop until I crossed the finish line.  That song is still on every race-day play list I make.

9.  Dynamite by Taio Cruz.  The first road trip I ever took with just me and my two babies.  It was the beginning of a long weekend and I knew my husband was going to have to work the whole time.  I threw the kids in the car and we drove 5 hours to the Kalahari Indoor Waterpark in Sandusky, OH. About two hours into the trip, the batteries on the laptops ran out and there was nothing left for the kids to but fight or listen to the radio.  I chose the radio.  And since this song was at the height of popularity at the time, it seemed like it was always playing on at least one station.  I'm pretty sure we sang it non-stop for almost the rest of the drive.  At the top of our lungs.  And we never got sick it.  Today, whenever I hear it, I have visions of us, zooming along the open roads, being happy.

10. Ok.  There are actually two songs for this one: California Gurls by Katie Perry and Beautiful Boy by John Lennon.  The first is the song my daughter used as a base for this song she wrote for me as a birthday present (the best gift I ever got) and the second is the background song for my photo montage at my son's bar mitzvah.  I can't listen to either without getting nostalgic and teary-eyed and since I love my kids to death equally as much, I can't separate these two songs.

So that's its.  A brief playlist of my life…so far.  There are a million other songs that come to mind when I think about what I was listening when, but these are the biggies.

Two questions:
1.  Does my taste in music actually suck?
2. What song would you include in the soundtrack of your life and why?


  1. Oh dear, I would love to have your back on this one but I have to side with your hubby!! Sorry Cayla! I am more of a Traj Hip, Blue Rodeo,Adele,Beatles,Oasis girl but the song for my life is "Little Earthquakes" by Tori Amos (or anything Tori). My hubby affectionately calls her "torn anus" as he hates her! LOL

    1. Thanks anyways. PS Why Little Earthquakes?

    2. I think life gives u little earthquakes all the time. You can be sucked in by them or choose to be positive and lead a life without drama. This album helped me survive my 20's. It was my $16.99 therapist!