Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sunshine Song by Jason Mraz

I've liked Jason Mraz since I first heard The Remedy in the early 2000's, so I went to see him in concert when he came to Bozeman almost five years ago. This is one of my favorite adventures I've had with my good friend Jake, who was my roommate for a while. He's a huge Jason Mraz fan and thanks to his membership in the official fan club, we were able to get into the show shortly before the general public and secure a spot directly in front of the stage. After the concert I think I borrowed all of his CDs that Jake had! 

This is the song Jason opened with at that concert. I had never heard it before but liked it right away. As the concert went on I was more and more impressed with Jason's messages of positivity and gratitude and his general sense of mellowness. He performed barefoot and drank from a travel mug with tea bags hanging over the side! Before the concert I hadn't realized what a down to earth soul Jason is. I've been to many concerts over the years and I've found that seeing an artist live changes my relationship with them in some way (almost always in a good way, occasionally in a negative way). Even if I'm already a fan of a musician, standing in front of him or her for a performance allows me to gain something from the music that is simply missing when listening to a recorded version. 

My favorite line is the first one "Sometimes the sun shines on other peoples houses and not mine". Isn't that a lovely way to say: sometimes life sucks and other people have it better than me? A few months after the concert, I lost my job and was unemployed for three months. I would walk my dog around the pond near our house and listen to this song two or three times in a row. Last year when that sweet dog passed away I found myself listening to this song again, to remember the times he had walked with me and brought me comfort, and also to get me through that dark time. 

There isn't an official video for this song. It's never been released as a single (that I know of) and I can't find a version of it that isn't live. I chose this video I found on YouTube because it was obviously recorded by someone in the front at a concert and it's strikingly similar to the experience I had. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ramona by The Ramones

Ramones laces in my roller skates
I was named after this song so it obviously has always been special to me. My father and his father are both Edwards and it was assumed that as the first grandchild, I’d be a boy and therefore another Edward. My mother tells me that as the end of her pregnancy approached, she had a sudden thought one day: What if it’s a girl?! Apparently Edwina was a possible choice but fortunately my parents were into the 70’s rock & roll scene and had recently purchased The Ramone’s Rocket To Russia on vinyl. It just so happens to include a song called Ramona and so here I am!

I've always liked having a unique name. I have a last name that people often have trouble spelling and pronouncing so I've been able to go by my just first name a lot in my life and I've enjoyed that. Once when I was a child, I wandered away from my mom in a store and as she was calling out "Ramona, where are you?" an adult voice answered from a few aisles away "I'm over here!" What a surprise that was to me because I'd never encountered anyone else with my name (besides Ramona Quimby of course)! I've come across a few other Ramonas in my life, most often on the telephone or more commonly I meet someone who has a relative with the name. Most of the time those women go by Mona but I've never had any desire to shorten my name or go by a nickname. I do have a couple of friends who have decided on their own to call me a nickname and in those cases I like it because it's something special I share only with those people I'm close to.

I absolutely love listening to this song. It will always cheer me up and give me confidence because whenever I hear it I think Oh yeah, I forgot this awesome thing about me! I also love telling people I was named after The Ramones. I think it's pretty bad ass!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Que Sera Sera by Doris Day

As I've been working on the posts for this challenge, I've realized that many of the songs I've chosen share a common theme, they remind us that everything is going to be okay. I'm not sure if I've learned that from the music or if I'm drawn to it because it speaks to my inner voice-perhaps it's a little of both!

I'll admit I've never been terribly familiar with today's song. While compiling my A to Z list, I stumbled on a couple of letters (specifically Q and X) and reached out to a couple of friends who are also music lovers for help. When my friend Melissa included this one in her list, it was like "Duh!" My mother has sang the refrain for as long as I can remember. Whenever a situation doesn't turn out as we'd hoped or when the neighbor boy crushed my adolescent feelings "Que sera sera, whatever will be will be".  She has often annoyed the hell out of me with that line!

Maybe this is where it all comes from, my belief that everything happens for a reason and my faith in The Universe. I listened to the full song for the first time when I started this challenge and I do like it. I like the fact that despite it's age, I can still relate to it and enjoy it. I think it proves my point of this project which is that music can just speak to us for a variety of reasons and when it does, it often burrows into our brains and souls and stays there, making us who we are. Here I've lived my life affected by this song and I didn't even realize it!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Push by Matchbox20

This song came out during my first year of college. I'd already had my heart broken by my high school sweetheart so I thought I knew what it was like to get tossed around. (I didn't.) I related to this song right away because it spoke to the part of me that was still angry. A few years later I heard the acoustic version and liked it even better than the original. It still has the same strength in the lyrics but without the intensity of the electric instruments. It's also a little bit slower than the original, which I think works better for it. 

Push has stayed significant to me over the years because I feel like I can relate to it at some point during any relationship: either I'm being pushed around or I'm the only doing the pushing. I've always liked the opening line "She said I don't know if I've ever been good enough, I'm a little bit rusty and I think my head is caving in. And I don't know if I've ever been truly loved by a hand that's touched me" because I've certainly felt like that at times. I think most people do at some point in their romantic lives.  

This is yet another song that has gotten me through tough times because it reminds me that I'm not the only person to ever feel this way.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La,Da by The Beatles

I thank my mother for my love of The Beatles. I'm sure I was hearing their music when I was still in the womb!

This song is special because I think it's impossible to listen to it without smiling! It tells us a story but of course it reminds us that life goes on and things keep going.

I think this song probably became prominent in my life during my pre-teen and early teen years when I regularly watched a TV show called Life Goes On which used this as it's theme song. I don't know how much I realized it at the time but the show was pushing boundaries and dealing with material that hadn't been handled on prime time TV, especially in a family drama. 

This song is on my running play list and my feel good play list. It's good for times when I'm low and need to be cheered up and for times when I'm happy and want to relish in it. It's a sing along loud song (in case you haven't noticed, I like those a lot!), it always makes me want to clap along and really get into it! I especially love songs like this that have lasted through generations and continue to be popular and stir up emotion. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

November Rain by Guns N Roses

It only takes the first couple notes of this song to give me goose bumps and transport me through time. Oh, this song is epic. When you listen to it, you can't think about Guns N Roses past their prime, Axel Rose's reputation or anything else, only this song and how amazing it is.

I was in middle school when November Rain was popular. This didn't sound like anything they'd done before. It was sweeping and intense. I knew all the words by heart, even though I couldn't fully comprehend them at the time. During those years, I had a crush on my neighbor boy and one Christmas he gave me Use Your IllusionI on cassette as a gift. That was a pretty big deal!

Oh and let's talk about this video! It's glorious. Axel Rose at his absolute best, classic Slash solos, a symphony, a wedding. I'll say it again: epic. I watch it now and I'm still struck by how incredible it was to my 13 year old self. While looking up some info on the song, I learned that at the time it was one of the most expensive music videos ever made. 

Before I started working on these posts, I don't think I'd fully listened to this song in a decade or more. At the end of a long day, I was in the bath tub with a glass of wine listening to a bunch of songs on my list to potentially write about. November Rain came on and I knew for absolute certain that I had to choose it for N. "Nothing lasts forever and we both know hearts can change", woah,  I'd forgotten how passionate this song could make me feel. 

I think I'm fortunate to have come of age at a time when Guns and Roses were still reigning and bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam were just coming onto the scene. I feel like I got the best of both worlds. GNR certainly holds a special place in my heart for that reason and for this song. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Motorcycle Drive By by Third Eye Blind

This is a song that has gotten me through a lot of tough times, romantic break ups and falling outs with friends. The times I moved and started over, I got strength from this song. It starts out slow, quiet and sad, contemplative but then builds suddenly become fast and fierce, crashing and angry. It's a lot like those transitions in my life could be, back and forth between calm and raging.

I've always loved this line: "And there's this burning like there's always been. I've never been so alone and I've never been so alive". Sometimes there's a relief that can come with a break up that you weren't anticipating and it can flood you with a sense of freedom. I've experienced it a couple of times. I've been glad to be rid of someone yet miss them at the same time and then be angry because I miss them. It's the same thing here: "And this is the last time we'll be friends again. I'll get over you. You won't know who I am." I can't tell you how many times I've screamed that line! There have been a couple times, at the end of a long relationship or after living in one place for many years, that I sensed that I'd changed a lot since the beginning but I needed to get away in order to complete the transformation.

This song can probably mean something different to everyone based on their life experiences and I think that's cool. I like that the singer is going through those emotions and phases during the song. Many of Third Eye Blind's songs are like that for me. I enjoy them because they come across as extremely genuine.