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.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Like A Prayer By Madonna, Life Is A Highway by Tom Cochrane

This is the only letter for which I just couldn't choose only one song. Both of these songs are significant to me and genuinely fun tunes!

                                                  Life A Prayer by Madonna

Like A Prayer came out in early 1989 so I would have been 10. I had the cassette single, which I rewound and listened to so much I'm surprised I never wore it out. I was a Madonna fan before this point, but this song had a unique sound that affected me in a different way than her other music had. I wasn't raised in a religious household and although I had heard that the song and video were raising a ruckus, I didn't really get it. I remember watching the controversial video with my friend Tina at her house, knowing it was significant even though I wasn't fully grasping it at the time. It was my first view of Madonna as a brunette and a totally different image for her than that of her "Material Girl" years that I had seen as a younger girl. At first I wondered if it was even her, I was so blown away by the idea that someone could change themselves so much.

As a woman who grew up in the 80s and 90s, I hold Madonna in high regard. Many of her songs are significant to me but she's important to me for other reasons too. While I like all of her music, this is hands down my favorite song and I still find it to be pretty powerful. It still has such an awesome strong sound to it and I love the changes in style and tempo. When you watch the video, pay attention to how she's dancing around the four minute mark. Every time I hear this song, no matter what I'm doing, in my head I'm dancing like this the entire time. If I'm at home alone then I am totally dancing the whole time. Even though the video is heavy, I still think of this as a feel good song. It lifts me up, gets me moving and feeling something. It's an awesome song for singing along, for dancing and moving to. Because of the age I was when it came out and I saw the video and of how significant Madonna's music has been in my life, I do consider this song a pretty significant building block in my path as a woman.

Life is a Highway by Tom Cochrane

Hands down best driving song ever! 

I don't know when I first discovered this song but it was some time in the early 90s while I was still in high school! It's been on any list of favorites I've ever made, any mix tape (or later CD burned) for a friend. It's a song I listen to when I want to get fired up and feel encouraged, or when I'm just feeling good about life and want to keep it up. I like it so much because it's positive, fast paced, simple and straight forward. It's about love and life and it never goes negative. I've always considered it a great anthem for life in general. I've heard a remake of this song and didn't like it as well because it didn't have the right energy and just wasn't quite right.  


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Kinky by The Clintons/John McLellan

This song was written by John McLellan, who is the lead singer of a band called The Clintons. He's also one of my oldest and closest friends, one of my two "brothers from another mother". John and I met in 1997 while we were both going to Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming. A mutual friend introduced us because we both were (and still are) huge fans of Dave Matthews Band. John was in the earliest stages of his music career at that point, and this is one of the first songs he ever wrote, during those initial years of our friendship.

Me and John in May 1998

I've always liked this song because it's cute and catchy. Over time it's changed from this solo acoustic version into one that's played with his full four member band. Just about every time I see John play I ask him to play Kinky because a) it's fun to dance to but b) it takes me back the days when I'd go see him while he was working at our campus library. We'd go in a back room and he'd play me the songs he'd been working on. As John's career has advanced and he's written many other wonderful songs, Kinky has always stuck with me in my heart as my favorite. I think it's partly because I know the story behind it and each time I listen to it, I'm reminded of how far we've both come since our college days. When I'm in a crowd that's singing along to his songs, I'm filled with a sense of pride in him because I know how hard he's worked to get where he is.

Being friends with someone for 17 years isn't a small task. As John said to me on the phone this week "We've been through a lot of shit together. If there was ever anybody whose got each other's back, it's John and Ramona." I couldn't have said it better myself. He was my Man of Honor when I got married, supported me through my divorce, helped me move across the country to start over. During those years, he got married and has had two sons. We've both changed so much over the years and we haven't always agreed with each other as that's happened. Because I don't have siblings, my closest friends have been especially important to me, they're my family! There are a exceptional few who have known me through all my stages, supported me through some poor life choices and some awesome ones and I wouldn't be who I am without them. John's music always reminds me of that.

Me and John March 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Joker by Steve Miller Band

This is the only song on my list that is here simply because I think it's awesome. I don't have a  story to go with it or an emotional explanation. I don't remember the first time I heard it but I know I've always thought it was fantastic. I grew up listening to my mom's music, which is what we now call classic rock, so I was probably exposed to Steve Miller Band from a young age. Pretty much all of their music has a cool sound to me and I've always enjoyed this one in particular. There's something about it. It's got a funky, sexy sound but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense yet it still works! Once I was old enough to think about it, I've always figured the song has to do with sex and drugs but I've tried not to think about it too much so I don't ruin it for myself!

Mike Myer's movie The Love Guru is one of my favorites (and yes, I know it is generally not a popular film but I don't care!) so when this song was featured in a fancy song and dance number at the end, I was thrilled. I was in tears from laughter and had a heart full of joy from hearing one of my favorite songs so I wanted to include this version here too because I love it!