Saturday, January 12, 2008

Best of 2007, Part IV: Music

61lnd7euxql__ss500_ My mother is a great music lover, and growing up we were in awe that she knew the words to any song we named. It took me a long time to realize the only titles we knew were her favorites. I played her albums endlessly, especially the Broadway musicals and one particular Jerry Vale album. How did she resist the temptation to hide or destroy that album, which usually led to my singing "Man of La Mancha" or "The Shadow of Your Smile" in the dining room with an earnest and extremely off-key voice?

Eventually I noticed though that among all the Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald and great Irish groups, there wasn't one Beatles album. Her music collecting ended abruptly with motherhood, and didn't really start again until we were all grown. 41n8e6kd4tl__aa240_

Music was so central to my relationships and memories---screaming Ethridge's "Somebody Bring  Me Some Water"  in a library study room with friends in college, celebrating our first Valentine's day at a Paul Simon concert in '91, dancing to "I Will Survive," and singing along while someone strummed "Closer to Fine" on a guitar-- that I was sure motherhood would never have that affect on me.

And yet I struggled to name even five songs in our annual best lists those first few years of Aidan's life.

This year I had fifty in my letter to Mary Alice and Angie (I was kinder to my siblings and limited myself to ten). How did that happen? Probably because our boys are a bit older now, because of roadtrips in Bri's pickup with Sirius playing, because of Mary Alice, who sends recommendations as well as CD mixes, and because we accidentally signed up for Yahoo Unlimited (long story), which is not an expense we will renew but does allow you to listen to any CD in full as many times as you want. I'll miss it when it ends.

Nonetheless, Aidan might someday scan our CD collection and make the same conclusion I did about my mother. Money priorities are different now, while a 99 cent download gets more playtime on the computer than any CD on the stereo anyway. And, with a symphony of two little boys playing most of the day, silence has become a rare and great pleasure.

Songs I obsessed about/overplayed in 2007:

  1. "Long Way Round" by Stereophonics

  2. "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" by Stars (ignore the first 3 seconds, and make sure it isn't the remix); "I'm not sorry I met you/I'm not sorry it's over/I'm not sorry there's nothing to say"

  3. "See the World" by Gomez

  4. "The Story" by Brandi Carlile. I loved the whole CD, such a rarity.

  5. "More Than This" by Peter Gabriel

  6. "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter

  7. "Paperweight" by Schuyler Fisk & Joshua Radin ("Last Kiss" also a GREAT soundtrack61cscu06ujl__ss500_); "Every word you say/I think I should write down/don't want to forget/come daylight"

  8. "Secret Sun" by Alex Heffes

  9. "Naked as We Came" by Iron & Wine

  10. "The Part Where You Let Go" by Hem

and even though it was new to no one but me, "Late for the Sky" by Jackson Browne is now a permanent favorite.

Honorable mentions: "Right Moves" by Josh Ritter; "Come Undone" by Robbie Williams; "You Got Yr Cherry Bomb" by Spoon; "Let Me Go Easy" by Indigo Girls; "New Slang" by the Shins; "Are You Alright" by Lucinda Williams; "Last Request" by Paolo Nutini; "I Will Follow You into the Dark" by Death Cab for Cutie; "Simple as It Should Be" by Tristan Prettyman

Okay, I'll stop. Some are probably old to many of you, some probably got overplayed on the radio. For me, they were companions while writing in the office, working around the house, or driving to Texas/Colorado/Arizona this year.

Best of 2007, Part V: Moments (and the final one, alleluia) coming next week...

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