June 4, 2014

The Music in My Life (W101)

Day three of the Writing 101 challenge is an interesting one.

June 3, 2014: Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

This one is actually really hard for me, not because I don’t have favorite songs, but because I have too many of them! I am a very auditory person. I always have something playing in the background to distract my ears while I think. I also like to think that my life has a soundtrack — there are songs that speak to me when i’m distraught, bands I listen to only when I’m in certain moods, artists whom I rely on to inspire me when I write. I don’t follow genres, and I have at least one or two favorite acts in just about every genre imaginable …. except Country. I just don’t do Country music.

What follows are not neccessarily my absolute three most important songs in my life now and forever. If you asked me a year from now I could very well offer three completely different ones. But at this moment in time, June 2014, here are the three songs that stand as my most important.

1. “Express Yourself,” Madonna (Like a Prayer

Go ahead — make all the LGBT stereotype jokes. I know them all. I’ve chided myself about them. But this song is important to me. It’s like an anthem for anyone coming to terms with their authentic selves.

When I was first coming out last year, before I’d even fully admitted to myself who I was, while I was deep and depression and barreling towards an uncertain future, “Express Yourself” became something of a totem for me. I almost literally went an entire month in late January/early February  2013 without listening to any other song but this one — over and over, on repeat, again and again. It put me in a good mood when nothing else could, and it became like this magical white noise that let me clear my mind and think. My iTunes account recorded over 400 plays of this song in that month-long period, and many more since then. So yeah, stereotypes be damned, this song belongs on my list.

2. “The Highwayman,” Loreena McKennitt (The Visit)

This one’s a bit of a push. Honestly, I could have put any one of a dozen McKennitt songs in this spot; her rendition of “The Lady of Shalott” nearly ended up there. McKennitt is a muse for me; she is a balm for my spirit and my brain. I can listen to her sing all day long and never tire of her. Her rooting in Celitc and European culture; her embracing of tale, myth, and legend; and her wonderful sense of storytelling all speak to me at a deep, deep level.

“The Highwayman,” specifically, just happens to be one I really like. It’s based on a really great romantic narrative poem and her musical accompaniment is so, so fine. In fact, I love this recording so much that I once wrote a Dungeons & Dragons module for the RPGA based on it.

3. “You Don’t Belong,” Bad Religion (The Process of Belief)

Like with McKennitt above, I could have slotted a dozen different Bad Religion songs into this spot. I love Bad Religion. If Lorenna McKennitt is is my muse, then Bad Religion is my social conscience. For some reason, I always get in the mood to listen to them a lot in the summer.

The reason I chose this song in particular is because I relate to its message. I also think of this as “the Facebook song” since this song really makes me reminisce about my high school years, and Facebook is where I’m keeping touch with all of those crazy people who I used to hang out with so long ago. The fact that there’s a line in it about “Jack wore a skirt” is purely coincidental.


  • Those are all great songs! I haven’t listened to Loreena Mckennit in a very long time, but boy does she bring up memories. I’ll have to dig up the ol’ cd player soon and revisit her. I agree.. it is definitely hard to just pick three songs. I sort of strayed from the prompt myself. 🙂

  • The only contemporary music I enjoy are lovesongs by female vocalists and I don’t keep up with new releases except for those I can download as mixes to my cellphone which is my only source of music nowadays, at home and on the go.. I am not a big fan of country but I have a few favorites by John Denver and a few others like “The Gambler” by Chris Christoferson. I chose “Annie’s Song” to be sung by a friend when I got married in Denver, CO. in 1981 and when I hear it now it always brings deep sobbing and crocodile tears in memory of my late beloved wife, with whom I shared my life for over 31 years. My most hated music is Rap which doesn’t even sound like music to me and I seriously dislike any music that rattles my windows and my whole body from sub-woofers in the trunks of cars passing by, even from blocks away. I like just about anything else but my favorite genres are pre Beatles R&B, Rock n Roll, and 80’s music from Don Henley to Michael Jackson, anything I can boogie to which helped me in my quick recovery from double hip surgery in the summer of 2011. I also attend a bi-weekly dance meditation practice based on the 5 Rhythms devised by Gabrielle Roth in the late 1970s, where I first came out in November 2011 and where I can feel and dance like a little girl, like no one is watching.

    • While country is the genre I dislike most, rap is probably a close second. There’s the occasional act that catches my attention, though. I have not heard of 5 Rhythms before, Sounds interesting.

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