En Mass Spring 2014

Music Installment #3: Songs of My Childhood

Alternative Title: Adventures in Auditory Memory

[Author’s Note: This is a completely different list than songs that I know from my childhood. This is what my family personally listened to all the time not the songs that were popular in my childhood. That’s a whole different list- (I’m looking at you, Backstreet Boys)]

As all eight of my family members were driving home from a nice dinner out celebrating being all together after months, we started to reminisce. This, of course, can always be a very dangerous game to play as it first starts with something small, then everyone breaks out their favorite “remember when?”s, then come the funny stories, then a very embarrassing one, and finally, someone will get angry.

Well tonight the theme was “songs of our childhood”. With six kids, a billion activities, and an insatiable amount of errands, we spent a lot of time in the car listening to my mom’s choice in CDs (and “Adventures in Odyssey” of course). There were obviously ones that we know by heart as they were repeated again and again. As we started naming titles that stuck in our heads the most, a common theme was developing.

We listened to downright strange music. Good music, but very strange.

Each family has their little quirks with favorite music. Some friends grew up only listening to Christian music and others know a lot of Michael Jackson and musical soundtracks. Instead we got timeless hits like the ones below.

CATEGORY: Somewhat Normal

1. U2- Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

-In truth, I love this song. I loved rediscovering it in an 80s playlist and was delighted by how familiar it all was.

2. Enya- Only Time

-I’m still lukewarm on Enya. Her “Greatest Hits” CD lived a long and very scratched life in our front console of our car. It’s like one long LCD trip that you don’t necessarily want.

CATEGORY: Why Would You Make Child Listen To This?

3. Dixie Chicks- Travelin’ Soldier

-This song is about naive and pure love cut short by tragic and brutal war and death. AND WE LISTENED TO IT ALL THE TIME! As we were talking about it on the way home, even my seventeen-year-old brother could recite lyrics, like how the soldier had no one to write to and how his name was read off on a list of dead at a football game. Keep in mind that we would cheerily sing along to this when we were younger.

4. Mary Chapin Carpenter- He Thinks He’ll Keep Her

-Divorce and failing marriages have never been so catchy! In this bright and cheerful tune, a woman living in a restrictive and lonely marriage gets the courage to take her kids and leave her husband. Amazingly, even with my horrible memory, I could still recite the chorus.

5. Dixie Chicks- Goodbye, Earl

-This is, without a doubt, the song of our childhood. It was by far the most requested because we thought it was so fun to sing to. In fact, on our car ride home a decade later, all of us could sing along to the first verse and the chorus and throw in our favorite “Those black-eyed peas! Tasted alright to me Earl!” SO GUESS WHAT THIS SONG WAS ABOUT?! That’s right. Murder. Domestic Abuse. Evading the police. But also friendship as MaryAnne and Wanda decided to murder the despicable Earl. We would happily sing along with timeless verses like “It wasn’t two weeks after she got married that Wanda started getting abused. Wore dark glasses, and long-sleeved blouses, and makeup to cover the bruise” and “Ain’t it dark, wrapped up in that tarp?”. Let’s not forget “turns out he was a missing person who nobody missed at all” and “We’ll pack a lunch and stuff you in the trunk, Earl”. It took me years to figure out how very, very dark this song was. But it’s always very fun to revisit.

Well there you have this week’s soundtrack for my walk down memory lane. What’re the songs that shaped your childhood?

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