Music - Your Personal Soundtrack

by Michael P. Irwin

11 August 2010

In an episode of the popular sitcom Family Guy, Peter Griffin meets a genie who grants him three wishes, and one of his wishes is to have his own theme music wherever he goes -- what a great idea, especially now that it's so easy to carry your music with you.
 

I woke up rather early the other morning, and almost immediately after opening my eyes I started hearing the often-imitated crooning of Elvis Presley echoing through my skull. That’s not entirely a surprise—I was flying to Las Vegas that day, so the fact that a song by the King popped into my head did seem somehow appropriate. I suppose that a selection from Tom Jones or Dean Martin would probably have fit just as well, but for whatever reason for me that day it was Elvis—and his music was stuck in my head all morning.

”…A little less conversation / A little more action please…”


  
I don’t know why, but for a long time I’ve always felt like certain moments in life just need a song to go along with them.  In addition to being such an avid music fan I also love movies, and feel like no matter how good a movie may be that a good soundtrack can always make it even better.  I suppose that some songs have then become the soundtrack for the still-in-production movie that is my life.  For example, the opening bass line of The Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin” always reminds me of sitting in an airport or a train station, waiting to leave for a weekend road trip with my friends; Johnny Cash’s somber and regretful “Sunday Morning Coming Down” usually reminds me of the trip back.  AC/DC’s anthemic “Back in Black” makes me think of a weekend night when (I think) I’m king of the world, and Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova” always makes me think of that miserable period of time just after breaking up with someone, regardless of who that “someone” may be that particular time around.

”…Someday you will find me / Caught beneath the landslide…”

A little over a year ago, I started taking this idea of a life soundtrack a little more seriously.  One day I had to go out to a project site and do an inspection of a narrow utility space that was wedged between the floors of an office building.  Afterward, the clothes that I had been wearing were so stained with dust and grease that I decided to just change and throw them away, and I emailed a certain “friend” of mine and jokingly wrote something like “If I had a theme song today, it would be ‘Dirty White Boy’ by Foreigner.”  My interpretation was slightly more literal than what the band was writing about, but it didn’t matter.  My friend wrote back saying that she really liked the idea of a theme song of the day, and seeing as how I really liked her, I kept doing it—and did so for nearly a year, even after we went our separate ways.

…Dirty white boy, yeah, dirty white boy…

There were occasions when I picked a song just to pick one, and other times when my selection was somewhat forced.  Sometimes I picked a song because I was feeling a certain way and that song expressed how I was feeling, and on other times I picked a song because I wanted to feel differently and felt as though that song could help to get me there.  But, more often than not, I felt as though the song chose me more so than I ever chose it—just like the morning of my trip.  Whether it really was some sort of fate, or whether it was just coincidence that I interpreted as such, there have been plenty of occasions in my life where a song has come up on the radio, a jukebox, some randomly generated digital playlist—or just popped into my head—and I’ve thought to myself “There could not be a better fit right now.”—To name just a few:

—Scorpions’ “Rock You Like a Hurricane” while driving through a blinding rainstorm in New Jersey?
Perfect 

—W.A.S.P.’s “Mean Man” on a day when I was in a bad mood and took it out on some friends?
Perfect – unfortunately…

—Screeching Weasel’s “Hey Suburbia” while driving around aimlessly through the suburbs during the summer between high school and college?
Perfect

—Looking at the neon lights of the Strip outside my hotel room window?
…Viva!  Viva!  Las Vegas…

PERFECT!

So what’s your “theme song” today?

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