Mama’s got a squeezebox


Listening to Supertramp right now, which reminds me of college. I love music – this goes without saying – but I go through phases where the emotional trigger of it all is too much for me to bear. Does that make any sense? There is certain “safe” music that I can always listen to regardless of mood; some of you will find this bit cringey but the Dead falls into that category. As does Bob Marley, she says, redeeming herself.

BNiem and I do this thing: if you could have any song play when you enter a room or walk down the street, what would it be? Our answers change each time we check in on this one. My easy answer used to be Kashmir. Then for a bit it was Helter Skelter. He hasn’t asked in a while so I’m not sure what my next answer will be. He has set my personal ringtone to “Smoke on the Water”; this is what plays when I phone him. Curious, that. 

Actually I do know my theme du jour: Right Back Where We Started From. That song makes me endlessly happy these days. And like most of the songs I love, I recall the first time I really listened to it. I was in Maine. 

The following are, in no particular order, songs and albums that evoke specific time and place for me. Bear in mind that some of these are guilty pleasures:

“Soul Rebel” – Bob Marley – my kitchen on Haight Street in San Francisco, where chicken scarpariello was likely being made, 1997-8.

“Honesty” – Billy Joel – swingset at George Washington Elementary circa 1978, Dave the Rave sitting on the rail in his brown leather jacket, playing it on his boom box.

 “House of the Holy” – Led Zeppelin – White Plains, winter break 1989

“Love Fool” – The Cardigans – driving to the Beverly Center in LA, 1995

“Music from Big Pink” – The Band – driving through Northern California, 1996

“You’ll See” – Madonna – Cafe Tabac, 1995

“Real Gone” – Tom Waits – Hampton Bays, 2004

“So Tonight that I Might See” – Mazzy Star – my apartment on York Avenue, 1994

“Riding on the Metro” – Berlin – riding on the metro, Paris, fall semester 1990

“Don’t Explain” – Billie Holiday – my apartment on Charles Street, 1999

“Dream On” – Aerosmith – floating on a raft in a pool in Westchester County (Harrison?), 1986

“Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans” – Louie Armstrong – Burgundy Street, Faubourg Marigny, New Orleans, 2010

“Castles Made of Sand” – Jimi Hendrix – Katonah, NY, 1992

“Your Mother Should Know” – The Beatles – Christopher Street apartment, 1998.

That list could go on and on but I’ll stop at 14 because there are other things I should and want to be writing right now. Thanks for indulging me this trip down memory lane.

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