Christina’s Soundtrack

[I’m putting out a blog early this week. I will be up to my eyeballs in coffee and edits on Sunday. SPRING SUBMISSIONS ARE COMING.]

I went down a Reddit rabbithole. You know how it is. You search for one thing, you end up somewhere else…life in a nutshell.

I was researching qualitative thought on musical preferences and potential for influence as it pertains to life choices (it’s a character development thing, i.e. writing stuff) and I ended up in multiple threads about making a soundtrack for one’s life.

I thought, ‘That’s cool. What would my soundtrack look like?’ I was surprised by how complex the answers were. Most songs had an explanation, others simply did not.

I decided my “life soundtrack” was worth exploring in a blog.

1. Life on Mars? by David Bowie.

[Oh man, wonder if he’ll ever know / He’s in the best selling show / Is there life on Mars?]

When I’m feeling my most core self. Resigned to the state of humanity and yet I would still look for hope; outwards, not within.

2. Red Rain by Peter Gabriel.

[Putting the pressure on much harder now / To return again and again / Just let the red rain splash you]

This is a song that resonates, I don’t know how to explain it. Red Rain is a feeling.

3. Estranged by Guns N’ Roses.

[When you’re talkin’ to yourself / And nobody’s home / You can fool yourself / You came in this world alone]

I was a fan since Appetite for Destruction but it’s the opening lyrics to Estranged that gets me. You either know what it is to be that alone or you don’t. I do.

4. Nightcall by Kavinsky.

[There something inside you / It’s hard to explain / They’re talking about you boy / But you’re still the same]

A song for when I’m in serious contemplation. Yes, I have driven in the night to Nightcall.

5. I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons

[But I’ll kneel down / Wait for now / And I’ll kneel down / Know my ground]

I’m a decided person and my actions reflect in kind. But I also acknowledge that some things are worth waiting for. Not everyone moves at the same pace. This song has that presence of mind. I need to remember what’s worth waiting for.

PS – I adore Mumford & Sons’ version of the The Boxer. Check it out.

6. Killing Me Softly (as sung by Lauryn Hill of the Fugees)

[I felt he’d found my letters and read each one out loud / I prayed that he would finish, but he just kept right on]

To me, this is what pure vulnerability sounds like. I keep my feelings close to my chest. I’m at my most comfortable when writing my truths and, strangely enough, direct confrontation. I respect directness as I can only be as real with my feelings as I believe others to be with me. Killing Me Softly is a desire for that realness. To be so confronted.

7. Surrender by Suicide

[Love isn’t easy / Easy to find / I’ll stay for you / I’m trying hard, baby / Too tired to fight / For you / I surrender / To you]

The idea of surrendering to another (or being surrendered to) is overwhelming. I don’t know what it is to surrender to someone and it captivates my feelings (and imagination) for that reason. I can feel the longing in this song, the desire to give in. It challenges me without trying. Very powerful. As simple as the song is, it captivates me.

8. Someone That I Used to Know by Goyte

[But you didn’t have to cut me off / Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing / And I don’t even need your love / But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough]

I HAD NEVER THOUGHT OF IT LIKE THAT. A breakup, I mean. I remember an ex asking me once why I acted like we didn’t have something together, as though I was denying the relationship. I hadn’t denied anything, I simply went on with my life and assumed he had as well. I didn’t understand his beonghurt by my ability to move on, especially as he broke up with me. I was confused to say the least. Apparently, there’s a difference between separation and total cut-off. I never understood that until I heard this song.

9. Bullet with Butterfly Wings & Zero by Smashing Pumpkins

[Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage / Then someone will say what is lost can never be saved / Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage]

[I’m your lover I’m your zero / I’m the face in your dreams of glass]

When I’m pissed off…or exercising at the gym.

10. I Wanna Be Adored by The Stone Roses

[I don’t need to sell my soul / He’s already in me / I want to be adored / I want to be adored]

I have a lot to give. I could even surrender. I only ask for one thing in return.

11. Road to Nowhere by Talking Heads

[We’re on a ride to nowhere / Come on inside / Taking that ride to nowhere / We’ll take that ride]

We are all on a road to nowhere. May as well take the ride while you can.

12. Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie

[Pushing down on me / Pushing down on you, no man ask for / Under pressure / That burns a building down / Splits a family in two / Puts people on streets]

Under Pressure aligns me with my own sense of humanity. I can’t think of another song where I could say the same.

13. Take Me Home Tonight by Eddie Money

[With all the power you’re releasing / It isn’t safe to walk the city streets alone / Anticipation runs through me / Let’s find the keys and turn this engine on]

I’m a sucker for any song that showcases anticipation and tension (not easy to capture as a sound), and I love the 80s. Take Me Home Tonight is the embodiment of both. I just feel good when I hear it. Upbeat even. I could have a bad day, nothing’s going right, I’m tired and pissed off, Take Me Home Tonight could come on and I would think, ‘Well, today wasn’t that bad.’ It’s a natural mood lifter.

14. Here I Am (Come and Take Me) by Al Green

[A burning deep down inside / A love that I cannot hide / I know it’s you and me baby / That makes this world go round]

This is the sound of seduction. It’s a slow, seductive movement captured in song. It stands out to me because I feel it more than I hear it.

15. Hey Jude by The Beatles

[For well you know that it’s a fool / Who plays it cool / By making his world a little colder]

When I need my faith in humanity restored, Hey Jude.

It’s a mix I know, but that’s the idea. I love the critically acclaimed music, the fun music, the serious music, all of it…these songs have stood up over a period of time when it comes to my feelings and experiences. That’s all. It was fun to explore them. I could talk music all night but I think 15 songs is sufficient for a soundtrack…I am contemplating a re-mix version of this blog so TBC.

Christina Schmidt, MA