Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Down By the Sea

I am a total music whore. Junkie. Addict. I used to be up on new music. I am now old and busy, but I have my brothers to keep me current. However, my faithful music taste remains pretty mundane, I have to admit. One of my favorite movies is High Fidelity, and I, too, am obsessed with lists. Specifically, lists of music. As I sit listening to my iPod at work, gazing out upon the summer sun and missing being in the field, I think about my favorite summertime songs. I feel compelled to share. This is a short list, certainly not in order or exhaustive. Some of them are painfully obvious. Please add yours. My second obsession is grilling people on their own musical tastes.

1. Summertime by Janis Joplin. Man, what is better than hearing her gravelly, pained voice singing about coming alive? You can hear the humidity drip off her while she sings.

2. Under the Boardwalk by John Mellencamp (the live version)-First of all, I love anything live from John Mellencamp. I can smell the ocean and taffy. The back-up singers and harmonies are incredibly fun and it makes me want to go to the Jersey Shore. And that's quite a feat, let me just tell you.

3. America by Simon & Garfunkle (the Concert in Central Park version)-This might seem like a strange choice, but hear me out. When I was a kid, I used to go to Maine with my Nana and Pop for a few weeks in the summer. I literally lived for those three weeks all year long. I just about crawled out of my seat at the first sight of the ocean on the way there; I can tell you the exact moment you can get a glimpse of the sea on Route 1A. I cried most of the way home silently in the front seat every year. The summer the Concert album came out, I listened to the cassette on my walkman over and over and over again to the point of snapping the tape. If I close my eyes, I can feel the trailer we stayed in, hear the roar of the ocean I relished in while I was supposed to be sound asleep, smell the fragrance of my mom's parents. The song also tells the tale of travel, something everyone should do in the summertime.

4. Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles-Legend has it, George Harrison wrote this song while hanging out with Eric Clapton in his garden. Everyone should be required to listen to this song in early May or so, just as the weather is starting to turn and the summer is blossoming. It is a song of renewal and peace. It brings tears to my eyes. I listened to it the day my daughter came into this world. It will always be one of my favorites.

5. Tenth Avenue Freeze Out by Bruce Springsteen-I am an eastern Pennsylvania girl, from a town bordering Jersey. Springsteen is the only thing in the world that makes me want to be from the Garden State. Hearing this song confirms it. The heat, transistor radio blaring from the open window, being stifled. The song really isn't about summer per se, but it reminds me of being a kid in PA, sitting on the floor of my older brother's room, rifling through his record collection, being amazed with Springsteen, and this song standing out. It's also tremendous live. And I always equate live music with summertime.

I had ten songs jotted down, but the list is in the bedroom where my husband and daughter are currently sleeping. I am going to go join them. Maybe I'll bore you with the other five next time. Go listen to your favorite song and if you feel so inclined, let me know what sounds like summer to you.



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