In one of Bill Cosby’s routines, he says he needs to have his music with him to keep away the monsters. I always liked that line.
I like to have my music with me too. Not just to keep the monsters at bay, but to create a soundtrack for life. Year by year the soundtrack changes so that old songs conjure distinct memories.
This isn’t unique to me. In High Fidelity, Rob organizes his music biographically, sorted by the era in his life he listened to it.
I’ve noticed that recently I don’t compile my soundtrack as much. Listening to the radio while driving used to be when I encountered new tunes. But now I ride the bus. I don’t listen to the radio.
During 2010, when I was out of work was the last time I did that. I was listening to alt rock on Sonic and that summer was excellent. Mother, Mother, Phoenix, Foster the People and Arcade Fire were the soundtrack of my job search.
But two things happened recently that made me think of my sound track. I heard a song and the very first lyrics took me back “Cryin’! Crying over you,”. Platinum Blonde brought me to junior high instantly.
The other was that I bought a book by Robbie Robertson called Rebels, Icons and Legends. It is a children’s book intended to introduce kids to 27 foundational artists in modern music. Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye, Nat King Cole and Patsy Cline. It sent me on a music buying spree. I bought hundreds on tunes by these artists. And I put 54 into a playlist I’ve been listening to constantly since.
It is the opposite of the music, but I know when I hear Georgia on my Mind or God Bless the Child this is the era of my life that will be invoked.
Last week new albums came out by Blue Rodeo (high school and second year university) and Arcade Fire (2010). I’m having a hard time squeezing in getting to know them around my classic playlist. It is possible neither will join my soundtrack. But they might too.
Either way, I’m as excited about what comes next as I am find of what I’ve already heard.