A few months ago, I got a new car and I feel a little silly saying it, but my favorite thing is the trial account of XM Satellite. The best channels are 80's on 8 and 90's on 9, and I toggle between the two stations losing myself in the memories the songs from those decades brings back.
I'm sharing a handful of songs here that I'll love and sing forever. These aren't in any particular order, because I love them all for very different reasons. Enjoy!
Hysteria by Def Leppard
Doesn't everyone love this song? With the opening notes on the guitar, I'm transported immediately to high school, when I didn't have a worry in the world, even though I thought I did (to my teenage self: I apologize for telling you your butt was big. I didn't even know).
I remember driving the drag in my hometown for hours and hours, windows down, no seat belts, hanging out the windows, yelling out to our friends as our cars passed over and over and over.
My oldest son, now the age I was for those drag-driving shenanigans, is a bit of an old soul, and has always loved 80's music. A few years ago - when he was 12 - Def Leppard came to Austin for part of their concert tour, and my son begged to go.
It was an odd, but incredible, experience going back in time with the sounds of my teenage life, and sharing that with the people from my grown-up life (my husband, and especially my son). Everyone around us commented on how cool it was that our son knew most of the words to most of the songs they played.
Hysteria brings all these memories to me: those of being young, and of my son - a cool kid with great taste in music - hanging out with his parents before he became a teenager and kicked us to the curb.
No One Is To Blame by Howard Jones
This was a fairly popular song in the mid-80's, but not terribly so. Still, this song is one of my all-time favorites.
As soon as I hear the first few music-box-type notes, my stomach drops a bit, and I almost feel like I'm choking back tears for a brief moment. It reminds me of young love - my very first love, in fact. It reminds me of when everything was perky and in its upright position. It reminds me of rainy nights, Polo cologne, and making out in the back seat of a white 4-door sedan with blue velour interior.
It reminds me of what I just knew in my heart was forever, but couldn't possibly have been.
More Than a Feeling by Boston
Aah, Boston. The band to end all bands. When I hear this song, I see me - thin and tan, of course - driving my white Ford Mustang, windows down, my spiral perm blowing this way and that.
In the passenger seat was my best friend, Kim, also a redhead, and also Boston's biggest fan.
I see us driving too fast - bare feet on the pedals - out to the lake on a weekend afternoon, the cassette tape blaring Boston over and over, no seat belts, wine coolers in the floorboard of the back seat, then "acting cool" when cops passed us.
I see us driving down a dirt road one night, my car full of girls who'd all told their parents we were sleeping at one another's house, planning to- what? Sleep in my car? Drive around all night? I don't remember.
I do remember my car breaking down at 2 a.m. that night, and the only person we could call was my dad, who came to pick us up, no questions asked, and no tattling to the other parents.
I remember going to my friend's house when his parents were away, sitting in the living room in a circle with maybe seven or eight other friends, watching them pass a joint to each other after taking a hit of their own, and then passing it right across me, knowing I wouldn't partake, and not even thinking to pressure me to.
Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin
This song brings me sweet memories of my mom when she was younger. I remember her cooking dinner with a cigarette burning nearby, Bobby McGee cranked up, and my mom singing every word.
Janis Joplin was my mom's favorite, and I could tell by the way she sang along with the radio, the music was taking her back to when she was a teenager.
Bobby McGee is my go-to karaoke song, and I don't mind telling you: I sound just like Janis Joplin when I sing it. One time, a group of friends went out for karaoke and beers, and I took to the stage and freakin nailed it.
When I came back to my seat, I looked at Mark and said, "I rocked that song, huh?" He sort-of waggled his head side to side a bit and made a "meh," sound. Seriously: he did that.
It's Friday I'm In Love by The Cure
I get tangled up in a mixture of emotions with this one. In the early 90's, I was in a long-term relationship with a guy who - I didn't realize until I was too far in - suffered serious mental issues, and would end up taking his own life years after he and I had gone our separate ways.
But when our love was new, we'd hole ourselves up in his apartment and listen to his favorite band, The Cure. I wasn't a huge fan of the band or of that alternative-type music - "punk music" I called it (did we all call it that, or was it just me?)
Hearing this song stirs happy feelings of a fresh, new relationship, the giddiness of falling in love, all twisted up with feelings of sadness for the battles playing out in the head of my boyfriend. Feelings of regret for the loss of friendships I let him slowly and methodically peel from my life. Friendships that, even to this day, I miss.
Here's why I will forever love this song, even though some of the emotions it brings back aren't all bunnies and rainbows: it's because it reminds me that I'm always in control of the types of relationships I'll allow in my life.
It reminds me of the people who stood by me through the dark days that surrounded this period of my life; and of the people who I reached out to later on, and were right where I'd left them, ready to help me pick up the pieces of myself and put me back together.
But mostly this song - like all the others on this list - makes me feel young again, and like I still have time to do all the things I want to do while I'm here.
What are your favorites? Tell me in the Comments below.