Remember your first love? The summer after graduation? A special college get-together? Your wedding? An epic road trip? I’d bet that for every one of these occasions and dozens more, you have a song that, when you hear it, takes you right back to that moment in your history. It evokes a memory and a feeling and maybe a person. Sometimes it’s a welcome memory, sometimes something you’d rather forget, and sometimes it provokes a good cry. Every time Rick Springfield comes on the radio or TV or pops up in social media, I immediately think of Jen, my best friend, and comrade in all things Rick. We’ve been “Rick’s biggest fans” since sixth grade. His music is good and he’s played in the background of our lives for the past thirty years.
Music often helps us cope. There’s even music therapy! When I’m feeling anxious, overwhelmed, sad, happy, amorous, or even giddy…there’s a song for that. We all have that song (or a few) that when it comes on the radio in your car, the volume goes up and–weather-appropriate–the windows go down, and you’re singing at the top of your voice like you’re Mariah Carey with the piano talent of Billy Joel with a side of Eddie Van Halen’s guitar skills.
When my kids hear “Bohemian Rhapsody” on the car radio, they know what’s coming. It’s one of the best, most recognizable pieces of music ever written, in my opinion, and if you’re in my car, you are required to sing it all-out, including the Wayne’s World, hair band head bang at the appropriate time. Just today as it came on in my car, I said to my offspring, “Mark my words, children. Someday you too will be rocking this out with your kids.” It’s timeless and a whole lot of fun.
When I get really attached to a song, I tend to “over listen”. If it’s on the radio, I’m listening to it. If it’s not on the radio, I’ve purchased it on iTunes so I can listen to it any time the mood strikes me. I’ve been told in harsh tones that once I’ve tuned into the same song several times over that “You’re killing this song for us, Mom!” I’ve successfully killed “Rolling in the Deep,” “Somebody That I Used to Know,” and I’m dangerously close to being responsible for the demise of “Greater” by MercyMe (but it’s so good!)
But there are songs that have really reached deep and are especially meaningful. About three years ago, I was going through the darkest time of my life. I was deeply grieved and adjusting to single parenthood as well as guiding and comforting my children through their own grief. That time of my life was incredibly agonizing and it was also unimaginably valuable. What God taught me during that time about Him and about myself, I just can’t fully express in words. But there was a song that soothed me every time I heard it. I can’t explain exactly why–it wasn’t particularly spiritual. “Good Life” by OneRepublic has that certain something about the melody and the lyrics written about being young and free and although everything isn’t always neat, tidy, and perfect, that it is indeed, a good life. Back in those dismal days of learning and healing, this song would remind me that one day the sun would shine on me again and I’d be happy. It gave me hope. Now, whenever I hear it, it reminds me what I’ve come through, how good God is, and that life is so sweet and precious. It’s become my anthem of sorts.
Pachelbel’s Canon in D might be a surprise amid these other music genres, but it’s something I’ve loved since childhood, way back in my piano lesson days (nine years of lessons, to be precise). It’s one of the most beautiful, perfect pieces of music in existence. That’s how much I adore it. Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly stressed or just need a break to clear my mind, I put this piece on. It can’t be any old version. For me, even though I have a true love of piano, it has to be a symphony version. Something about this music seeps into my bones and infuses peace. When it’s playing, it’s impossible for me to feel anything other than utter appreciation of the sounds and simple peace. I recommend it to anyone who’s feeling stressed or anxious. I dare you to listen to it and let your stress slide off of you.
“And I will fear no evil. You’re my rock and my strength. You comfort me.” Those words make me drop to my proverbial knees and just bask in God. I absolutely love this song by Citizen Way. “How Sweet the Sound” sends me directly into worship mode. I forget my worries and I remember Who really is in control. pain…“Healing in the pain…you restore my soul.” If you haven’t fallen in love with it yet, listen to it. It gives me peace and usually pops up on the radio exactly when I need it to. Thanks, God. You’re so cool like that. You know our every need, even even in a song.
What songs speak (or sing!) to you? What’s your anthem or a song that you like to particularly dwell in and soak up?