Music has a huge presence in my family. We always have music playing in the kitchen, in the living room, in Chan’s playroom or in the car. I think we’ve subscribed to every music service in existence thanks to my husband. And every once in a while a song will come on and just for a moment, it takes my breath away.  Suddenly a flash of a moment in time appears in my mind. I’m instantly swept away to another place and time. Good memories, bad memories, and everything in between. And I realized, that’s my soundtrack.

Chris was a radio DJ when we met in college and I was studying broadcast journalism (see: Emmy).  We were both in broadcasting but had very different ideas about what was “good music.” Chris liked college rock, and cool guy indie stuff.  He enjoyed teasing me (a little too much) because the only CD’s I owned were the soundtrack of Les Miserable, and Janet Jackson’s “That’s The Way Love Goes.” To say my music exposure was limited wouldn’t be fare. In fact I had a wide variety of tastes that range from NWA, to Elvis. I thrived on music in high school because I choreographed cheerleading routines for my squad. Don’t laugh. I was a bad ass cheerleader!

As a result every time I hear the song “Tricky” from Run DMC, I always thinking about the first routine I did in middle school. In fact that’s why I know most of the words to that song to this day. The other night I was leaving a friend’s house after a Rose all day party and clicked on the 90’s channel in my car.

“If you could only see the way she loves me…then maybe you would understand. Why I feel this way about my love, and what I must do. If you could only see how blue, her eyes can be when she says…when she says she loves me.” (Tonic)

And my heart skipped a beat. I was instantly transported to my college dorm, singing that song, wishing someone was singing it about me. I started thinking about every song that comes on and the memories I have attached to them and why I feel the way I do and it made me deeply emotional. It may have also been the Rose, but that’s neither here nor there. I realized the soundtrack of my life would be long, and varied, and would even make Queen Cersi cry.

Music has such a wonderful ability to affect people in different ways and I thought it would be fun to try to list some of the highlights on the soundtrack of my life. Some of these might be on your soundtrack too. Or maybe you have a special song that takes your breath away when you hear it.  Let me know and we can reminisce together. After all with virtually every song at our fingertips there’s no excuse not to play your soundtrack as much as you want.

Here’s my soundtrack in no particular order:

1. “Lightning Crashes” – LIVE

This always makes me think of college. Not because I had a baby or anything but because it was on repeat everywhere I went my freshman year.

2. “No Rain” – Blind Melon

When I first started doing sketch comedy in LA I did a funny parody of this song for a show I was in. To this day it’s one of the pieces I’m most proud of. I remember Chris helped me film it and I ran all over town dressed as the bee girl…an older fatter version of the bee girl.

3. “Kodachrome” – Simon & Garfunkel

I have a very clear memory of my mom belting this at the top of her lungs as we drove around Tulsa. She was so loud and off-key that it took me years to actually figure out what they were saying in the song.

4. “Hit Me Baby One More Time” – Britney Spears

I used to loathe this song because I worked part-time at a radio station after college to make extra money, and they made me play this song constantly. However now it reminds of me a gentler time in pop music and the awesome time I had working my ass off after college. Not much has changed in that department.

5. “The Promise” – Tracy Chapman

I am literally crying as I type this song out. It has two very special memories in my heart. It was the song Chris and I danced to at our wedding and it’s lyrics are haunting, comforting and full of love. But the first time I heard this song was actually on a cross country trip the summer before my sophomore year in college. My friend Nikki played this album for me and I remember thinking, I can’t wait to find someone I love enough to share this song with. And when that time came, I played it for Chris and we knew instantly it was the perfect song for our wedding. Aaanndd now I’m crying again.

6. “All By Myself” – Eric Carmen

Okay, this is more like one of those epic movie moments that I will never forget. Remember that scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary where she belts this out? I still randomly sing this song in my house even though I haven’t been by myself in 20 years.

7. “Jump Around” – House of Pain

You didn’t think these would all be sappy love songs did you? I cannot sit still when this jam comes on. It always reminds me of high school and my days as a faux thug.

8. ” Poor Leno” – Röyksopp

This entire album will always remind of me my newlywed years. Chris and I were living in a 1 bedroom apartment in Tulsa with our cat Moby. The world was rose-colored and we were so care free. Even now I catch my breath just thinking about that time in our lives and what I would say to myself if I could go back in time. Probably something along the lines of, “It’s all going to be okay. You are on the right path. Invest in Apple.”

9. “Sleep to Dream” – Fiona Apple (or any of her songs)

This woman will never know how much of an impact her music has had on my life.  I listened to her album on repeat during the hours long drive I had driving home from my first job as a reporter. I know every word to Tidal, When The Pawn, and Extraordinary Machine. Every song is attached to a moment in time that I can still see in my mind’s eye.

10. “Nuthin But A G Thang” – Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dog

A lot of people don’t know this about me, but I am a huge fan of gangsta rap. I used to know all the words to NWA’s albums and Easy E’s Easy Does It.  Imagine me in my high school cheerleading outfit, rappin to “Automobile” LOL It happened and not a second goes by that I don’t crank this song when I hear it.

11. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” – Elvis

One of my family traditions growing up was listening to the Elvis Christmas album while opening presents.  My mom was a big Elvis fan and as a result, so I am. You’d be hard pressed to find an Elvis song I have heard. But the Christmas songs hold a special place in my heart and memory because it’s something we still do on Christmas morning. Chris pops in the Elvis Christmas album and now I watch my daughter open gifts to his dreamy voice.

12. “Sweet Child O’Mine” – Guns N’ Roses

When I was in middle school I dressed up like Axl Rose for Halloween. Everyone said I looked like him because I had long red hair and apparently manish features. Who knew? I have always had a love of rock, probably stemming from my mom’s love of rock music. And GnR was my jam. I started singing this song to Channing while rocking her to sleep when she was a baby. And I still do sing it to her.

I could keep going with this list until it reaches the hundreds. Music is so powerful that it’s effected every part of my life. In fact I’m listening to music right now as I write this. I haven’t even touched on the music in films that make me think of a certain movie, how old I was when I saw it and where I was. Does music affect your life too? What’s in your soundtrack?