Things in History that happened on August 28th (from Wikipedia):
475 – The Roman general Orestes forces western Roman Emperor Julius Nepos to flee his capital of Ravenna and appoints his own son Romulus Augustus in his place.
1565 – St. Augustine, Florida, established. It is the oldest surviving settlement in the European United States.
1845 – Scientific American magazine publishes its first issue.
1850 – Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin premieres in Weimar, Germany.
1884 – First known photograph of a tornado is made.
1898 – Caleb Bradham renames his carbonated soft drink “Pepsi-Cola”.
1907 – UPS is founded by James E. Casey in Seattle, Washington.
1917 – Ten suffragists are arrested when picketing the White House.
1963 – During a 200,000-person civil rights rally in at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Martin Luther King, Jr. gives his famous I have a dream speech.
1964 – The Beatles met Bob Dylan for the first time.
1965 – Bob Dylan was booed off the stage at Forest Hills Stadium in New York for playing an electric guitar.
1984 – Taylor was born!
Yes, friends, today I turn 22. To celebrate, I’m posting 22 songs that I a) really like, b) consider to be a kind of theme song, c) feel a strong connection to, or d) all of the above. Without further ado, here they are, in no particular order. Onward!
1: Beastie Boys: “She’s Crafty” (download)
My freshman year of high school, I had a huge crush on a guy who liked the Beastie Boys, which is how I started listening to them. Shortly thereafter I decided this should be my theme song (“the girl is crafty like ice is cold / the girl is crafty / she knew all the moves / I started playin’ records / and she knew all the grooves.”) Later I realized that the girl in the song was “a bum” who slept with one of the guys and stole his stuff. After that I thought it might be kind of weird to have it as a theme song.
2: Bruce Springsteen: “Red Headed Woman (Live)” (download)
When I was younger, I was always upset because girls’ clothing stores would make cutesy t-shirts with slogans about blondes and brunettes on them, but never about redheads. Now that’s ok, because I’d rather have a Springsteen song about how hot redheads are than a t-shirt. (Later Urban Outfitters had this shirt and yes, I did buy it — but if forced to choose, it’d obviously be the song.)
3: Bruce Springsteen: “Secret Garden” (download)
I’ve always been (and most likely always will be) a “heart on my sleeve” kind of person. To me, anything else just wastes time, and being the busy-body that I am, wasting time is something I avoid as often as possible. That said, even though I’m usually pretty open and honest, and I don’t hesitate as often as I possibly should to let people into my life, like with anyone else, there are still parts of me that very few see or know about (and I often consider those the best parts of myself). This song is about exactly that.
4: Billy Joel: “Stiletto” (download)
As you’ll quickly come to find out, there are a handful of songs that I connect to, not because I feel that they repesent me exactly, but because they represent a kind of person I want(ed) to be, or because they represent what I consider(ed) an idealized version of me. Most of these songs come from high school, a period of vast insecurities – except this one. Yes, this song is incredibly misogynistic, and thus on a superficial level, an incredibly weird song for me to feel any kind of connection to. I came across this song at a time in my life where I felt that I was being treated really badly by the opposite sex. I immediately latched onto this song, because I liked the idea of a woman who did to men what I felt they were doing to me. I still listen to it whenever some jerk is getting me down.
5: The Candy Butchers: “Dogmatic” (download)
Most of my connection to this song comes in the first couple lines: “you’ve got to just get to know her / she’s not so bad / maybe in time / she’ll feel like one of yours.” Ok, so that part is a bit sad, perhaps, but I’ve always considered myself a kind of acquired taste. I’ve never really been the kind of person who makes friends (or lovers, hah!) instantly (thought that’s changing somewhat over the years), so I’ve always thought that if people were willing to give me more of a chance, things would turn out great for me. That first line is then followed by: “what I can do / she does better,” which I also like, for obvious reasons.
6: Cat Stevens: “Hard Headed Woman” (download)
When I first heard this song, I felt that I was the kind of woman he was singing about. In a lot of ways, I still do.
7: Chicago: “When You’re Good To Mama (Queen Latifah Version)” (download)
My senior year at Hofstra, I occasionally took on a somewhat self-serving attitude. Not because I’m so self-centered, but because I felt like I had spent three years of college doing things that other people wanted me to. Like a lot of people in their last year of college, I’m sure, I decided that I was going to really enjoy my last year, and in that vein, I decided I wasn’t going to put up with anything that had little to no forseeable benefits. I still listen to this whenever I’m feeling like I’m hot shit.
8: Death Cab For Cutie: “Title Track” (download)
I remember exactly where I was when I heard this song for the first time. It was in 2000, during Seattle’s annual Labor Day spectacular, Bumbershoot!. I had just left a Tower Records CD display where I had debated between buying the new Polecat album and Death Cab’s We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes (I chose the Polecat album). My mother and I went to the EMP, where they had a listening section of bands from the Pacific Northwest, and We Have The Facts… was one of the albums you could listen to. I put on the headphones, listened to “Title Track,” and bought the album immediately afterwards. It was all I needed to hear to know that I would love this band, this album. For the longest time, I had in my mind an idea of what I thought the perfect band would sound like. We Have The Facts (especially “Title Track”) was that sound. It was the first Death Cab song I ever heard, and for these reasons, still my number one favorite song of theirs (and probably ever, really).
9: Don Henley: “All She Wants To Do Is Dance” (download)
A lot of my music taste comes from my mother. My mother plays this song fairly often, and whenever she does, we usually run about singing and/or dancing. This summer, while in Europe, I somehow cultivated a reputation on both of my tours for being the girl willing to go out and dance at any time, and because of this, was usually chosen to be first on the dance floor. So one could say this song is still very apt.
10: The Doors: “You’re Lost Little Girl” (download)
What’s funny about my feeling connected to this song is the fact that anyone who knows me really well knows that I absolutely despise being called “kid” (particularly by anyone whose age is close to mine). I know, I know, it’s usually used as a term of endearment, but to me it will always sound condescending. For that reason, I also hate being called “baby,” “babe” or anything denoting extreme youth. This is also because these terms tend to imply a certain amount of naÃ¯veness or unawareness. What makes it okay to me when Jim Morrisson does it is that he acknowledges that the woman he is singing about knows what she has to do to make things right for her, she’s just not doing it, or admitting it to herself – which is much more my style. Similarly, the only person I know who ever calls me “kid” in a way that I don’t mind is my friend Andy, who’s always known that about me.
11: Fleetwood Mac: “Rhiannon” (download)
I’ve always considered myself a pretty independent, free-spirited person, and this represents that. It also vouches for the fact that I’ve always wanted to have a bit of mystery to me but, alas – instead I write an MP3 blog and put it all out there like the “heart on my sleeve” person that I actually am.
12: Hall & Oates: “You Make My Dreams” (download)
For a long time now, I’ve insisted that there are two types of cheesy: good cheesy and bad cheesy. Hall & Oates are good cheesy. Very good cheesy. For some reason, whenever I hear this song, I picture myself jumping around in cute underwear and singing this to the as of yet faceless ideal man in my life. That’s right, men, see what awaits you if you scoop me up?
13: Jimmy Buffett: “Son Of A Son Of A Sailor” (download)
When I was younger, I had a weird love for men with mustaches. Looking back now, I know it’s probably because in almost every picture of my father I’ve seen, he has one. Many things/people I liked when I was young were marked by this Freudian love of mustaches: Randy Johnson & the Seattle Mariners, James Hetfield & Metallica, Tom Selleck & the movie Three Men and a Baby, and Jimmy Buffett. Don’t get the wrong impression, though – I didn’t like any of these things solely because of a mustache presence, there were other reasons, too. Jimmy Buffett is loved by pretty much everyone in my family. And why not? Beaches, drinks, cheeseburgers, love, sailors, pirates: what’s not to like?! With this song, it’s the first couple verses that really do it for me (because the second half makes much less sense).
14: Jennifer Lopez: “My Love Don’t Cost A Thing” (download)
I put this song on a mix CD that I took with me on a trip to France my junior year of High School. I quickly became known for singing to it, and thus one of my nicknames was born: Tay-Lo. During Spring Break this year, I revisited this with a karaoke performance at a gay bar in Seattle. By the end of the song, they were chanting my name. Really. I have witnesses.
15: Jason Robert Brown: “I Can Do Better Than That” (download)
My cousin introduced me to this, so it’s a bit of a family anthem. Because we can (and will) do better than that (whatever “that” happens to be).
16: Les Miserables: “In My Life” (download)
Before this was Joey Potter’s song, this was my song. When I was younger, it was my favorite song from my favorite musical. I mastered it on the piano, and I would listen to and sing it whenever my fragile young heart was broken, and even when it wasn’t. Then Joey Potter & “Dawson’s Creek” stole it. Bitch. [edit: ok, so I messed up, I meant to post “On My Own,” but I wrote this at 4am, so I posted “In My Life” instead. Oops.]
17: The Long Winters: “It’ll Be A Breeze” (download)
The first part of my sophomore year of college was one of the most difficult times in my life that I can remember. I was having potentially friendship-ending fights with three of my best friends (over really stupid things, which made it worse), I started dating a guy who I had liked for most of the year — and then he dumped me after two weeks, I didn’t like most of my classes and was starting to question whether or not I should be in journalism, and all the while in the background, we were headed into fall and winter, my least favorite seasons. I’m still not completely sure how I got through that time without antidepressants.
18: Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz: “Deja Vu” (download)
I don’t care what you have to say about this song, because this is one of my favorite rap songs of all time. Can you picture an 8th grade girl in Seattle running around, rapping to a song about New York? I can’t explain why I liked it then, but I know why I love it now. Perhaps I knew where I was going long before I really knew.
19: Smokey Joe’s Cafe: “Trouble” (download)
Not only do my cousin and I both like this song, making it another family anthem of sorts, but we used to put on shows and sing it together. Seriously. I imagine it was pretty adorable. Did I mention that I’m one tough broad?
20: Peter Parker: “Fade Without” (download)
As I’ve mentioned previously, Peter Parker is the reason why I’m not still listening to mainstream alternative rock a la Linkin Park and Staind. This is the last song on their darkly brilliant sophomore album, Semiautobiographical. I honestly can’t explain what it was in this song that I connected to during my senior year of high school, but I listened to it almost every day, and absolutely considered it my theme song. At one of their shows, the band dedicated it to me, and that was probably the happiest day of my high school years (not counting graduation). I don’t listen to it nearly as often now, though it’s much more appropriate for the current me than the high school me, which is kind of frightening.
21: White Stripes: “Ball And Biscuit” (download)
Going back to that whole “if people gave me more of a chance, things would be great for me” idea, I love the lines “right now you could care less about me / but soon enough you will care, by the time I’m done,” and how Jack White says them with such certainty and cockiness. This is another song I listen to when I’m feeling like I’m hot shit, or when I need to pump myself up for something.
22: Two Gallants: “Steady Rollin'” (download)
I tried not to repost anything that’s been on here before (which is why Harvey Danger isn’t on here), but this bears repeating. A fitting closer, because it’s the most current theme song on this list, the closest you’ll get to knowing the current version of me in a song.
BUT IT’S NOT OVER YET!…
The Beatles: “Birthday” (download)
Whenever my mother calls someone on their birthday, she starts the call with playing this song and singing along to it. With it, I wish a Happy Birthday to the other people who I share August 28th with (also from Wikipedia):
1749 – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and scientist (d. 1832)
1828 – Leo Tolstoy, Russian writer (d. 1910)
1925 – Donald O’Connor, American singer, dancer, and actor (d. 2003)
1942 – Sterling Morrison, American guitarist (The Velvet Underground) (d. 1995)
1952 – Rita Dove, former U.S. poet laureate
1957 – Daniel Stern, American actor
1958 – Scott Hamilton, American figure skater
1968 – Billy Boyd, Scottish actor
1969 – Jason Priestley, Canadian actor
1969 – Jack Black, American actor and musician
1971 – Todd Eldredge, American figure skater
1971 – Janet Evans, American swimmer
1943 – Lou Piniella, baseball manager
The Kingsmen: “Louie, Louie” (download)
In that vien, I’d like to take a moment to wish a Happy Birthday to former Mariners Manager, Lou Pinella. A scrappy man who isn’t afraid to get angry and throw bases, kick hats and/or cover homeplate in dirt. Only a select few have seen me get that angry (and it usually involves me throwing and kicking my purse), but, yeah, I’d say there’s a connection.
This concludes our celebration. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.