Monday, August 13, 2007

Turn it up

So the other day I was being ultra-cool and listening to Fleetwood Mac as I drove to the grocery store. I know, I know, such hipness as I cannot be looked upon by mere mortals.

Seriously, though, I do like FM. I like all kinds of music. The hubs and I have recently been yeing, of all things, a set of Time-Life CDs, a country music collection with lots of 70s/80s stuff like Crystal Gayle (my parents loved her), Kenny Rogers, Eddie Rabbit of all people, etc. And we want it. As Anna J said, it's what all the hip thirtysomethings are buying these days (this hip thritysomething, btw, turned 34 on Saturday, woe is me.)

FM always makes me think of a friend of mine, whose personal theme song is "Gypsy". And it suits her. And so now, when I hear it, I think of her.

I've always used music to help define my characters, although I haven't been as good with it of late. I even have one or two characters who don't have a theme song, which is odd to me because that's where they used to come from.

Part of it may simply be that music isn't as available here. The radio is a joke. And THEY TALK OVER THE MUSIC, which I HATE with a passion. No radio station can even pretend to be any good when the DJ keeps interrupting the songs to prattle on about his garden or, even worse, sing along. Which I'm sad to say is not unusual here. When I was growing up none of the stations dared to do such things; it was a huge advertising point. KSHE 95 and KS 94 both ran ads, for years, about how they never talked over the music. And they didn't. Which was good.

But I've never really had a theme song of my own. Over the years I've had different songs that speak to me, that say something important. Songs that make me feel a certain way or remember certain things.

Perhaps this is part of my problem. So many songs have so many memories attached to them these days, and as time goes on those memories grow more and more bittersweet until the sweet is all gone. So many bands I used to love, so many CDs I practically wore out, that instead of filling me with the joy and optimism they once did now only make me think of lost opportunities and broken friendships and times I made an ass out of myself.

But it still bothers me, that there's no song that defines me. There's no song that I listen to and think "This is the statement I want to make about myself, these are the lyrics that could have sprung from my own head, written about my own life."

So what's your personal theme song? Or one of your friends? Why don't you have one, if you don't?


writtenwyrdd said...

Can't say I've ever had a personal theme song, either. Some songs resonate at certain times, but then things change and there ya go, no more song.

Mark Henry said...

I don't think I have one, either. Ms. Feral, my character from Happy Hour, does: Destroy Everything You Touch by Ladytron.

My wife and I have an "our song", which is kind of weird: Getting Away with It by Electronic.

And when I think of my wife, I think of the Cocteau Twins, Carolyn's Fingers.

You make me say odd things, Ms. Quinn. Why do you do this?

Anonymous said...

I don't have a song. I go through phases where I am particularly enamoured of a certain tune; right now it's Paralyzer by Finger 11.

The Man and I didn't have music and dancing at our wedding, mostly for genre reasons, so we never had to pick a song for us either.

I think theme songs are overrated. They aren't required, and if we do have a particular song that speaks to us for a moment in time, it's only for a moment.

pacatrue said...


Stacia said...

Yeah, written, it seems that way for me too. They come and go.

Ha ha, Mark. It's a combination of witchcraft, my evil magnetism, and revenge for your crush on Jackie. Muahahaha!

I don't think they're required, Seeley, but the tidiness appeals to me. We had music at ours--I wrote a very specific list, mostly the Beatles, the Stones, and a string of 80s stuff. Because "Chinese Rocks" would not have been appropriate.

You're damn right, Paca.

Anonymous said...

Funny this post, because I'm planning to buy an external hard drive to speed up my laptop (and yanno, these says 20GB is laughable) so I'm going through my music and making "soundtracks" for certain projects. One book is all sad songs, and sappy 80s love songs. One is mostly hard rock and female singers. One is a lots of techno, classical and generally music that is a step away from human (anything with a very audible vocals, where I can tell what they are singing is "human"). But me? I more have a soundtrack than a theme song. Songs that just fit moods

Angie said...

There seem to be people who are really into music and people who aren't. I'm an "aren't" and when people I know online talk about how significant a piece of music is to their whatever, or how this or that character has a theme song, or when they post sound tracks for their story, I just sort of watch with this bemused expression on my face. I get that the music is significant to them, but if I don't know the song and have never heard of the artist then it has no significance for me.

We had two songs played at our wedding, one while we walked up at the beginning and one while we walked back after the ceremony was over. My husband chose one he really liked and my best friend (a very musical person) chose the other, after having hauled me over to her house to listen to music for the wedding. I don't remember what either of the songs were, nor do I remember whether my husband's favorite was played at the beginning or the end. [ducks and hides]

I do like music; I just don't focus on it. I don't remember it. I might remember a scrap of a song I heard and liked but I won't remember what it was called or who played it. If I'm lucky I'll remember what movie a song was from, if it was part of a sound track. That's about as far as I go, though, and when a writer says that their story or character has a theme song, I just smile and nod and go on to the reading, because chances are that song doesn't ring any bells at all in my head. I realize I'm missing something here but there's not much I can do about it. [smile/shrug]


McKoala said...

Anything by Prefab Sprout (pre-Jordan - the Comeback, of course - what were they thinking?). Ah, the agonising years.

'true - you think?

December, I seem to remember being told years ago that the talking-over-the-music thing was actually a calculated ploy to put people off illegally taping songs from the radio.

Bernita said...

We are multi-faceted, December, and we grow and change.
How could a single song ever encapsul that?
Certinly there are songs that speak to mood and memory and moment, but the idea of cramming a real individual ( as opposed to a fictional one) into a single theme appalls me for some reason.

Anonymous said...

You nailed it about so many songs bringing back so many emotions. I'm like that too. Some make me happy, some make me sad.

If there isn't one to suit you, write one yourself -you're a writer and who knows you better?

What else could my song be but Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf? Unfortunately the shackles went on me at the ripe young age of 16 (when I met my wife), now my song is Here I Go Again by Whitesnake. :~( -V95

Stacia said...

I used to think of doing soundtracks for different projects, Michele, but then I realized I pretty much listen to the same things no matter what I'm writing. A few shorter projects have specific soundtracks--I wrote a novella set in Miami with an all-Spanish cast and I listened to a lot of Spanish music and classical guitar for that one--but in general it's the same songs on the iPod no matter what. :-)

See, I remember music really well, Angie, and especially lyrics, but music's never been as important to me as some people. Although I do wonder if my impression of the importance is biased by the fact that I used to hang around with so many musicians, for whom music was life. The hubs and I were talking about this last night; he wants to play guitar and I'm so not into the idea. After years and years of living with constant music and spending large portions of my days off haunting various records stores, it's nice not to deal with it.

Stacia said...

Oh, that wouldn't surprise me, McKoala, but I still think it sucks. Especially these days, when there's so little need to worry about stuff being recorded off the radio. To me it's like a library marking up their books so people won't photocopy the pages.

Good point, Bernita. A long soundtrack for our lives would probably be very interesting--but way too time-consuming a project. I don't think the song encapsulates my friend, I think it just speaks to her, and has for a long time. :-)

Lol V95. Did you see Old School? The hubs--sadly out of touch musically, having grown up over here in England--couldn't understand why I started giggling the minute that song started to play.
It's such a Man Song. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's a bad song, just that it's so specifically male.

Camille Alexa said...

I'm kind of like Angie, in that I like music but don't focus on it(though nothing can drive me to distracted frustration like somebody else's crappy music on full blast--seriously, it's a hideous form of pollution).

-BUT- I can be very moved by music--completely swept up in it (coming immediately to mind; stuff by Tom Waits, Chet Baker, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, The Clash, old Black Sabbath, Puccini...should I confess here that "Rocky Raccoon usually has me leaping around the house pantomiming shoot-outs and singing at the top of my lungs? I flatter myself the dogs enjoy it immensely.

-BUT- I love music in the background while I'm performing physical tasks. NOT writing; cleaning, sorting clothes, cooking, painting walls/furniture, etc.

Sorry. Short answer: no theme song to speak of. Why, are we choosing them now?

Unknown said...

For the longest time my personal theme song was Aimee Mann's Save Me, but eventually I grew up and got over myself. :) Found a much more fitting anthem in Kim Richey's A Place Called Home, which I honestly thought would hold out 'til the day I died. That all changed when I met my sweetie though and right now we "share" Lifehouse's Everything. Still, being the pathological loner that I am, I crave a song of my own and am currently on the lookout for a new one...

Anonymous said...

I can't work while listening to music. It's too distracting, so I don't think of my characters in terms of songs. If I did, I'd spend all my time singing the songs in my head, and no time writing.

Never thought of myself in terms of a song, either. I'm kind of a music dork. I know what I like: nofx, the Ataris, sum41, that band that does the awesome punk-ass cover of the theme from Cheers. Early Tragically Hip, before they got all cerebral. Jimi Hendrix, Tony Bennett, Harry Connick Jr., but NOT Michael Buble. Nigel Kennedy and Itzak Perlman. Anything by Dvorak or Saint Seans. I know what I like when I hear it, but I don't follow anyone, or even own any CDs, other than classical. And now that both our vehicles have tape decks, we're SOL when it comes to driving, the only time I really want something good to listen to.


BernardL said...

I agree with Bernita. We change, and our tastes change with the years. I have a theory, due to my anecdotal knowledge of friends and family. The only people I know, fixated on one band or song, are usually hung up in the exact same stage of their life. Please, no hate mail, it's just an observation. :)

EA Monroe said...

I like and enjoy a lot of different music, but I'll always favor John Lennon's Imagine. I'm a dreamer after all.

Serena said...

I don't really have a theme song. There are so many songs that remind me of moments in time and, in their own way, they were all special.

Stacia said...

Yes, Camille, we're choosing them now. You must decide. :-)

I actually enjoy books on tape in the background when I'm doing stuff like that. But it has to be a book I've already read. topic...

Hi Catie! Yes, they do change, don't they? I know for a little while on the cusp of my 20s I had "Hellflower" by Mary's Danish. But I haven't even listened to it in years. Sigh. Nice that you share one with someone!

Sometimes I listen to music while I work, kis, sometimes I don't. Mostly I don't. Hee Nofx! I practically wore out my copy of "White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean" back in the day. Along with a lot of Samiam and Op Ivy, round about that same time. Funny how we seem to listen to stuff in groups, isn't it?

I suppose that's true for some, Bernard, I certainly wouldn't attack you for saying it. :-) I do think in my friend's case it reminds her of her past, I don't think she's fixated on anything.

Ha! Thank you ea! That's a good one!

Funny how music can be so evocative in that, isn't it Serena? Takes you right back to what life you were living when it was on the radio all the time/you listened to it all the time/you first heard it, whatever.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Hi! Bet you thought I died or something!

I woke up to this email:

Dear Ms. De Vienne:

I greatly enjoyed Pixie Warrior. Thank you for submitting it. If you are still interested in publication through Drollerie Press, I will send you our agreement for your review.


Deena Fisher

Drollerie Press

All I have to say is: Oh! Finally!

Thanks for your past encouragement!

Stacia said...

OMG!!!!!!! OMG Sha'el! That is so awesome, congratulations!!!

Rhian said...

i wanna be sedated by the ramones. sorry. you asked.