Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Songs I Would Give to My Child - Part 1

I know a lot of people who are having babies this year, and a lot of them are writing letters to their babies throughout their pregnancies. I'm not having a baby this year, but I thought that instead of writing a letter to my future offspring, I would just make him or her (preferably a her unless my husband gives the OK to use the ONE boy name we have picked out b/c it's awesome and I could totally be okay with having a son if we get to name him what I want to name him) a mix CD or two!

I actually made two mixes called Mrs. Leahey's Favorite Bands/Songs for two teen girls a couple years back. It's a long story, but they asked me what my favorite songs were and I totally blanked. Then my husband said, "She listens to the Spice Girls", and I just didn't feel that that one statement was an accurate representation of all the music I enjoy listening to. (Don't get me wrong. I DO like the Spice Girls and CAN NOT WAIT for their UK musical Viva Forever to come to America. Please please please please come to America.)

I decided to use those two mixes as the basis for my own child's mixes. I'm sure my husband will come up with completely different songs to put on a mix for our kid, but these are the songs that I think our kid should know. So there!

1. Singing in My Sleep - Semisonic
I love this song. I love this whole album, actually. But this song in particular stands out to me because it's all about making mixes for people, a life skill we will be teaching our child at an early age, and how you can say so much with the songs you choose.

2. Karaoke Superstars - Superchick
I kind of went through an obsessive Superchick phase my senior year of high school. And with good reason. This album ROCKED my world. The song's message is that no matter what is going on in your life, you can always get in the car, drive, and sing at the top of your lungs!

3. Letter Read - Rachael Yamagata
Rachael Yamagata's first album is one of my favorite EVER. I was torn as to which song I should include on this compilation. I loved "Worn Me Down", but "Letter Read" has a great sound, and it might be something my future daughter needs to listen to if ever she finds herself on the other end of unrequited love.

4. Something Beautiful - Robbie Williams
There are many Robbie Williams songs that I love. I mean seriously. LOVE. His entire first album. Most of the second album. The swing album. And even some of his newer stuff. But stuck in the middle of his discography is "Something Beautiful," a song that reminds you that even if you're lonely, even if everyone around you is happy, some day "something beautiful will come your way."

5. Misery Business - Paramore
Speaking of appropriate, my husband vetoed this song on the mixes I made for those teen girls because the song says the word "whore" in it. But that is not a word banned by the FCC. I'm leaving it for my own child. But it has to be the acoustic version because I like that one the best. This song has a good sound, and Hayley Williams has an awesome voice.

6. I Never Really Loved You Anyway - The Corrs
I was going to use the song "Queen of Hollywood," but felt that the song might be a bit too dark: girl makes it big in Hollywood but ends up in abusive relationships and can't tell anyone about it because she's living her "dream". I do love it, though. Instead, I decided to go with one of my other favorite Corrs songs about a girl who is NOT at all upset that her boyfriend is leaving and dating someone else. Move on, mister. I DON'T NEED YOU. You never know. My future daughter might need this song some day.

7. Runaway Run - Hanson
As much as I (eventually came to) love Hanson's Middle of Nowhere, I thought my future child might laugh at me if they heard "MMMBop". So I went with a song from Hanson's second album, the one that had crack in it because that's the only explanation I can come up with for why I listened to that CD every day after school and daydreamed about listening to that album every day at school. I think it's important for my child to know how much of an impact Hanson had on my life. And that if you add the names Zachary and Laurie, you get a perfect compatibility score. Or so says the Unofficial Zac Hanson Biography.

8. Different Drum - Linda Ronstadt
I wanted to use "Long, Long Time", which I love, but I figured I should give my child, especially if that child is a girl, a stronger song. This one says that "yeah, you're a nice guy, but no thanks. I'ma do my own thang."

9. A Lifetime - Better Than Ezra
This is such an epic song. And it's really very hard to pick just one Better Than Ezra song to give to my child. But I figure, this is the kind of song that you can sing out loud in the car with your friends, and I want my child to have that kind of song.

10. Fa Fa - Guster
My friend Teresa and I had tickets to see John Mayer in concert a few weeks before college started. Due to car troubles, we ended up getting to the concert a little late. We parked the car and were walking alone at night up to the Fox Theatre in St. Louis when a man passed us on the sidewalk and said, "Don't be afraid. I don't have a knife." So then we ran to the Fox Theatre. Alone. At night. In St. Louis.

We safely made it to our seats, and THANK GOODNESS because Guster was playing at that very moment. Neither of us knew who Guster was, but we instantly loved them. So much so that I bought a Guster T-shirt from the merch table. And I wore it to college thinking, "I'm so cool in my Guster shirt. I bet no one else knows who Guster is." Everyone knew who Guster was and had the same shirt as me. So...

I chose "Fa Fa" because it has horns in it and you can't go wrong with horns. Although, you can if you don't use the horns live in concert (ahem, Guster, ahem). A good song has three things: piano, harmony, and brass. If my child doesn't like brass, we're taking him or her back.

11. The Con - Tegan & Sara
I discovered Tegan & Sara right before going to college. (I discovered a lot of good music right before college, it seems.) They were performing on some show on Oxygen, and I wrote down their names so that I could look them up and find their music. But then I lost the piece of paper where I had written their names, and all I remembered was that they were Canadian twins. Somehow (probably with the help of Google) I figured out who they were and proceeded to inhale every song they'd ever written and recorded. Some of my favorites: "Monday Monday Monday" and "Living Room". I didn't choose either of those songs because at the time that I burned this CD, I didn't have those songs. Alas, I lost my Tegan & Sara music from college. No clue where it went. BUT, thanks to Rhapsody, we now have those songs again, so I would seriously consider changing "The Con" (even though it is good) to "Monday Monday Monday", even though the songs says "damn" in it. But you know what? This ain't no Kidz Bop. That's not how this mom rolls.

On a side note: This one time, when I was studying abroad in England, I saw a magazine that had Tegan & Sara on the cover, and I totally flipped. No one ever put T&S on the cover in the U.S.!! No one else seemed to know T&S existed in the U.S.! So I bought the magazine, super psyched to read about these really cool sisters. (JANE magazine later did something on them, and I emailed the editors to thank them for it because "it rocked my socks off". The JANE editors responded with "You rock our socks off!" I miss JANE.) The next day, the guy I was dating at the time went into the shop where I purchased the magazine and the guy behind the counter goes, "Did you know your girlfriend purchased a lesbian magazine?" So then the guy I was dating told me about this, and I was like "Uh, I didn't realize it was a lesbian magazine and who really cares? Why is the shop guy getting all up in my magazine biz-nitch?" Side side note: Tegan & Sara are lesbians.

12. Jolene - Dolly Parton
If my future child doesn't like Dolly Parton, we're taking he or she back. That's all I have to say about that.

13. Spice Up Your Life - Spice Girls
Sometimes you just need a song that you can dance to. A song that doesn't require too much thinking. A song that's just plain fun. A song that's all about GIRL POWER. I'm not sure if I would still put this song on a mix for a son, but you know what? He needs to learn about GIRL POWER, too.

14. Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand
And here's another band I discovered right before college. I love the crunchy sound of the guitars in this song. It's fun. You can dance to it. I could put it on repeat and never get tired of hearing it. I'm pretty sure I'll blast this through the headphones I put on my belly for the baby to listen to instead of Mozart.

15. Glory of Love - New Found Glory
Don't get wrong. I heart Peter Cetera. But the New Found Glory version of this song? SO GOOD. It sparked in me an interest to turn everything into a punk rock cover song, including Mary Poppins' "Sister Suffragette", which I still hope to do someday. ("Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they're raaaaaather stooooopid." GUITARGUITARGUITAR) Maybe I can convince my child(ren) to play guitar and then my punk rock cover band dreams can come true. Like a punk rock Von Trapp family: "You will play punk rock and you will do it while wearing curtains!!"

16. A Song is Not a Business Plan - The Rocket Summer
Actually, this is not the song I want to give my children. It's the song I gave to the teen girls I made this CD for because I didn't want to get all preachy gospel on them. But for my own kids, yeah, bring on the Jesus rock. Pretty much anything off of Do You Feel, my favorite being "So In This Hour", and I could also go with "Roses", "Hills and Valleys", or "Walls" off of Of Men and Angels. But really, it's probably going to be "Light", my all-time favorite The Rocket Summer song (at least until I hear the album that came out last year, which I still don't have. MIKE GET ON THAT!)

17. Get Better - Mates of State
I put this song on the mix that I made for the teen girls because it has an awesome sound. But honestly, I think for my own kid, I've got to go a little deeper. And I was really bummed that I completely forgot to put one specific song on the mix for the teen girls. So this is my chance to remedy that so I don't screw it up for my own kid. That one song would be Janis Ian's "At Seventeen". Okayokayokay I know it's kind of lame. And it was used in the movie Mean Girls as both the name of a character (Janis Ian) and as background music in one scene. But before all of that, I discovered this song in high school, literally when I was 17, thanks to borrowing The Rolling Stones Women in Rock CD collection from the library. The second verse of the song is kind of "eh", but the first verse and the chorus: speak to me, Janis! The song also inspired a fake feature in a fake magazine that I made for my friend Teresa called "At Seventeen: We know what Janis Ian learned at seventeen. What did you learn?" Oh man, and guess what number this song is on the list? 17!!!!!

18. Ladies' Choice - Mandy Moore
I think I like this song so much because it was written by Rachael Yamagata (see above). That lady can write some songs! You're probably thinking, "Mandy Moore? Really?" But her Wild Hope album was REALLY GOOD. I like this song because it's about the end of a relationship and the girl is like, "You know? We're over and let's just move on. Cheers." But I also like "Few Days Down" because it's all about how sometimes you just need a few days to be alone, eat take-out, and cry. I feel like my (surely) emo teen might need to hear that.

19. Sadie Hawkins Dance - Relient K
Speaking of Jesus rock, of course my child will be into Relient K. "Sadie Hawkins Dance" actually has nothing to do with Jesus, but it is a funny song about a guy getting asked to the Sadie Hawkins Dance at school and wearing khaki pants. "There's nothing better/ Baby, do you like my sweater?"

20. The Middle - Jimmy Eat World
Probably the most important song on this mix. I loved this song in high school. I loved it in college. I love it still to this day. And the music video is just so awesome. All the kids are at a party and taking off their clothes. Two other kids show up and start to take off their clothes, and then they realize THIS IS STUPID AND EVERYONE HERE LOOKS DUMB. So they put their clothes back on and leave. Basically, you don't have to do what everyone else says. Who cares if they talk about you? "Just be yourself/ It doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else" I hope that this song can be as helpful to my future children as it was to me.

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