Sunday, February 4, 2018

Soundtrack of Life

Coming of age signifies that moment in your life when you get to make at least some of your own decisions. Granted they are not always the best decisions, but that's part of the journey. I came of age during the 1980's. The decade of big glasses, big hair, tight leather pants, bandanas and jackets with upturned collars.

One of the decisions that I was finally be able to make was what music I wanted to listen to.  No longer did I have to listen to my mother's country western music in the car or on the home stereo. I had my own car, a rockin' four door Chevy Chevette, and I had my own portable tape player in my room.  I bought cassette tapes of some of my favorites bands that I heard on the local rock radio station, then I made mixed tapes so I could have all my favorite songs on one.

On my mixed tapes were some of the big hair bands: Def Lepard, Motley Crue, White Snake, the Scorpions and Bon Jovi.  But at heart I was a punk rocker, there were posters of Billy Idol all over my room. I would sit and listen to White Wedding and Dancing with Myself for hours.

At my own White Wedding in my coming of age season, we gave a small nod to traditional wedding songs, and were also overly kind and let my grandmother sing a special number (so glad that's on video tape, said with sarcastic voice), but we also played a ballad by a big hair Christian rock band called Styper. We may have only been eighteen and nineteen, but we knew what we wanted, and we were going to do it.

Quickly transitioning to a wife and full-time working adult, I hung up the black leather pants, and the chain belt that went with them. I threw away the hair mousse, the heavy kohl eyeliner. I folded the bandanas and tucked them into the back of a drawer. There were no longer hours on end to listen to my favorite music while doing homework. Instead it was go to work for eight hours, come home cook supper, walk the dog, do some laundry and collapse into bed exhausted. There was no music.

Music stayed nonexistent until the mid-90's and the birth of our daughter, Mallory. Like any good first time mother I wanted her to fall asleep to the sounds of lullabies. I am not blessed with a melodic voice, so I bought her a portable cassette player and found a couple wonderful lullaby tapes. The best one was by Nicolette Larson with a song on there called Mallory's song.

Parenting through the 90's brought lots of classic Disney films on VHS,  mornings of Barney the Dinosaur, and The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round stuck in my head.

When Mallory outgrew Barney, music faded away again.

Late elementary school and we found something we all liked - Christian rock. We went to concerts, big outdoors festivals, listened in the car, on the computer. Eventually though we progressed, and Christian rock did not.

College years and Mallory's own coming of age. She brought home her own sounds, influenced by others. It was new and exciting indie artists like Josh Garrels, Death Cab for Cuties, The Black Keys, and Bon Iver. It was a whole new season of music again.

Over the last six years, I have drifted in and out of songs, playing some like Adele's Hello time and time again, and then leaving them completely to obsess over podcasts or audio books. But this new filmmaking adventure has brought me back to music; new artists to explore, new music sharing sites, all so I can find that perfect soundtrack for my life.

End Notes

These are some of the artists I enjoy listening to at the moment: Lord Huron, Gregory Alan Isakov, The Lumineers, Jake Bugg. Interestingly, almost all my artists have a haunting quality to their voices.

Pandora Radio is a great way to find new to you artists.

I have been using Soundstripe for the music for my films, endless choices.

My new car came with Sirius XM radio free for the first four months. I don't plan to renew once the free period is over, but I have been loving the 1940's station, and the big band sound.

I am an eclectic mix.


  1. As I look through your blog you are inspiring me to reach out. My son went to Ithaca College Roy H. Park School for Film and Photography, and I should really make use of his knowledge. Now I am going to have more time to work on some things that I enjoy.

  2. I look forward to your Sunday morning postings, a great way to start/finish the week. Life is full of different seasons; music, books, cooking, exercise, art, gardening, family.... they circle and rotate around as our lives try to keep pace with time. My kids also fell to sleep to the Nicolette Larson cassette tape. My life rotation; music-audio books, books-fiction, cooking-pasta, exercise-weights, art-watercolor, gardening-flowers, family-adult children. Looking forward to all the rotation of seasons.

  3. Good evening.
    Japan is 9 afternoon on 4th,
    Thank you for a wonderful newsletter. Always waiting forward to.
    The snow festival of Hokkaido Sapporo is held.

  4. I loved this story for its depth and breadth. You covered a lot of ground with music alone. Also, Def Lepard! Hee hee. Still love them. And, I was just telling my kids yesterday that my sister and I used to play D.J. with our cassettes and even made recordings of our voices. I'm glad they're lost to time.

  5. I love reading you . . .
    Getting inside . . . opens you . . . opens me . . .
    Loved, loved this . . . and your creative self . . .
    Hello . . .

  6. What I wouldn’t give to hear your grandma sing at your wedding. I think I share some similar music tastes with Mallory - Death Cab, Bon Iver... I’m several years ahead of you, age wise, and didn’t listen to many of the bands you favored. It’s interesting to think about the course of our lives through music, though - the ebb and flow of different types of music over time.

  7. Music does provide a backdrop to the narration of our lives. It triggers memories like no other. That would make an intriguing film in and of itself!

  8. You and I would've gotten along GREAT in high school! ; )

  9. Thank you for such a wonderful trip down Memory Lane, Sarah!!
    I too, like lots of different genres of music. My favorite though is Sirius (70's channel). As a teenager, I loved (lived!) to dance, and that station brings back so many wonderful memories. I also love BPM (on Sirius), because on those morning when I really don't feel like running, that station gets me going in an instant! :-)
    Great post, Sarah! Have a wonderful week.

  10. This was a fun post, Sarah. I'm trying to imagine you as a punk rocker and having trouble with that picture! My own kids "came of age" in the eighties but their musical tastes were different and fortunately I enjoyed listening to their music. I grew up with classic rock and roll and of course the "British invasion" of the Beatles and others. I also went through a Christian Pop phase, and then (after my kids were gone) got into classical and some New Age stuff. Those are still my favorite genres for background listening. Oddly enough, though I've never cared for country music, I do enjoy listening to it on road trips. I think it's because the story-telling and wordplay of the songs keep my mind engaged and make the miles pass.

  11. Your trip down memory lane has caused me to reflect on my own journey with music. Of course, when I was a teenager was when Elvis made his depute and of course the beach boys, the Beatles, and the songs written by Carol King and sung by so many different artists. Music can bring so many different emotions to the forefront of our minds....

  12. Oh yes, what a fun read. You and I came of age in separate decades, loved the sounds of the 50's artists when rock and roll was coming into its popularity. Do whops galore. Now, I am more of a lover of gentle music, I too have Sirius in my car, I have kept it and enjoy listening to the 40's music and music that is soothing to my soul. My grands just roll their eyes when they get in my car. Thanks for the tips on music spots.

  13. Many of the bands/musicians you mention here I don't know which is probably due that I grew up on a different continent and ten years earlier as well. My taste for music has changed over the decades, but some always remain favorites - Mozart, baroque music, Beatles, the Who, Eric Clapton... and some New Age which has been my favorite genre for the past 15 years. I enjoyed this post so very much - I should really think about the soundtrack of my life.

  14. Wow, you were married young. I was about 23. Now, for so many it's so much later. Fun trip down memory lane as you reminisce about your music choices. The choice in a film seems so important doesn't it?

  15. I now have Billy Idol's 'White Wedding' stuck in my head, and a smile on my face. It is crazy the different phases of music we go through in a life time. I too loved the eighties big hair bands, and had some big hair myself. :) (My husband says his favorite hair style of mine was, and still is, my 80's big hair.) Now I have to say I listen to a lot of country music, Today's Country on Pandora. But I love Adele and have been known to belt out a song or two in my car. Pandora is great, and saves money. I got an email from iTunes the other day for 'unusual activity' on my account, it had been a while since I have purchased a song. Thanks for the memories today.

  16. What a fun post! I have always been a fan of music, though I've been more of an "elevator music" listener. I love soft music mostly without words. My favorite is piano! Then I don't know what happened. I turned off the music and have not turned it back on. I've tried, but I'd rather have silence. Weird I know, but that's just me. About the only time I listen to music is in the car and through the month of December. I love all Christmas music!

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Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)