My husband and I have a little joke. Our iPods are constantly in a battle to be the most diverse. (Really, I’m the only one battling, but I’ve made him my defacto opponent). The battle intensifies anytime we take a trip that requires a little drive. Since I am the standing judge of the competition, guess whose iPod typically wins? When a recent trip brought my routinely victorious iPod to the winner's circle again, I got to thinking. Not about my victory... but about how a person's musical taste can really paint an interesting picture. My iPod is full of stories. It explains who I’ve been and how I’ve become who I am.
It goes all the way back to my early childhood. There's the Beethoven that echoed through the house from my mother's piano; the Doobie Brothers that were the soundtrack of every party that my father threw; Huey Lewis and the News that we sang along to as a family on every car trip; the Willie Nelson that still makes me feel like I’m sitting on my Grandpa's lap driving the truck; and a little sampling from my first album (I actually had the vinyl) Thriller.
My adolescence is represented too. My walls were covered in Duran Duran posters and now I’ve got them in my iPod. I’ve got Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake to represent the many, many hours spent in the dance studio. Sgt. Pepper was my first introduction to the Beatles, but it isn't the only Beatles record in there; and then there's James Taylor who may be one of the best gifts my Mom ever gave me. I’ve also got some Showboat to represent the beginning of my lifelong love affair with musical theatre.
My teen years were pretty turbulent (well, who's weren't??), and it's pretty obvious from the music that represents that time. I worked out the angst with Nirvana, Fiona Apple, the Indigo Girls, Snoop Dogg and Rage Against the Machine.
College and the years that followed were a bit of a blur. Music was integral to the parties, the heartbreak and the entire roller coaster ride. Phish cds don't compare to their live shows but they serve as a reminder of times I can barely remember. Michelle Branch nursed my broken heart over and over again. Dirty Vegas represents every after hours club that I danced my butt off in. 'NSYNC and Britney Spears illustrate my desperate hold on the youth that was slipping away.
Sobriety and maturity have broadened my horizons. Who could have imagined I’d ever be a fan of bluegrass? Alison Krauss sure changed my mind about that. Miles Davis opened my ears to the wide world of jazz. Maroon 5 lets me listen to pop while still feeling like a grown up. But no matter how much things change, I’ll always be Led Zepplin's biggest fan.
Allowing my very diverse iPod to shuffle through these and so many other tunes I felt like I was in a time machine. It was a crazy trip through the good, the bad and the memorable. And isn't that how music is? It brings us back. Ready or not, the memories are front and center once the song begins. That's what I realized during our most recent competition. After all, my story is a bit chaotic, but sure makes for an entertaining iPod.
Molly is a social media junkie with a thirst for life long learning and an appetite for cupcakes. Currently she can be found falling madly in love with Chicago and chronicling the whole affair at her blog A Foreign Land. She also tweets up a storm under the guise of @mollypg.