Monday, February 11, 2008

Don't Blame Me for My Musical Taste; I Grew Up in the '90s

Other than certain smells, nothing triggers memories for me like music. A song from my younger days can take me right back to a time of Taco Bell nachos, big hair, stonewashed Guess? denim, and unrequited (usually) love. Every boy I pined for had his theme song, which would a few months later, be replaced by another boy and another song. Here, for your amusement, are some of my musical memories. Try not to be too disgusted at my musical taste. (I stand by the Natalie Cole song, though. I still sing it to my baby.)

"Into the Night" by Benny Mardones (who?)
She’s just sixteen years old, leave her alone, they say
Separated by fools who don't know what love is yet
But I want you to know

If I could fly, I’d pick you up
I’d take you into the night and show you a love
Like you’ve never seen, ever seen

(I HOPE she’s never seen that kind of love, if she’s just sixteen years old. Put that love AWAY, dude, or you’ll get arrested!) I fervently wished the object of my adoration felt this way about me. Except I wasn’t even 16: I was 13, and I had a crush on my 23-year-old volleyball coach. Despite my attempts to seem mature beyond my years when he was around, I think he probably knew how I felt about him because I kept getting hit in the head by the volleyball because I was staring at his wavy black hair and blue eyes. My crush died a natural but painful death when he got married (to a girl from my future husband’s home town.) He is now a physical therapist and I am not attracted to him at all.

Unforgettable, by Natalie Cole

Unforgettable, that’s what you are
Unforgettable, though near or far
That’s why, darling, it’s incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am unforgettable too

This song was popular the summer that I got my first kiss. I was almost fourteen, at a church camp meeting. (In case you aren’t familiar with the concept, it’s a week of church services attended by members of a denomination in one state, and at least in our case, none of the young people thought about Jesus or anything other than how to get a date.)

All week, I had been going out with the son of one of my dad’s friends whom I’d long thought was cute, and we were having a good time. We were actually going out on dates, as opposed to just holding hands at the concession stand, because I had a 19-year old friend who wasn’t dating anyone and who was a terrific sport about driving younger kids around town. The last night, when we had to return to our separate towns and visiting each other was out of the question, we were in the back seat (ooh la la) and when Gina was distracted because she was talking to Michael’s friend in the front, Michael leaned over and whispered, “I’m going to kiss you, okay?” and did so, without waiting for an answer. I’ve always thought that combination of chivalry and confidence was perfect for a young girl’s first kiss. And I discovered I liked kissing. A lot.

P.S. Just to show how small a world our denomination is, Michael and my husband were pretty good friends after Michael moved to a town close to Justin’s. Michael married a girl Justin knew very well and never quite dated. So there you go. It’s a wonder I didn’t know Justin from birth, really.

How Am I Supposed to Live Without You? by Michael Bolton
Tell me, how am I supposed to live without you
Now that I’ve been lovin’ you so long
How am I supposed to live without you
And how am I supposed to carry on
When all that I've been livin’ for is gone

Yes, I owned not one but two Michael Bolton albums [adult me cringes in shame]. There was a guy who liked me but all my friends thought I’d never go out with him because he had a reputation for being “a bad boy,” while I was so innocent I should have been called a Goody-Goody-Goody. This guy (let’s call him Grant because that was his name) let me know that the song that most reminded him of me was this one. I gasped, “I like that song too!” Bad boy reveals softer side = Alison accepts his offer of a date to Homecoming. And then we dated for several months. Several astute people said this was a horrible choice to be Our Song, but a frizzy-haired screamer brought us together and that was just…so romantic to me.

He wasn’t really that much of a bad boy, but we made out a lot. However, I was almost as much of a goody-goody when we broke up (on Valentine’s Day, which was not nice of me, but I just couldn’t take his temper tantrums any more). And then Our Song was a lot more appropriate.

Wow, this is getting really long. I have a few more I’ll write up and post another day.


  1. Since I've known you forever, this is a trip down memory lane for me, too.

    When you said your crush died a slow but natural death after his marriage, I thought for a second you meant he actually died!

  2. HAHAHAH, Michael Bolton.
    I'm a bit older then you, so my lame musical memories are all mid-80s, which makes them DOUBLY LAME.