As I’ve grown into a moderately well-functioning adult, most aspects of myself that I thought permanent have changed irrevocably. I no longer have any aspirations to become a rock star. I no longer fear the loathsome tick. I no longer think that white socks are the end all and be all of Sockdom—black socks are where it’s at, especially if your washing machine requires precious quarters. I no longer eat so many carrots that my hands turn orange.
The other possible side effect
Now, I smoke (sort of), I like beer, and I am comfortable playing strip poker, if there’s plenty of the aforementioned beer involved.
However, one thing about me has never changed—I love, Love, LOVE music. Granted, my tastes have gotten a little more mature (or at least, that’s what I keep telling myself), but I’ll listen to pretty much any type of music and get something out of it. For my favorites, I have a whole bunch of playlists to organize them so that I can listen to them again and again and again until my roommate wants to kill me. After all, why on Earth would I want to listen to my assortment of Disney music when the “Ass-Kickin’” playlist would really hit the spot?
However, there is one genre of music I just can’t jump on board with: sappy pop country music. All of it. I don’t care if “Jesus, Take the Wheel” DOES make me cry. Doesn’t mean I like myself afterwards.
Damn you, Carrie Underwood. Damn the way you jerk my heartstrings. I'm not even CHRISTIAN.
Also, I did NOT just download “Independence Day” by Martina McBride. Or maybe I did, but I listened to some ACDC to make up for it.
My absolutely most favorite type of music is not a genre, persay, but an intent. I like intense music. I like music that makes me want to spring to action. Doesn’t matter whether that action turns out to be beating the snot out of someone or hugging my Grandma, I want music that makes me feel. I want to be able to belt it out and connect with it, taking whatever I’m feeling and magnifying it.
I dunno. Maybe I just like drama.
Unfortunately, my life is relatively drama-free, or at least free of the type of drama that usually gets a song written about it. This puts a bump in the road to musical catharsis, because if I go trying to connect a shallow emotion with a forceful song, I kind of feel like a dork. Like I’m somehow cheating at listening to music. Like I’m just a music user. Don’t look at me—I don’t make the rules. Except that I do. So I guess you’re allowed to judge away.
When I was in middle school, I knew every word to every song that Linkin Park had created up to that point. I’m pretty sure if we added up all the time I spent listening to them, it would account for several months of my life. I had the t-shirt. I kinda had the attitude.
So moody, so extreme. You can tell they're serious by the way they don't smile.
However, I’d be singing things like “Wounds so deep they never show, they never go away…” because I didn’t get asked to the Fall Dance. After the emotional head rush passed, I felt stupid. Of course, I’m not sure that Linkin Park was singing about anything more serious than that. I still love them, for nostalgia’s sake, but they were/are a melodramatic bunch of dudes.
The point is, a lot of the things that people sing about just don’t apply to my life. And, frankly, I don’t think I’m alone on that. So, for one blog post, I am going to rekindle my past fantasy of stardom, and pretend that I am a fantastically famous and adored musician, and give you the songs that normal people can identify with. Except, I’m just giving you the song titles. Because I’m NOT a song-writer, damn you. I’m just a college kid, trying to be a veterinarian.
Quit being so demanding.
The Party Song
There are a lot of common themes to party songs, at least the ones I’ve heard lately. For it to be a true, off-the-handle, no-holds-barred PAR-TAY, it must include these elements, regardless of whether or not you live in a backwoods area where the only “mature” entertainment venue is the one local bar named “The White Buffalo” which doubles as a family establishment.
Not that I know anything about that. I’m super-cool.
Anyways. The list:
--Indiscriminate, wanton, unprotected sex, cause who doesn’t want a free STD
--An endless alcohol supply, to make it easier to CONVINCE people to have said sex
--Dollar bills to “make it rain,” of course
--Shiny stuff like glitter, which, as we know, is just another STD
--Cops, but not any who actually succeed in shutting down the party
--Party-goers who are always beautiful, regardless of how sweaty/sloppy drunk they get
--Flashing lights, narcotics, and other disorienting background effects
--Morning-after consequences that limit themselves to drunkenly-received tattoos and hot people taking a walk of shame
--A lack of legal penalties
--Any other aspect of “The Hangover” that could be made to appear fun.
Losing teeth! Now that's what I call a party.
As you can see, there are rather strict criteria to live up to if you want to be awesome at a shindig. Fo’ shizzle. However, most of the people I know and hang out with…
A. Can’t afford it
B. Live somewhere where a party like that is only mentioned as a warning against immoral behavior
C. Aren’t quite stupid enough to do all those things or
D. Are okay with being considered “old” and “square” (are kids still saying that?) in their early 20’s.
Instead, we need party songs that hit a little closer to home. Prepare to quietly rock your socks off to…
--Getting’ Knitty Wit It
--It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here (So Turn On the AC)
--Single Ladies (Stayin’ Home and Watchin’ “Ever After”)
--Baby Got Back…Pains From Laying On Her Stomach and Reading Too Long
--Imma Be (Too Tired to Stay Awake Much Longer)
--Get The Party Started (Or We’ll Never Finish a Game of Heart Attack)
--California Gurls (Obviously Don’t Have Any Adult Responsibilities)
And, last but not least…
--Hips Don’t Lie (It’s True, I’m Obviously Far Too Clumsy to Dance Sexy-like)
You don't have to tell ME how to get crazy.
Not that I didn’t use to get a little more wild, mind you. I’ve had my fair share of alcohol-induced nudity, and I’m pretty sure I got a second-hand high once when I was at a rave. But now, I’m tired. I’m burnt out in school, and all I want to do in my off-time is relax on the couch with some snacks and a kitten and a book. Goofy board game parties are about as crazy as I get anymore.
So it always feels kind of…off, to be singing about how “the club can’t even handle me right now” and claiming that I’ve “got a couple bottles, but a couple ain’t enough.” Doesn’t mean I’ll stop singing those things, but I definitely avoid singing them around anybody who looks even a little gangsta’. I’m too white-bread for this. I am a gangsta fraud.
But, at least I’m not alone. Some of my friends (cough, cough, Chelsea S.) continue to wow me with their intense memorizing skills for rap and hip-hop lyrics. That’s legit, my imitation gangsters. That’s reeeeaaal legit.
The “Bear-Killin’” Song
Though it wasn’t pointed out to me until a couple of years ago, I tend to go about even the most mundane of activities with a zeal that the situation doesn’t really call for. Mainly, I think I do it as stress relief. At one point on a particularly stressful day, my Uncle Grant sat watching me vacuum the living room, and proceeded to inform me that I did it like I was “killin’ bears.” The visual has never left me, as I can imagine in great detail a situation in which I was a bear-killer.
I wouldn’t like the killing part, but if I fought off a freakin’ BEAR ATTACK and actually managed to survive, I’d do it and claim my rightful victory with weary satisfaction. Either way, I don’t think I’d mince my way around it, checking Facebook every 2 seconds and tweezing my eyebrows just to avoid the inevitable.
So, I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t take my uncle’s assertion as negative criticism. I’m efficient. I’m a mover and a shaker. I get shit DONE when I’m stressed out.
Me and Xena. Yeah, we're basically twins. If she were to vacuum, I bet she'd do it with RIGHTEOUS FURY.
So, naturally, I have a soundtrack to accompany my bear-killing mood. It used to be filled with the aforementioned Linkin Park, but I’ve branched out quite a bit now to include groups like AC/DC, Rise Against, Shinedown, Three Days Grace, and other angry artists. And let me tell, these people take themselves seriously. I just read through some of the titles, and honestly, I didn’t see a single happy one among them. Add to that all the screaming and the crazy guitar riffs, and you have some intense people singing about intense feelings with intensity.
I just don’t think I should even try to get on that level.
For example, every time I go on a car trip, I like to start it playing “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC. However, most of the time that I’m going on something that could be construed as an actual “trip,” I’m going home. Home, the land of well-cooked meals and warm hugs and snuggles on the couch watching Dr. Who. I am not going to Hell, at least not unless I crash and die on the way and find out there really is a Hell after all. I’m pretty sure that if my family thought I felt like I was going to Hell every time I came home, they’d be a wee bit offended. So, for those family members reading it, I love coming home. Just so you know. :D
Sadly, the other angry songs I listen to tend to be just as incongruous with my actual life. In a pattern that will soon become quite obvious to you, I shall now suggest song titles for songs that wouldn’t make me feel like such a poser for singing along with them.
Here we go. Ahem…
--Highway to Home (of course)
--Stairway to Upstairs (Where My Bed Is, Because I Am Tired)
--Smells Like Collegiate Apathy
--Walk This Way (To the Library)
--Born to Be Straitlaced
--Holding Out for an Average Fellow
--Juke Box Spectator
--Safe and Well-Regulated Train
Okay, some of those might have been a little more obscure. Ask me if you didn’t get any of them. If you got all of them, you rock. Literally.
I think the only thing I’ve learned from writing this section is that I should vacuum a little less forcefully. I just wish folks wrote songs that sounded intense, but had average lyrics. Or maybe they do, and I haven’t found them. Sure, “there’s still rage inside of me,” (Three Days Grace), but it comes more from professors tossing in extra assignments and people refusing to buy regulated flea control for their pets. There just aren’t songs about that.
Just like there aren't songs about chasing greased pigs. But there should be. Looks pretty intense from where I'm sitting.
WAIT A MINUTE…EPIPHANY. I just need to listen to more Jack Black. Angry-sounding AND hilarious.
The Love Song
And now, it comes to this. The love song. Play a love song at the right time and you can make a moment seem perfect (or so I’ve heard). Play it at the wrong time, and you can create a homicidal psychopath out of an otherwise docile listener.
Take myself, for instance. Sometimes, I rather enjoy a good love song. However, depending on my relationship status and current state of dehydration, more often I want to fit that song with cement booties, stick it in the nearest pit of quicksand, and slingshot killer bees at its face as it slowly succumbs to its mucky tomb.
Me vs. the love song
Which is why I’m not actually going to write this section about true love songs. Instead, I’m going to write it about “unlove” songs. These are the songs you listen to when that stupid boy/girl was openly oogling another person, or when you’ve just ended another stupid relationship, or when your significant other didn’t immediately notice your haircut.
You know what I’m talking about.
Of all the intense songs I’ve been describing, these appear to be the most forceful. And popular. Seems like no matter who you are, you can relate to a song that declares your heartache for the world to hear.
But as I get older, and as I’ve gone through multiple meaningless relationships, I’ve started to question just how much I can “relate” to the unlove song. I mean, the intensity of my passion has never been enough to “set fire to the rain,” and I’ve never begged someone to “fool me, fool me, go on and fool me” into believing they loved me. Also, I’ve never been “the only one who’ll walk across the fire” for a certain someone, because that’s painful. And useless. And because I do have some pride.
At that point, you’ve just got a broken heart AND burnt feet.
I think I might be putting too much logic into this.
Well, never mind that. Onward! As expected, I now present to you a list of unlove songs that would make a hell of a lot more sense to me. I could belt these out and understand every bit of the situation, instead of wringing emotion from words that are too fiery to ever describe my current life.
To be fair, I haven’t experienced much just yet.
--Since You’ve Been Gone (I’ve Been, You Know, Okay)
--Un-Irritate My Heart
--Cry Me A Creek
--Can Stand Losing You
--I Will Survive (You Hitting On My Friend In Front Of Me, You Ass)
--These Boots Are Made For Walking (Which Is Why I Bought Them. You Didn’t Actually Factor In To The Decision)
--You Oughta Know (That I Was THIS Close to Breaking Up With You First)
--Slightly Cloudy Day Of The Heart
Well, dang it. Now I just sound bitter.
I am, a little.
And yet, that didn’t make this post any less fun to write.
So, if you have come across a similar stumbling block when trying to compose a playlist for your life, I feel your moderate discomfort. If you have any suggestions for songs that would actually fit my criteria by being intense-sounding but not intensely worded, feel free to share them.
Until then, I shall continue rocking out in the comfort of my confined car, so as not to be judged harshly for the over-dramatization of my life. Or maybe I’ll live a little more broadly and have the experience to back myself up.
Nope. Probably not. Sounds like too much work.