*Disclaimer: This post really doesn’t serve any educational purpose. It is just a post for me to share something I enjoy while doing a little reflecting. While I mostly share education-related posts, sometimes a post like this helps provide a break from all of that. As one of my favorite artists, the late Gord Downie once wrote in the song Use It Up, “There’s music that can take you away, away, away, away.”
There is something about music. It takes us to a place in time, it brings about emotion, it lives on forever. As I listen to new episodes of Noa Daniel‘s Personal Playlist Podcast (P3), I get a chance to connect to stories, to connect to music, and to connect to people. I’m a music geek. Always have been. I can so vividly remember car rides in the family station wagon on an hour ride to my grandparents’ house as Paul Simon’s Graceland album plays on repeat the cassette deck. Perhaps this is where I get the habit of listening to an album on repeat until I have it memorized track to track. When the radio was on, it was Casey Kasum’s Countdown of top hits during the late 80s, early 90s. When Gord Downie ended many Tragically Hip concerts with “Thank you, music lovers,” I imagine just about everyone there felt like he was talking right at them. Back in May of 2019, I had a chance to share my song selections and some stories on Noa’s podcast. The songs came to me quickly. Many guests have expressed that their song selections could easily shift based on the time they were asked to share. That’s where this is headed. It is a new time, one heck of an interesting time as I sit here in essential quarantine from the world, hoping to stop the spread of coronavirus. No place to travel and air to be filled with music through the day. One can only take so many newscasts and press conferences.
I have had so many things to have blogged about over the past months. It didn’t happen. This space has sat idle for far too long. Between my pals at #EduBlogYear writing and supporting constantly and having some extra time stuck at home as a result of COVID-19 school closures, I felt the urge to write and press publish. As I work back into writing, this felt like an easy, enjoyable re-entry.
The idea for this post comes mainly from sports being canceled. Sports media outlets are currently looking for content to keep fans reading. Some look back at past years drafts and re-pick them years later based on their knowledge of current team needs and player success through that time. Here’s a great example of a recent one looking back at 2005. For this, I only have to look back to a year ago. I LOVE my three-song selections from 2019. I’d put them up against any songs, any day of the week. They mean so much to me. They are personal. But for fun, let’s remix the picks and mix in some reflection.
My original P3 selections:
2019 Selection – Ballad of a Poet (2018) by Our Lady Peace
2019 Selection – Comin’ Home (live) (2007/2017) by City and Colour
Pick Me Up
2019 Selection – Relentless (2018) by Arkells
My P3 Re-Draft a year later (in this current time of COVID-19):
2020 Selection – Public Service Announcement (2003) by Jay-Z
2003 was a very nostalgic year for me. I was graduating from college and finishing my competitive NCAA ice hockey career at the age of 21-22. I thought I knew so much but really, knew so little about the world, about life. I still know so little, but I know a lot more than I knew back then. It was a time of closing one door and opening another. This song kind of captures all of that in a way. A song of putting in the work, walking away from that work and that chapter of your life, closing the door in a way on something you love, and setting forth on something new, and finding a new path, while still having these past experiences wired inside of you and shaping the future you. I know there are many songs out there that capture this, but this one rose to the surface. Jay-Z (Sean Carter) is one of my favorite artists. His flow, his storytelling, his beats & hooks. Hip hop is nostalgic for me because this is what I would often pump through my headphones while working on whatever I was doing at the time, a school project, mowing the lawn, washing the car, riding my bike, shooting hoops in the driveway, getting ready for a hockey game, driving with the windows down, you name it. Something about it just put me in a good mood. While many current hip hop artists of 2020 don’t do it for me like those of the 90’s and 2000’s, I can throw on any of Jay-Z’s albums and it’s instant nostalgia.
2020 Selection – The Depression Suite (2009) by The Tragically Hip
Our identities aren’t shaped by one moment or one experience, but rather a collective “suite” of these. Perhaps mine is shaped by the many concert experiences I shared over and over again with hundreds and sometimes thousands of others enjoying an evening with The Tragically Hip. Mesmerized by the lights, the sound, Gord and the boys on stage, the life all around in those two and a half hours. This song is a journey of itself, much like our own life. It is multiple songs in one. It plays on and at times, you feel it is not going to end. In many ways, I didn’t want it to. It is an underrated song in The Hip catalog. In this month of May, Mental Health Awareness Month, I have joined part in the #SameHere movement. This song captures the joys, and the struggles. Are you going through something? I am too. Same here. We have the music and we have each other. Find some time amongst all the noise to take a look around and enjoy the ride.
I cannot find a song by this band that I don’t enjoy. I can think back to a few years ago when I saw Max Kerman in a Starbucks in Niagara Falls and was too shy to say hello and strike up a conversation. It was one of those things where I didn’t want to bother him. If I could go back, I’d probably say hello, say cheers, and say thank you for the pick me ups. This band holds a special place for me because it also was the first time I took my then 5-year-old son to a live music event. An Arkells pop-up acoustic show at Revolver Records. A hundred or so people crammed inside a tiny record store (boy does it feel good to see a few record stores holding onto existence in 2020), with him on my shoulders. I captured the moment here. Here he is just enjoying the music, the song My Heart’s Always Yours. And then…the pick me up moment. A moment we’ll always have together, a moment that will always pick me up when I see it. Just like their music always does.
Cheers to songs that touch on our identities, offer some nostalgia, and pick us up.
Tune in for yourself if you’d like:
Apple Music Playlist
*For some reason The Depression Suite track doesn’t appear in Apple Music or Spotify. Surprisingly the entire We Are the Same album from 2009 is also missing in both spaces. I guess this is where it pays to have the album on disc.