The Mixtape of My Life

Music is such a deeply entrenched part of our souls. We take it for granted until we hear a song that takes us back, good or bad, an allows us to relive our life.

I recently went on a family vacation to New York City. It was my first time, and I loved everything about my visit. I can’t wait to go back and take in more of the city that never sleeps! With many big events of my life, I often associate them with a song or songs that bring me back to that time in my life. For my recent vacation, the Beetles became the soundtrack, and I couldn’t wait to visit Strawberry Fields in Central Park, I have always been a fan of John Lennon.

Here are some other songs that bring me back to the good times in my life, they all have special meaning to me, and I can never get tired hearing them. The emotion that song often brings is not one that can be explained. It is felt deep within us.

If I were to create a mixtape of my most favourite songs, these are the ones you would hear, in no particular order:

Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day


I have made it known that at my funeral I want this song played. Every time I hear it, I am reminded that our lives are a series of photographs strung together meant to be enjoyed at the moment they were taken. That we don’t know when our lives will end, we must enjoy what we have now. When this song is played, I am almost always brought back to centre and become rooted in the present of whatever it is that I am doing.

Two Princes – Spin Doctors


There are songs that I just can never get sick of, and this one is one of them. Whenever I hear it, I am instantly taken back to my mid-teens and relive my early days of independence. This song always reminds me of that time in my life where I had more control without all of the responsibilities of adulthood.

Chattahoochee – Alan Jackson


I will always have a fond place in my heart for this very overplayed song (at the time). It reminds me a budding friendship between myself and my friend Jonathan. I remember sitting in grade 10 math class and hashing out our similarities. We both loved the same hockey team, we idolized the same hockey player, and we both loved this song.

One Headlight – Wallflowers


This song reminds me of my first year at college. I had moved away from home for the first time, and I was becoming a real adult. I remember listening to this Wallflowers CD from beginning to end almost endlessly, and when One Headlight came on, I couldn’t help but sing along. The moment I hear the opening riffs of this song, I am taken back in memory to my very first apartment.

Imagine – John Lennon


I am not sure what exactly this song has over me, other than the genius behind the lyrics. I always listen with great attention to the words and Good Riddance; I am brought back to the present while dissecting each meaning of each verse. I was overwhelmed when I finally got to visit the “Imagine” memorial at Central Park, to top it off, there was a man there playing guitar and singing this song (very well done too) while we visited.

Father and Son – Yusuf/Cat Stevens


Every time I hear this song I am reminded to be a better father and to deliver wisdom to my son whenever I can find the opportunity. Raising another human being to be a kind soul is not an easy task when we are pulled in so many different directions. This song reminds me that parenting comes from the deepest parts of our being and not just a contest based on what society wishes for us to do.

Overcome – Live


September 11th, 2001 changed the world, and it changed me. I lost my naiveness that day. As the events unfolded I witnessed the real extremes that live in; I saw the courage of humankind in helping others, but I also saw the immense power of hatred. This song always brings me right back to that day, and during a recent visit to the 9/11 memorial, this song instantly played in my head.

Learning To Fly – Tom Petty


Much to the dismay of my music loving friends, I am not a huge Tom Petty song. That being said, Learning to Fly is one of my favourite songs. During my time of healing from childhood trauma, I had always been searching for a song that could bring me back to the goodness that has come from growing in personal change. I was in my car on the way back from a trip to Toronto, Canada where I had done The EdgeWalk on the exterior of the CN Tower. This personal triumph of overcoming my fear of heights was the pinnacle of my healing; I felt that I was finally over the hump of ridding myself of my sad memories of my past. Every time I hear this song, I am reminded of just how far I have come.

Easy Lover – Phil Collins and Philip Bailey


This playful 1980’s song always reminds me of the happier days of my childhood. It is probably the first song that I can relate to a memory that brings me joy. I can remember hearing this song played loudly from a jukebox inside the “Star Palace” arcade. The arcade was inside a local mall in the city where I grew up. It is amazing how a moment in time can be capped off by a particular song, and it burns itself into your memory.

Lovers In A Dangerous Time – Barenaked Ladies


I am not even exactly sure why this song reminds me of my wedding day, but it does. We did have it played by a guitarist, but it was not our wedding song. This song will always remind me of the best decision I have ever made in marrying my best friend. While Bruce Cockburn is the original singer of this song, the cover by the Canadian group, Barenaked Ladies will always be my favourite.

1979 – Smashing Pumpkins


This song will always remind me of the long car rides my friends, and I made in my first car. It also brings me back to my early college years so everytime I hear 1979; I am brought back to an enjoyable time in my life.

My Hero – Foo Fighters


There are a few tragedies of hatred in my life that changed me and this is the other. We had a shooter who went on a gun-toting rampage in my hometown that ended up with three RCMP officers dead and two more injured. On the day of the funeral for the fallen officers, I came across this YouTube video of “My Hero” by the Foo Fighters. Ever since that day, when I hear this song, I am reminded of the ultimate sacrifice that many have given up to keep us safe. RIP David, Fabrice, and Douglas.

Start Me Up – Rolling Stones


The Rolling Stones are pretty much my favourite band. While I had always enjoyed their songs in the past, it wasn’t until a 2005 Rolling Stones concert being held in my hometown that I became a huge fan. The opening guitar licks from “Start Me Up” still send shivers down my back and instantly bring me back to the spectacle of that concert. There are not too many Rolling Stones songs that do not get me into a good mood.

Rock & Roll All Nite – KISS


One of my best friends, Trent is a HUGE KISS fan. One of my favourite concerts was getting him to see his favourite bands in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I remember they capped off the show with this song along with a massive pyro display and endless amounts of confetti. I thought for sure we were going to catch fire. KISS will always be synonymous with my friendship with Trent; I like them because of him!

There you have it, the mixtape of my life! There are so many other songs that bring me back fond memories, but, in the essence of keeping this blog post from being a book, I have to cut it off here. What songs would be on your mixtape? Please post comments on your favourite song(s) and what they mean to you!