Background Music

Holy Generation-Y, Batman!

In case you were wondering.

Here is something I’ve been working on that isn’t easy to describe. You know how a certain song reminds you of a moment in your life? Everything is there, the sound, the smell; you can remember the weather and everything you were talking about at the moment that song was playing.

I have 236 of those. And by arranging them in order, I have a record of my life that shows, rather than tells. Sort of like tree-rings.

Usually I add more, as time increases and as I suddenly remember something. Rarely I’ll remove a song, usually a recent addition. I started this project in the summer of 2008, I think for my girlfriend at the time, but at fifteen hours it would be quite unwieldy for anyone but myself, or possibly someone mourning my death. This would’ve been impossible ten years ago.

This will be a series called “Background Music,” in which I discuss the various songs, the moments, and how that significance has changed. Though I plan to write these in chronological order, if I add any retroactively they’ll show up here next.

Also, without looking too deeply into it, it occurs to me that some of these may have been (but probably weren’t) number-one hits. If you’re interested in the evolution and devolution of the charts, I urge you to check out Sally O’Rourke’s blog No Hard Chords.

Our first entry is for December 1989, the month I was born. Disturbingly good memories run in my family; my father has one, as did his, so don’t think I’m bullshitting you. Having said that, I don’t actually know when I first heard our first song:

Where: My family’s den (which later became my bedroom)
When: Sometime after dark, December 1989
Who: My mother
Weather: Below freezing.

Writing this, it suddenly occurs to me that Star Trek: The Next Generation was probably the first TV show I ever watched. My mother was the president of her high school science fiction club so it stands to reason. Unfortunately, TNG was a first-run syndication show (remember those!?), so there’s no way of knowing when it was on in my market.

As a side-note, my uncle was very disappointed in my mother for not showing me Monday Night Football the night I was born. The Saints went up against the Eagles and won, which just about describes me as a person.

Next time: House-rap ushers us into the very early nineties with Snap!

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