Music is amazing to me. I know that is a really dumb statement. Duh, R&F....of course it is and probably to many people, too. Blanket statement here.
But, as I have mentioned before, I am just such a lover of music. I feel like a song AND a smell (not necessarily at the SAME time) has the power to take you back in time like nothing else. I LOVE IT. Music gives me hope like nothing else does. Allows me to escape and daydream. Music and books are what I need most to be happy (and ice cream, pizza, and massages, too).
Here are a few of my ABSOLUTE favorite CDs that will ALWAYS be in my music collection no matter what and where they take me when I listen to them.
1. Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook: This CD is one I listen to often. In the car, when I need to daydream, and as a good background to work. Both of my parents grew up listening to show tunes and lots of Cole Porter. They exposed Sissy and me to musicals at a very young range and I am a huge fan of the old favorites (Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, etc.): Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma, Annie Get Your Gun, Anything Goes....This CD will always take me back to my childhood. The songs remind me of my maternal grandmother. She danced with my papa to one of the songs on this very CD at her wedding over 75 years ago. Fun fact....Crush and I decided we want to dance to it, too, at our wedding one day as our first dance as a tribute to my Nana who I love and miss dearly. Crush is a good one, he loves family, too. He even agreed to take dance lessons with me, so we can dance real nice to it! Ella's voice is incredible. Smooth as silk. She transcended racial barriers because of her talent and articulates every word perfectly. This CD always makes me think how life has been here before I was. Some things: love, sex, drugs, booze, heartbreak...well....people have been living it forever.
2. James Taylor's Greatest Hits: My parents had this on a record when I was little. I remember listening to it while I played with my sister in the family room and my mom made us dinner. I am like my mom....I also LOVE cooking to music (I like to drink some wine, too!). As a preteen, I went to overnight camp and I remember singing these songs confidently around the campfire while eating s'mores. It was such a memorable time for me. I had such a strong sense of self until I was 14 and then as time went by, my confidence was chipped away bit by bit until this year. I was happy when I heard these songs, even if they were sad. They made me feel grownup and as the summers went by I began to understand the words differently. Little clue, I am moving to a place that Mr. Taylor says "he is going to in his mind...." and Crush always sings that song to me. He actually sounds a bit like James T! One day, Crush and I have a dream that we are going to have HUGE campfires at our little house with our families and I am going to provide laminated song sheets with many songs from this CD, just like camp! We are all going to make s'mores, and Crush will play the guitar (he is really good). I know I will feel just like that 12 year old girl again, but it will be even better because instead of wishing for my future, my dreams actually came true.
3. Ani DiFranco's Living in Clip: Sissy got me into Ani when I was in high school. Sissy was never popular in high school, but she was always so much cooler than me. She had a few artsy friends who were true best friends and they experienced life and all of the cool things you can do 25 miles outside of this suburb. Sissy knew the bars they let underagers into, how to take the train, and where all the best underground coffee shops, poetry slams, and concerts were. She got me into some bad habits, too....Smoking ciggies and pot...but, I will never take back the nights we cruised the beachfront in a beat up car listening to this CD and eating sour gummy candies while drinking Diet Mountain Dews. This CD is awesome. Ani is super talented, angry, confused, and sexually ripe. She is quentisential 90's girl rock, but so much better. Ani is bisexual and I remember going to her concert with Sissy at 15 and seeing life beyond my suburban walls......girls kissing, men holding hands....lots of love and acceptance and fun in one central space. ENERGY. DEFIANCE. A SUCK IT TO EVERYTHING OUTSIDE OF THE CONCERT WALLS. I was infactuated. I knew a bigger world existed and I wanted to be a part of it. It is angst, hope, and a big ole FUCK YOU in one fantastic collection.
4. Counting Crow's Across A Wire- Live in New York City: I bought this CD senior year of high school, but fell in love with it my freshman year of college. This is my favorite CD of all time. It takes me back to a time when I was SO SUPER lonely before I met my best friends in college right through getting drunk and stoned with them a few years later while listening to it all together. It reminds me of how college felt: alive, raw, sad, sexy, deep without knowing what the hell was going on, fun, and scary ALL at the same time. Pure poetry. By the way, Adam Duritz lives in an admitted alternate reality, so maybe that is what I liked his songs so much at the time....because I was living in my own alternate reality, too. I always wanted to make love to the blue CD....I know, totalally me and total over-share, but it was a fantasty of mine. When Crush and I first consumated our relationship...this is what I played and all of my 18 year old girl fantasies (came, not in a literal sense, just a figurative one...sorry....couldn't resist....) true. My favorite song of all time, is "Anna Begins" on the blue CD, track #9. This CD holds up, like most on my list. None of the CDs I recommended are new. But, this one to me, most of all, is pure poetry set to intoxicating music. I also LOVE piano incorporated into rock music. I just hate Ben Folds Five. I am weird like that.
5. Liz Phair Exile in Guyville: Another great girl CD. Liz Phair, old Liz Phair that is....is the exact CD you need to play when you are embracing your girl power or going through a break up. She is not the best singer and has epic stage fright, but there is something about her. Kinda like skinny-fat or ugly-pretty.....she is IT, in her own way. I like to think of myself this way, too. This is her debut album and in my opinion her best. She recorded it before any stardom or fame was a reality and it is just the perfect CD to dance naked to in front of the mirror when you are 17 (not like I have ever done that....hahahaha, OF COURSE I HAVE!)....Of course, Sissy introduced me to her and we once saw Liz in concert and it was a night I will always remember, because Liz never pretended to be the BEST singer, she didn't rely on anything other than what she had...her own talent that was so her. She went right up on stage and sang like she does and played the guitar and was INCREDIBLE...she didn't over compensate. She was earth shattering. Authentic and real. It changed my life. Best isn't the only way. Bring true can take the cake any day.
6. Eva Cassidy Live at Blues Alley: My parents introduced me to Eva Cassidy. They watched a segment about her years ago on ABC's Nightline (mentioned in her Wiki). If you haven't heard of Eva, it is because she passed away at 33 from melonoma in 1996. She never achieved real success during her lifetime, but she has gone on to become legendary. She was a bit before her time. She didn't want to be typecast as anything, but Eva. She wanted to be a folk, rock, gospel, blues, soul, jazz, and country singer all at the same time and the industry wasn't ready for her. You need to check her out. PLEASE. Her rendition of "What a Wonderful World" is my second favorite song of all time (after Anna Begins as I mentioned above). This live CD is my favorite out of all of her CDs (I tend to enjoy the sponanaity and range of live music as I judge REAL talent live) and covers all ranges of music, so a great CD to play at a party or while working. When you think that the world lost out on talent like this when she was only 33, it makes you realize that some things will never make sense......I cry like a baby to many of her songs. They are so pure, real, clear, and vivid.....when I hear her voice, especially around that time of the month....I tend to cry.