Sunday, November 6, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge Day 6: Somewhere Out There, Out Where Dreams Come True

Day 6: A Song That Reminds You of Somewhere

Initially this was kind of a difficult one for me in light of yesterday's challenge. Songs that remind me of people usually remind of specific times with those people which are also rooted in specific places. As such most songs that remind me of a somewhere also remind me of a someone. As I combed my memory/song library only two instances came up that brought to mind a place that wasn't also strongly attached to a person.

Exhibit A:

I got my driver's license in 1999. That year I was living in Broadview Hts, OH, just over the border from North Royalton. The intersection of State Rd. and Royalwood Rd. held the last stop light before my house, and the time from this light turning green until I pulled into my driveway at home was exactly 2:02. How do I know? Because in 2000 this was one of my favorite songs and countless times coming home from work or hanging out with friends I'd sit at this light and queue up this song. When the light turned green I'd unleash those power chords and accelerate home. I'd never go particularly fast (at most 5 or 10 mph over the 35 limit) but belting out power-pop late at night on an wide, nicely paved, empty road with the windows down it felt like I was flying. I have a lot of positive memories and warm feelings surrounding "I.O.U. One Galaxy", many of which involve friends, but the strongest one will always be me, alone with a short stretch open road.

Exhibit B:

I came to Death Cab for Cutie kind of late. This song, the first track off of their debut album, came out in 1998 however I didn't get into the band until I hit my middle years of college in the summer of 2003. Discovering indie rock is what college is for, right? Between the end of summer quarter and the beginning of fall that year some friends and I went camping around Hocking Hills, OH right about the time I was wearing out this CD (well, would be wearing it out if it was possible to wear out CDs.) Even though there were three other people in the car at the time whenever I hear this song I don't think of them; I think of a warm late-summer day driving through middle-of-Ohio greenery. I don't remember what conversations we had, or if we had any conversation at all. I just remember sun reflecting off the dashboard, wind in my fingers as they dangled out of the driver's side window, and winding roads with trees on either side.

When I came up with these songs I was struck, but not surprised, by the fact that they both were heavily connected to driving. Ohio is still a place where independence and freedom is largely - especially at young ages - emotionally tied cars. The midwest is a place with a lot of space and driving was an easy way toss myself out into the middle of it. The space inside was either my own or shared with people I chose to share it with. I've previously written about my feelings regarding music and driving so I won't repeat them here. I'll just state that I spent a LOT of time from the ages of 16-23 listening to music in my car. Though the geography outside of my driver's seat often changed the somewhere my music lived was, in large part, my car stereo. Though that's a place I can't have back now (and wouldn't if I could since driving in New York City is always an annoying prospect for me and gas is like a million dollars per gallon now) it'll always be a place I look back on and cherish.

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