A good writer knows the importance of the five senses.
You have to make you reader see the world your characters inhabit. A reader needs to hear the pinched nasal wine of you protagonist's ex-wife to sympathize when she nags him for some long ago sin. They should taste your characters blood when that same ex-wife goes beyond nagging and hires a fat guy named Bruno to teach him lesson. They want to feel that jagged broken tooth scrape against a fat lip. They need to smell the damped oil stained concrete when said characters is left in a crumpled heap an eerie parking garage. (Does anything good ever happen in a parking garage?)
Anyway, a good song not only uses these same techniques but what I find fascinating about music, is that I often, years later, hear a song and have it instantly take me back in time to another time and place. Given that fact, I'm going to from time to time talk about a few songs and where they take me.
First I'm going to talk about the ten songs that take me back to early childhood. The songs that make me think of the days when I traipsed the halls of Oakdale Elementary.
#10 We Got The Beat -- The Go-Gos -- Okay, this song makes me think of one of the great movies of all time, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. And thinking of that movie brings about memories of Phoebe Cates illustrious dive sequence which is film making at its best and perhaps the catalyst for the onset of puberty for me as well as all preadolescent boys in the early 80s.
#9 Good Ol' Boys -- Waylon Jennings -- Back in the day me and my buddies thought Dukes of Hazard was the greatest television show ever created. We used to write our own episodes and fashion all kinds of crap into bows and arrows to pretend we were like Bo and Luke Duke trying to evade Roscoe P Coltrane by shooting dynamite arrows.
#8 Jack and Diane -- John Cougar Mellancamp - Yeah I know he's cougarless these days but back then I thought a mellancamp was a bunch of tenters eating watermelons. Also the first time I saw the video (Why doesn't MTV show music videos anymore?) for this one I was so young that I found it disgusting when Jack french kissed Diane.
#7 Anything by Ray Stevens -- Okay I'll admit there was once a time I thought Ray Stevens was the most clever and witty fellow in the world. The Streak, Three Legged Man, Ahab the Arab. I loved that stuff when I was a grade schooler.
#6 Gonna Hire a Wino -- David Frizzell - Sadly this song was pretty much my mother's theme song. and while it is a cleverly written tale about a woman who is married to a man who drinks too much, it still makes me a little sad to hear it.
#5 The Trooper -- Iron Maiden - This is the song that propelled me into the metal phase of my youth. the imagery in the song still impresses me but the mullet it spawned was not a pretty sight.
#4 King of the Road -- Roger Miller - Sure this song is way older than I am but I remember my dad singing it's lyrics over and over. I actually hated it because of that same reason. an while I can appreciate the song now it still makes me feel like a little kid. I have included R.E.M's version of the song because it most differs from my dad's.
#3 Big Balls -- AC/DC - Okay I'm not proud of it, but me and one of my buddies stole this cassette from my older brother and blared it for the sole purpose of traumatizing the little Jehovah's Witness girl that lived across the street.
#2 A Boy Named Sue -- Johnny Cash - My name is Sue! How do you do? Man did I love that song. And you can't go wrong with Johnny.
#1 Footloose -- Kenny Loggins - I'm going to share my exact imagery for this one. With one note this song makes me think of my friend's butt stuck in a bucket. Here's the scene. I'm twelve, he's twelve. We are locked out of my house and he's gotta go the bathroom REALLY bad. I'm talking serious sit down kind of go not a simple leak. But we can't get in and we are too far from his house for him to make it. So he fins this empty bucket in my backyard and for whatever reason decides it will make a fine toilet. As he sits and does his business he sings these lyrics ...
Loose, footloose, Kick off your Sunday shoes
The movie was brand new but his sister had taken him. I hadn't even heard of it yet. I asked him about it and he told me about the movie. Then he discovered that his butt was stuck in the bucket. So anytime I hear Footloose I remember him screaming and yelling for me to help while I laughed until tears came and my side hurt. Yeah, he finally got the bucket off and yeah he wanted to kill me for laughing. But not nearly as bad as he would want to kill me if I named him here in my blog.
So give me a song that harkens up images of your school days.