Wednesday, December 15, 2010

love is a mixed tape

i have a 25 minute drive home from work. not too long, just the exact right amount of time to really get into a mixed cd. to let the songs wash over me, free me of deadline-induced stress and coffee-induced anxiety.

yesterday was one of those days. i was driving on the highway, with dusk chasing me outside my window. the air was arctic outside, but my heater was on at my toes, and i was enveloped in my pea coat and scarf. then, i looked up.

the sky was baby pink with swirls of iris. the setting sun gave off a full-sky glow as it sank, illuminating the colors and deepening their brilliance. it was magnificent. the kind of beautiful you want your sunsets to be.

and my mixed cd was playing iron and wine's "passing afternoon." the sunset's magic was intensified. peace and serenity were restored in my weary heart. and i was reminded. of the power of music. to restore, humor, lighten and soothe. to conjure up old memories and heal new hurts.

so i began to think. of the songs that mean the most to me. and i came up with this playlist. now, it should be noted these are iconic songs in my life right now. if i would have made a playlist 10 years ago, it would have included such gems as "jumpin' jumpin'" by destiny's child and "story of a girl" by nine days. both great songs. both should remain circa the year 2000.

so please take a listen:

1.florida: patty griffin. my former co-worker ellie used to listen to patty while we worked on proposals. ellie is the kind of girl you always want to be. she's elegant, kind-hearted and has the sweetest speaking voice. this song reminds me of her, and of my first real job. in my first real office. with my first real co-worker. later, robert and i put this song on one of our favorite mixed cds, and have played it so.many.times in the car since.

2. la cienega just smiled: ryan adams. because ryan adams songs make me feel melancholy in a strangely pleasant way. because this song is haunting and gorgeous. because a few months ago, i went to los angeles and stood at the top of la cienega boulevard and thought about these lyrics.

3. passing afternoon: iron and wine. this is my all-time favorite song. similar to the way i remember where i was when i learned princess diana, JFK jr, heath ledger, and michael jackson died, i remember exactly what i was doing when this song first came on. i was studying with robert. in the secret space behind the book stacks in the library. the clandestine room with leather chairs that only cool kids knew about. this song encapsulates my college years. i love it for this line alone: "there are things that drift away, like our endless, numbered days."

4. california: joni mitchell. i played this as robert and i crossed over the california state line on our road trip a few months ago. with the windows down on our rental car and my bare feet hanging out the window, i threw my hands in the air and robert laid on the horn. i've never felt more alive.

5. cape canaveral: conor oberst. our first road trip as a married couple was to myrtle beach. nothing fancy, especially not in the middle of winter, when we sneaked there for our valentine's day getaway. i played this song on the way down, in the middle of the night after the circus. we had learned all the words by the time we arrived, we played it so many times. this song reminds me of that sweet, nerve-wracking feeling of being on the cusp of something great. we were just starting out and getting our toes wet together, and this song was the beginning.

6. so-so: brooke waggoner. this is one of my little brother's favorite artists. i took him to brooke's concert once, but we got there late and almost missed the entire show. we didn't even get to see her perform this song. this one reminds me of clint, and his incredible zest for life and excellent taste in music. all the concerts we've traveled to together, and all the unexpected fun we've had.

7. shape of a heart: jackson browne. i played this the first autumn we got pablo. i remember dancing in the kitchen in my socks, with his furry body in my arms, tail dangling against my stomach. still unsure how to hold him, still awkwardly wrapping my arms around his torso. we danced together to this song and in the course of those three minutes, i became a mama.

8. the book of right-ON: joanna newsom. see #6. we made the concert this time, in asheville. thanks, clint!

9. something good this way comes: jakob dylan. jakob has had my heart since the wallflowers sang "one headlight." there's something so distinctively beautiful about his voice. so different from his father's, but with that same gorgeous gravel. i also played this song on our first road trip to the beach. it reminds me of salty air, ferry rides, and dinner boat cruises.

10. clean getaway: maria taylor. because the honesty in her voice is heartbreaking. simple as that.

so there you have it! enjoy. i hope these songs bring as much comfort and happiness to your day as they have brought to my 20s. i love how songs are soundtracks, as corny as that may sound. when you can't go back in time, at least you can press rewind.


Thisisme said...

I like your music list, and the reasons behind the choices. Funnily enough, it's been a gorgeous sunny day here today, and when I was driving back along the road about an hour ago, the sunset and the cloud formations were amazing. Makes you glad to be alive!

7upkels said...

gosh i love the way you write. i could quote half of what you said here. so lovely :)

and i agree. that's the joy of music, it's like a little time machine.

Della said...

My drive home from college is 45 minutes...just enough time to relax and listen to my favorite songs. Right now I'm stuck I'm stuck on a mix tape from a friend in Australia.

Kristen said...

i love this about music too, there's something for every mood, and so many songs attached to memories. iron & wine is one of my favorites, too! love your list!

lindsay said...

i love your music style...isn't it funny how a song can just take you away from your current place and bring you somewhere else? I feel that way alot when i listen to the lyrics of songs that really are meaningful.

it's the best feeling in the world! xoxo

ps thanks for being such a loyal reader of really means a lot to me lovely! you're the best and such an inspiration to us all ♥

-Sam I Am- said...

iron and wine is my FAVORITE!!!!!!

they soothe my soul, every time :)

loving your entire playlist!

jillian m. said...

i love that...driving, taking in your surroundings and listening to a song that describes the setting and mood perfectly. or hearing one that reminds you of a specific moment. makes me feel nostalgic and dreamy...

ms. elisabeth said...

so many amazingly great choices.
and i have to agree with you about maria taylor...
i really love her & azure ray.

such a good post!


Christi said...

Music makes any mood a whole lot moodier, wherever that mood may be on the spectrum of moodiness.

This reminds me of my grand idea of making a "mixed tape" for Jarrett's stocking -- The Soundtrack of Us. I better get on that!

Casey said...

:) It is so beautiful that you are able to put enjoyment into your daily commute. Excellent playlist!!!


Brooke said...

I need to check these out because I love listening to music in the car!

nicole ...given said...

k love love love the playlist

Jessica said...

I'm the same way! Sometimes I miss my turns because I get so into my songs! :)

ellie said...

i'm so glad music is this important to you, that it relieves the awful stress from work, and that i (gasp) had some influence on your choices! i love the songs you mentioned from your playlist ten years ago, and would love to see what songs you include ten years from now. anyway, thank you for saying such nice things. you are the loveliness you seek.

{av} said...

ahhh. music is the window to my thoughtful soul. great post...can't wait to download a few of these songs. it's crazy how music can transport you to a totally different time and place in your life. wonderful post, though I'm coming to expect that from you ;) xoxo {av}

Amber Blue Bird said...

I had never heard the song florida by patty griffin so thank you for introducing me to it.
I love Ryan Adams as well, his song Cherry Lane is one of my favorites!

Mo Pie, Please said...

Thanks for making the mixed tape! I love music and all the memories/feelings it can conjure up. I love that other people love it as much if not more than I do. Ah, sweet, sweet music!

jeanette from everton terrace said...

Wow, I've never even heard of most of these songs. Can't wait to hear them. I like how you describe Maria Taylor's voice as heartbreaking, I've heard voices in song that made me feel that way.

Ashley said...

Music is truly therapy. I love that you have shared your "private" little playlist with's pretty amazing. I love Jakob Dylan and Iron&Wine, and some of the others I'm just discovering, thanks to you! Thank you for sharing!!! Happy Wednesday! :)

Amy said...

So. I've never heard any of these songs at all. I'm dying to download each and every one and get a greater sense of who you are my friend. Some days, you just have to turn up your personal mix and just sink into that driver seat and breathe. One of my favorites, is "The Story" by Brandi Carlile. Something about it just allows me to sit back and relax. I hope your days get a little less stressed and a lot more merry!

vintch said...

hi guys! so happy you like the mix:) there's now a more user-friendly iPod button you can press to hear the songs! happy listening:) thank you for sharing this little peek into my heart.

I'm AE Jones said...

Oh my goodness you are darling. Love this post. I'm such a music person, especially in my car driving to and from work. I have about a 30-minute drive to work and I do the same thing. I also am a huge fan of getting books on CD and letting myself get lost in a book. :)

Anonymous said...

love your writing. so inspirational. thank you for the inspiration for my post today =)

Confessions of A Confused City Girl said...

I love admiring sunsets... They make me cry.. strange i know.

I love the playlist, will be listening to the songs on it.

Your writing is a gift... I know i said that before but it really is. Never stop, you have a nack for capturing emotion and invoking it.

Btw, please check out my blog, i am doing my FIRST giveaway ever! Anyone can enter:-)

Check out my Giveaway!
Confessions Of A City Girl

Kaity Teer said...

Lovely mix tape. We'll be trying it out on our drive home for Christmas. I'm impressed you can pick a favorite Iron & Wine song. It changes constantly for me.

Your writing is beautiful. I'm sure part of it is because your heart is beautiful. But you're also very talented. Have a beautiful day, friend.

Post a Comment

thank you for stopping by! have a blessed day:)