I believe there’s a song for every mood. Every moment we go through in life has one or more soundtracks, and the soundtrack depends on the situation, the person, and the emotion tied to the event. I rocked out to “Brass Monkey,” “Rock Me Tonite,” “Tainted Love,” and every Duran Duran song ever written through my teen years (special shout-out to REO Speedwaon and Journey for those special mixed tape vibes). In my college days, I spent many Saturday nights glued to MTv’s Headbanger’s Ball, enjoying the best of metal. I danced to “Only You” by The Platters when I married my husband, and I rocked my babies to sleep to “Blackbird” by The Beatles, “Baby Mine” by Alison Krauss, and “Over The Rainbow” by Eva Cassidy (another special shout-out to the sweetest lullaby album ever: Martha Stewart Baby - Sleepytime).
and then there's this song.
When I was three years old, my family moved to a new home, and the family next door had a son my age. We grew up together, almost like siblings. He was my “brother-from-another-mother.” When we were 17, our families met at the beach for spring break. It was April of 1987. One night during that trip, this friend and I, along with my sister, who was 18, and another very close friend of ours (also 17, and our neighbor from across the street who had joined the family for the vacation), drove up and down the strip listening to “(I Just) Died In Your Arms” by Cutting Crew. It was on a cassette, and we would listen, rewind, listen, rewind...while driving around and just talking and enjoying being teenagers on spring break. It was a memorable night, and one that I had no idea would soon become so meaningful.
Several weeks later in May, my friend was killed in a tragic skateboarding accident. We were juniors in high school. Just kids.
Losing a friend is heartbreaking. Losing a friend at 17, when “life” is still on the horizon, is especially tragic. For years after his death, I was unable to listen to that song. If it aired on the radio, I would immediately change the channel. It was several years after his death that I finally gave it a shot and listened to the song in its entirety. The tears flowed, and would flow every time I heard it for a long time. It took quite a while for me to be able to listen without the sadness.
He’s been gone 33 years in May this year, and that song still takes me back to that one night on the strip in Gulf Shores, AL, with the spring breeze, the salty air, the laughter and the joy we felt as kids just enjoying ourselves with no idea of what was to come. Today, I am able to sing along to “(I Just) Died In Your Arms” with a smile. It’s no longer a sad song for me. It’s a song to remind me of the happy memories I had with my friend.
Music touches us in different ways. There’s a song for every mood, every emotion, every event. Life has many soundtracks, and those soundtracks cheer us on, accompany our triumphs, soothe our pain, and connect us. I have many songs for events in my life, as I am sure you do, too. We use music as an outlet. As an expression of our mood when we can’t find the words, or we can’t seem to cope with the feelings we have. We dance, we cry, we celebrate, and we love...with music.