By Lindsey Gonzalez
My favorite songs are tied to my fondest memories. As I surround myself with music, the songs that stick out the most are those associated with a specific event, person, place, or time. This is a list of fifteen songs that mean much more to me than their lyrics can even begin to describe.
“October Road” by James Taylor
There are a handful of artists whose work my dad always seemed to have on repeat while I was growing up. James Taylor is one of them. This was my favorite song when I was younger, simply because my birthday is the first of October.
“Scenes From An Italian Restaurant” by Billy Joel
Perhaps one of the more difficult tasks I faced while growing up was trying to decide which Billy Joel song was my favorite. Whenever the question was passed around, my mom would immediately respond with this song. I used to say “Only The Good Die Young,” which I attribute to its upbeat rhythm and my young, hyperactive mind. Now, after having listened to all his albums, I realize that mother knows best.
“Wheel in the Sky” by Journey
This is the ultimate karaoke song, closely followed by Journey’s “Separate Ways.” No matter where I am when this song is playing, I’m sure to sing it as loudly and obnoxiously as possible, because screaming the lyrics only makes me sound more like Steve Perry.
“Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper
I must thank Napoleon Dynamite for introducing me to this song. I was nine years old when I fell in love with Cyndi Lauper and arguably one of the most influential films of my generation.
“Radiator” by Family Force 5
Once my pubescent preteen self fell in love with Soul Glow Activatur—then Family Force 5’s frontman—my middle school years were filled with unfettered fangirling. This has always been one of my favorite songs. I still remember calling my best friend on my home phone to discuss the music video first published on the band’s Myspace page.
“My Hair” by The Maine
Although picking only one song by The Maine was nearly impossible, I chose this one because of its connection to a recent memory. This summer, I saw The Maine close out their American Candy tour in Orlando, Florida. Standing in the mezzanine of The Beacham between two friends, I bopped my head to the carefree beat. My long locks swayed about my waist as I sung, “Nobody’s gonna tell me how to wear my hair!”
“Dakota” by A Rocket To The Moon
Oh, the parody we made to this song! The carpooling gang of 2009 consisted of one of my friends, her mother, and me. On one fateful ride home from school, we wrote a parody chorus proclaiming our crush on this boy from church. I still know all the lyrics by heart.
“I Don’t Think Now Is The Best Time” by Hans Zimmer
I chose this song for a couple of reasons. One, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were instrumental in fostering my love for Johnny Depp. Two, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is my favorite soundtrack to study to. This is the score of the movie’s final fight scene where Captain Barbosa marries Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan. The music in this section always gives me chills.
“Epiphany” by Johnny Depp & Helena Bonham Carter
When this movie premiered in 2007, I was completely obsessed with Johnny Depp, but I wasn’t old enough to watch R-rated films. So the soundtrack was as close as I could get for about six years. As I memorized every note, this became one of my favorites. I still swoon over Depp’s voice every time I listen to this song.
“As Long As You’re Mine” by Idina Menzel & Leo Norman Butz
During my senior year of high school, I found the Fiyero to my Elphaba. We’d drive home from school with the soundtrack blasting through the car’s speakers, signing along as theatrically as possible. It was around this time that I feel in love with this song. It was our perfect duet.
“Mardy Bum” by Arctic Monkeys
Before I attended my first Arctic Monkeys concert in 2014, I watched every live recording I could find on YouTube. When I stumbled across their hour-long set at Glastonbury in 2013, my life was forever changed. I cried as violins and cellos joined in what frontman Alex Turner called an “old Monkey’s tune.”
“Menswear” by The 1975
The 1975’s debut album was the soundtrack of the summer of 2014. I played it on repeat for months on end, picking a new favorite song every few weeks. By the summer’s end, this was my favorite song.
“Tonight You Are Mine” by The Technicolors
I was introduced to The Technicolors during The Maine’s American Candy tour, and it was love at first sight. As I journeyed through Europe this summer, I had their debut EP, Ultraviolet Disguise, on repeat. After long days in Florence, Italy, this song was the perfect accompaniment to a warm bath.
“Gasoline” by Halsey
Over the past few months, I’ve listened to little else but Halsey’s debut album, Badlands. Her music quickly became a way for me to bond with my new roommate. This is one of my favorite songs, because the lyrics are absolutely brilliant.
“Ignition (Remix)” by R. Kelly
Compared to the other songs on this list, I’m sure this one seems a little less than ideal. But that’s exactly why I love it. During one of the best karaoke sessions in history, I impressed my friends by hitting every note when others needed to stop and take a breath.