If your life was a movie, this is your soundtrack

0*PMJ6zSXw8Yvyc4WsYour autobiographical movie is playing. Your movie Mom and Dad are (hopefully!) smiling brightly down at a little baby you. You’ve just been born! What is your theme song?

That was the thought that crossed my mind when I participated in a guest panel for Sounds in San Diego’s last day of their song challenge. The prompt was: Name a song that was uniquely San Diego.

I chose a song that wasn’t necessarily explicitly about the city, but that reminded me so much of a strong memory attached to San Diego. I realized that this song was the soundtrack to a particular moment in my life.

I must have soundtrack songs to other moments, right? I thought long and hard about this, and here are the songs I came up with (you can listen to the tracks below). All of these songs have touched me at some point in my life, and most of them I felt as if I could have written them about my own experiences. If my life was a movie, I think these songs would excellently sum up integral parts of my biography:


Opening Credits: “Say It To Me Now”, Glen Hansard. Hansard also opens up his film Once with this song, and as soon as I heard it, I knew why. I could not stop listening to this short  but emotionally jarring piece — which has adequately summed up the way I feel about many instances in my life. I find a link to faith in this song, as if I’m waiting for the universe to just tell me something already. “I’m picking up the message Lord, and I’m closer than I’ve ever been before, so if you have something to say, say it to me now!” It’s heartbreaking and sentimental all at the same time, and Hansard’s delivery makes me feel like my soul is singing along with him.


Waking Up to Start the Day: “Staying Alive”, Cursive. At a little over ten minutes this would be the longest start to my day ever (at least in ‘movie time’ it would), but this track has touched my heart and revitalized me like no other. I definitely listened to the entire thing on repeat for days on end. I can just imagine a sun rising on a brand new morning as I’m focusing on just staying alive. “Kicking and screaming, blood boiling and streaming! Staying alive!”


First Love: “Set Me on Fire”, Bella Ferraro. My very first love was an adventurous, overzealous, passionate kind of first love and I feel really thankful for that. But at the end of the day, all of those sparks are bound to start a fire. This song exquisitely embodies that gentle, naive, and innocent view of love — when you’re so into the person you’re with, they might as well be a superhero to you. “Set me on fire with endless words to show my worth. You take me to a place I’ve never known.”


Falling in Love: “Breathless”, Corinne Bailey Rae. I fell in love with my best friend once. Although, I’m not sure if he thought I was his best friend. In the end, it was a tumultuous relationship full of a lot of uncertainties. But back in the beginning, I remember playing this tune on repeat when I realized it fit my situation perfectly. “I can understand that you don’t want to cross the line. And you know I can’t promise you things will turn out fine. But I have to be honest, I want you to be mine.”


Fight Scene: “Paper Shoes”, Incubus. Like a good little crazy, hormonal adolescent teen girl, I fought with my mother a lot throughout my childhood. I heard this song once, and felt that it correctly summed up how I felt about our arguments. By nature, I’ve always wanted to be a happy-go-lucky person; however, as the eldest, I was held to a higher, more mature standard, a pressure that I believe added extra tension between me and my mother. “Then like a locomotive, the sound of your sorrow comes. I’m tired of the way that it feels. I only apologize to you to make you feel better.” (My mother and I get along better today!)


Flashback: “I’ll Be”, Edwin McCain. Ah this song. Yes, it’s a 90s pop song. But there is a very sentimental story attached to it. My father passed away when I was younger, and as I got older, I was always wondering about him: who he was, what he was like when he was with my mother. I told my mom once that this song reminded me of her and my dad — it’s almost as if I could imagine the two of them as the lead players in the song’s lyrics. My mother cried a little of course, but I cherished the moment and felt proud to share it with her. “And I’ll be the greatest fan of your life.” couldn’t ring more true.


Deep Thought or Heroic Epiphany: “Reading in Bed”, Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton. It’s a slow, melodic, chaotically written little piece, but something about this song touched my heart several years ago. I was with someone and I knew he wasn’t right for me, and yet I couldn’t understand why I was so unhappy all of the time. These lyrics ring out to my heart every time I hear them and urge me to take a closer look at how I’m feeling: “With all the luck you’ve had, why are you so, so sad? Sing from a book you were reading in bed and took to heart.”


Learning a Valuable Lesson: “I Fall in Love Too Easily”, Frank Sinatra. Sinatra has been my favorite for his crooning voice of course, but when I heard his character from Anchors Aweigh sweetly sing this short tune to himself (and immediately run out to find the girl he wanted to profess his love to), I interpreted a different meaning from the words. Though things always work out in a 1940’s movie musical, I knew deep in my heart that falling in love too easily was one of the drawbacks of being too open to loving others. And I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I have a really big heart. “My heart should be well schooled, ’cause I’ve been fooled in the past. And still, I fall in love too easily. I fall in love too fast.”

This one was really a tie between this song and “But, Honestly” by the Foo Fighters. I think that song was written about my life. It probably wasn’t, but I’m going to pretend like it was, because that’s how spot on it is!


End Credits: “Arise”, Flyleaf. Another song that uplifted, inspired, and reminded me that at the end of it all, after all the ups and downs, the highs and the worst of lows, one can still “arise and be all that you dreamed.”


If this were really a movie, my soundtrack would seem strange. But life is strange, so I find the choice of songs that have touched my heart very fitting.

So what would be on your soundtrack? Let me know what you come up with! If you’re stumped, here’s a bonus: set your iTunes on shuffle and write down the songs in order, then share what crazy answers you got!


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