I've been thinking a lot about music lately for a project I'm working on with some friends: I'm working on creating a soundtrack of my life. Anyone who knows me knows that this is a project of monstrous proportions, because The Dillows Own A Lot Of Music. So much so, that sometimes we go for months—even a year—without thinking about some of our favorites. It's not personal, it's just that we get so wrapped up in our current favorites (right now: Sufjan Stevens, Sarah Harmer, Ray LaMontagne, Belle & Sebastian, etc.) that we get separated from our old standbys. Like R.E.M., for example.
R.E.M. is one of my favorite bands of all time. It nearly did me in that they came to Denver in Feburary 2005 and I wasn't able to go see them... it wasn't the miles, it was the math: Gracie wasn't yet two months old at the time, and logistically, it just wouldn't work. They're on my short list of bands I have yet to see that I really, really want to see before I die. They are on my list of big guns, the bands that I can turn to anytime and pick up where I left off, with no hard feelings. They have been on the list of favorites since I was in middle school. Even if I have favorites that are more intense (i.e. Ben Folds, Blues Traveler) no one comes close on the longevity list. I forgave them for "Up," which I ended up liking in the long run, and they forgave me for not replacing "Eponymous" when I lost my cassette. At least I hope they did.
I don't know how I'm going to whittle down this list of 10,000 songs to pin down my life's soundtrack. It is daunting to me, and exciting at the same time—it is amazing that I can jump into an era of my life and remember so vividly what I was doing, just because of the music. So many of my memories are contained within songs, and are only found when I listen to those specific songs. I've said for years that the reason I lose my keys so much is because I have three decades of song lyrics stored in my brain. You laugh, but turn on a song by Aha! from 1985 and I'll show you why there's no room left for me to remember that I left my keys in the laundry closet by accident.
There will be R.E.M. on my soundtrack, however. Plenty of R.E.M.