I have a dating deal-breaker. When I ask you what your favorite album of all time is, you better have a good answer. We don’t have to have an agreeable answer, but it better be a well thought out answer. In fact, I want to see a passionate response. A reaction that indicates you get truly excited when talking about your memories surrounding music. I don’t think anything can transport a person back to an important place in time, more than a song.
A few years ago, I started dating this super-hot guy. Let’s call him “Hot J.D.”. He was REALLY hot. We had dated for a while and I wanted him to meet my brother. My brother, Adam and I are 7 years apart in age, but super close. Adam also lives out-of-town, so it’s like magic if I’m actually into a guy while my brother is home. This was one of those magical times,so we made plans to meet that night for a beer. My brother and I had just finished loading the jukebox with some of our favorites and came back excited to share the stories surrounding some of the songs. In particular, we love the Black Crowes. We both remember a particular drive, when we listened to “Hard to Handle” over and over again until he nailed the lyrics. It was a great day. Windows down, music loud and such a binding moment for Adam and I. A great memory.
We shared our story and then asked Hot J.D. to share his favorite. His answer? YANNI. whaaaaaaaa????? Surely, he was joking? Nope. Not Joking. He thought YANNI was a genius. I lost the respect of my brother in that moment. So embarrassing. YANNI. On a side note, I found a box in his room containing gay porn a few days later. And, no Hot J.D., I don’t think you were really “holding onto that box for a friend.”
This summer, I dated a guy that I believe to have been on the spectrum. Let’s call him “Shmeith”. He was the least emotionally in tune person I have ever dated. He admitted it was his biggest problem and could not pick up on any social queues. We drove from Cleveland to Chicago and I was determined to figure out his likes and dislikes. He appeared to have no opinions. On anything. I loaded my iPod full of story telling memories and hit the road. When I asked what his favorites were, he replied “I’m not really into music.” Whaaaaaaaa? I tried to get anything out of him… greatest song? Band? Concert? Nothing! Who’s not into music? Not even a favorite song….So weird to me. Next!
Today I found myself driving with my 16 yr old, Jake. He requested Matchbox 20 for the drive, and I was thrilled to oblige. During that hour, I went from nostalgic, to sad, to happy all because of the memories attached to so many of their songs. This band has literally had a hit song for every major event in my life. I can’t listen to “Push” or “3am” without tearing up. And if I’m seeing them live, forget it. I’m a hot mess. It takes me right back to when the love of my life, let’s call him “Shmenny Shmucha”, left me the day after I told him we were pregnant. I have never felt so afraid and alone. I couldn’t believe that it was over. Not only did I have to raise a baby alone, but how was I supposed to get over him? You know when you feel like you can’t get any air? That’s how it felt. Good luck hearing Rob Thomas sing, “And I don’t know if if I’ve ever been really loved, by a hand that’s touched me” without ugly crying all over yourself.
Their next album, Mad Season was released 2 years later and I still never heard a word from Shmenny. Again, Rob was totally in my head. “Can you help me I’m bent, I’m so scared that I’ll never be put back together.” I wasn’t sure if I could ever recover from what Shmenny Shmucha did to me. To this day, I’m still unsure. I listened to “If You’re Gone” so many times, that my Jake called it “Mommas song”. He still does. I still couldn’t believe that Shmenny was gone for good. He had to come back, right?
When MB20 toured in 2002,Jake was 5 years old and ready for his first concert. It was awesome. My brother, and his now wife, and Jake and I went together. It was a perfect night. We knew every word to every song and sang at the top if our lungs. An older rocker chick Sat behind Jake and cat the end of concert, she tapped him on the shoulder and said,”Littlefield, you rock out” She made his night. “Bright Lights” was the song of my soul at the moment. I mean, how did Rob know to write a song about me wishing I had made it on Broadway? Get out of my head, Rob! Today, hearing it makes me smile. “Yea, I gotta scar I can talk about.” Better yet, the night was so fun, that it turned a sceptical Adam into a fan.
They went away for a while, and came back with “How Far We’ve Come.” By this time, my little one, Max was born and this became his favorite song. He loved to watch the VH1top 20 every weekend morning and would get so excited when this video would play. The video had fireworks! FIREWORKS!!!! Ahhhhhh!!!!
Finally, MB20 released North. The lyrics are no longer gut-wrenching, rather uplifting instead. I was ready to be uplifted by Rob. Too many years spent waiting for Shmenny to show up. Too many tears wasted on what could have been. He’s clearly never coming and I stopped wanting him to come back at some point. My head knew but it took my heart a bit linger to catch on. Today, Jake and I ended our drive singing along to “Overjoyed,” smiling and realizing “How Far We’ve Come.”