I love music. Cliche, I know, but still true. As a dancer, I’m drawn to music. I’m drawn to the rhythm and the energy and the emotion it invokes. My day is made when the kattPod v2.0 plays the perfect songs. And my heart breaks when the truth hits me in the face with a song that speaks the truth.
And so I present: My Top Six Perfect Music Moments (in chronological order).
Bonnie Raitt – “I Can’t Make You Love Me”
The first time I had a “perfect music moment” (as I’ve come to call them), it was a wake up call. I was still very much in love with my high school best friend. We had both moved across the country to college, an hour and a half away from each other. I wanted desperately for us to work, for us to have a happily ever after for the story books. Best friends for four years in high school who finally had their first kiss after graduation? Sounds like the start of a Nicholas Sparks novel if you ask me!
[There’s always a but.]
But he didn’t love me. And there was nothing I could do to make him love me. If he couldn’t let himself love me, even after five years of friendship, after five years of him being the person I told everything to, after five years of me loving him unconditionally. If he couldn’t let himself love me then? He wasn’t ever going to. And there was nothing I could do to make him. And I didn’t realize it until I heard this song at the most perfect time ever.
I took the train up one weekend to visit him. The whole trip was weird. Perhaps we both knew it would be the last, I don’t know. But right before he dropped me off at the train station to head back to Philly, “I Can’t Make You Love Me” played on the radio. I almost immediately cried. Inside, my heart broke into a thousand, million pieces. It was the first, and really only, time I’ve felt a song on the radio was played for me, and me alone.
I wrote in my journal on the train home. And I cried. And we proceeded to not speak for six months [or six years] [or ever again].
Miles Davis – “So What”
My college boyfriend was a music major. A drummer in the jazz department at our school. As such, he introduced me to a lot of music, my favorite of which is Miles Davis’ “Kind Of Blue” album (though his “Bitches Brew” album is definitely next on the list).
Our sophomore year he lived on the seventh floor of one of the dorms. The windows looked east, over Old City and out towards New Jersey. I spent a lot of time in his dorm and I adored his windows.
That year my roommates and I had an amazing apartment (which, to this day, is my favorite apartment I’ve ever had), but it was on the second/third floor, so our windows looked out onto two different alleys. I have always loved people watching, especially through the windows in my house, and having a view of the alley leaves a lot to be desired.
I used to love opening the living room window in the dorm and sitting on the sill. Especially when I was feeling less than stellar and exceedingly melancholy, which basically sums up my sophomore year of college. There was one night I curled up there and it was another “perfect music moment”. We were the only ones in the dorm room, the temperature was perfect, and I was curled up on that windows sill, looking out over the city and the Delaware River. We had Miles Davis playing over the sound system (which was fantastic, since there were four music majors in the apartment, one of whom was loaded) and we sat there discussing City Jazz verses Suburb Jazz.
Honestly, I don’t remember what we classified “Kind Of Blue” as, but whenever I hear it, I think of that window. It was a perfect moment, and if I could one day convince the security guards to let me into that apartment to listen to Miles Davis in the window, I will sit there for hours watching the city go by.
Etta James – “Sunday Kind of Love”
My most favoritest job ever, and my first coffee job, was at Coffee Girl. An amazing coffee shop, on a pier previously home to the oldest, continuous use, cannery on the West Coast. It was perfect.
I opened Coffee Girl on Sundays while I worked there. And in the winter, opening a coffee shop meant getting to work while it’s dark out. Which, while I’m so not a morning person, I completely adored.
At some point, Sundays became Etta and Ella Days. I had two or three Ella cds and an Etta one I’d stick in the cd player and proceed to float through the rest of my day, usually humming along without realizing it. There was a morning, my last fall at Coffee Girl, I got to work early, did all my prep work, and had time to drink a mocha on the patio. I had Etta on the stereo already, and since I was the only person on the pier, I had the music turned up enough to hear her sweet voice lilting through the open door and windows.
It was perfect and epitomized everything I love about working at a coffee shop, on the river, in the morning.
Blind Pilot – “Just One”
Blind Pilot is my favorite band. They are [mostly all] from Astoria. They are all super nice. And they make amazing music. I had heard of Blind Pilot, I had heard one of their songs (without knowing who it was), I made coffee for their drummer quite regularly, and I lived down the street from bass player for years before I fell completely in love with them. Their first album came out while I still lived in Astoria and I listened to it constantly while at Coffee Girl (thankfully never while making coffee for anyone in the band). Their second album, “We Are The Tide”, came out last fall while I was living in Seattle.
Like a good band-aid, I preordered it on iTunes and some how managed to download it a day before it was scheduled for release.
It was a perfect evening in my apartment. I was closed up in my room, overhead light turned off and twinkle lights on. My blinds were open so I could see the city and it was raining slightly. I lit some candles, put my headphones on, and proceeded to have a perfect listening experience. The only thing missing was the sea lions.
I was home. Whenever I listen to Blind Pilot, I’m home. [Though admittedly, I usually end up homesick.] Their new album is brilliant. And I had a perfect first listen.
Sara Groves – “Fireflies and Songs”
I grew up listening to a lot of Christian music. Over the years it has stopped being the only genre I listen to, however there are a few artists who have always spoken to me. Sara Groves definitely tops that list. Towards the end of my time in Philly, when I would escape to Becky’s house to clear my head, I’d spend the train ride to Harrisburg listening to nothing but her “All Right Here” album on repeat. “You Cannot Lose My Love” became a lifeline. Her music speaks to my heart.
Recently songs from her “Fireflies and Songs” album started showing up on several of my pandora channels. And I loved them all. I wanted to buy the album, but we weren’t working so I didn’t think I could justify spending $10 on music. After I got my job at the Trail Head, I decided to treat myself and bought it on iTunes.
It was a beautiful Missoula day. I was sitting on the back porch of the cabin and there was a perfect breeze. Tommy and Jamie were inside doing manly skateboard things. Debo was sitting on my foot. I put my headphones on (I think all first listens should be through headphones) and started listening. It was so beautiful. Sara is such a talented writing and artist. It made my heart sing.
Mumford & Sons, featuring Jerry Douglas and Paul Simon – “The Boxer”
Daryl and I were over at the cabin for dinner with Liz, Tommy, Jamie, and Beardy when the new Mumford & Sons album dropped. Liz immediately downloaded it and we sat down to listen as soon as we could. “The Boxer” is the second to last track on the album. It is perfect. I have always loved, loved, loved “The Boxer” – it’s probably my favorite Simon and Garfunkel song. Which is saying something, since I adore all Simon and Garfunkel songs. This version, featuring Jerry Douglas and Paul Simon, is spot on. Perfect. Obviously, the original will always win, but this is a cover that gets it right (as does Sara Bareilles’ cover of “In Your Eyes”).