Friday, December 15, 2006

The Way I Feel...

Chris, over at Some Guy's Blog tagged me a couple of days ago with "five songs that tell how I feel." I had to think about it a little bit.

1. Forever Young- Bob Dylan

When I found out I was going to be a father about 13 years ago, I felt like the world was falling in on me. I was just getting ready to go back to school for my teaching certification, and I had ended the relationship with the mother (we tried reconciling when my son was born). I was scared to death of being a parent. I shouldn't have worried. Parenting has been the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. It has brought me an immense amount of joy. When I got married last year, I added a stepchild to my family. It has added to the joy. This song, that Dylan wrote about one of his kids, captures how parents feel.

2. Angry Words- Willy Porter

This song has the greatest opening lines ever:

The coffee maker that you gave me
Well, it finally broke down
It up and died this morning
With a groaning sound

All these ghosts I have driven out
Driven them from my house
It’s a simple life I lead
Still got a lot to learn about

"I've finally gotten over the sad part of yesterday."


It's a great song about moving on from break-ups and heartbreaks-- about moving forward.

3. L.A. Goodbye- The Ides of March

The Ides of March were the guys who did the rave-up "Vehicle" in 1970 (Singer Jim Peterik later formed Survivor). This song, a minor hit, is my California song. Whenever I'm coming in to the San Francisco or Oakland airports this song plays in my head.

"And now I feel light years away/From the west side of Chicago"

I've come to think of the Bay area as a second home, and realize that I leave a bit of myself out there when I come back to Chicago.

At George E. Kaye's bar, at 40th and Broadway in Oakland, I found out that some of the regulars thought I lived in Oakland, since I'm there so often.

4. Life Is a Highway- Tom Cochrane

I feel, no matter how tough life gets at times, that it's amazing. My life is (almost) constantly filled with great moments, odd connections and joy. This song somehow sums it all up.

5. Dreams- The Allman Brothers Band

After one of my oldest, closest friends Mark was brutally murdered this summer, I had a really tough time feeling joy, or even comfort for months afterward. I finally found a bit of comfort, at least, in this slow, beautiful melancholy old song.

Just one more mornin'
I had to wake up with the blues
Pulled myself outta bed, yeah
Put on my walkin' shoes,
Went up on the mountain,
To see what I could see,
The whole world was fallin',
right down in front of me

'Cause I'm hung up on dreams I'll never see, yeah Baby.
Ahh help me baby, or this will surely be the end of me, yeah.

Pull myself together, put on a new face,
Climb down off the hilltop, baby,
Get back in the race.

'Cause I'm hung up on dreams I'll never see, yeah Baby.
Ahh help me baby, or this will surely be the end of me, yeah.


His death took something irreplaceable from me. I've moved on because of and for my kids, my wife, and my other friends and family. There's always going to be a hole there, but I realized that I owed it to him to feel joy again. This song has come to me to symbolize him, and every time I hear it, it helps fill the hole his death has left in my life.

12 comments:

Dale said...

Perfect choices to punctuate with Johnny Yen. Very moving.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

What a powerful post. And it really shows the power of music to help us deal with forces in our life.

Johnny Yen said...

Barb and Dale-- Thanks. Music was such an important part of his life. The night he died, he had gone to an English Beat concert (yes, they're back together!). Friends who were with him that night said he was dancing, and just joyous. As awful as his end was, I take a little comfort in knowing that his last night here on earth, he lived the way he wanted to-- surrounded by good friends and good music.

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