Playlist for Life

I was thinking about playlists (formerly known as mixtapes) the other day and decided to make one that involves songs which evoke a particular location or event. Since this set of criteria is so loose as to allow a playlist of thousands of songs, I set myself some rather arbitrary limits. It had to fit on a standard audio CD (74 minutes) and each song had to be specific to a particular location/time and only one song per location/time. So, although high school is four years long, it gets one song. I went to Korea three times for a total of four years, so that’s three songs (one per trip). I also decided that any trip of less than two months didn’t count. So, no song for BNCOC or CEWIOC or business trips. Here’s the 57 minutes I ended up with; commentary follows:

Doug E Fresh La Di Da Di
Living Colour Cult of Personality
Violent Femmes Blister in the Sun
Faith No More Epic
Ministry Everyday Is Halloween
Divinyls I Touch Myself
Ace of Base The Sign
Soundgarden Black Hole Sun
Los Del Rio Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)
Smash Mouth Walkin’ On The Sun
Kid Rock Bawitdaba
Transplants Diamonds and Guns
Evanescence Bring Me To Life
The Waterboys When Will We Be Married?

As anyone who knows me can attest, I am still able to spout the entirety of “La Di Da Di” at a moment’s notice. Nothing can better remind me of being a white kid in suburban Los Angeles County in the late 1980s than fun West Coast rap.

I smuggled Living Colour and the Fine Young Cannibals into basic training, and so those two albums were the only music I heard the entire 9 weeks I was at Camp Leonard Wood.

My roommates and I listened to the Violent Femmes far more than was probably healthy during my year at DLI. I can probably recite VF lyrics with much more fidelity than I can form a coherent Korean sentence today.

Faith No More’s loud anthem never fails to remind me of the summer in San Angelo, watching our boots melt in the sun and scurrying from one shady spot to another.

Proving that songs on this list are not necessarily current to the time, “Everyday is Halloween” is my first Korean tour song because of a particular event. It was a morning so cold and nasty that it prevented us from doing PT outdoors. We ended up in doorways and the day room on the second and third floors of our barracks, with a boombox blaring in the stairwell and Bethany Beacham leading us in some sort of calisthenics or something. Although the session certainly lasted longer than ten minutes, the Ministry song is the only one which has stuck with me.

Another PT-related song, any time I hear the Divinyls I think of the rather raunchy performance of Christine Mitchell leading our battalion in aerobics at Stilwell Hall. I believe Stilwell Hall was demolished a few years back, and most everything else I remember from Fort Ord has been flattened as well. But nobody can take away the image of Sergeant Major Wormley doing pelvic thrusts. *shudder*

Some songs have no real deep meaning, but are just songs of the time. “The Sign” is one of those. It was ridiculously overplayed on AFKN during my second Korean tour. If I hear that song, I’m instantly transported to the snack shack near Camp Humphreys PX, mocking the Baskin-Robbins 3-or-4 flavors freezer.

“Black Hole Sun” was on one of the tapes I took to our NTC rotation during my Fort Lewis tour. The dust bowl, steak dinner after the exercise, and dealing with the broken HMMWV which the depot bitched about accepting even though it was pretty damned broken when we got it…OK, sure, there was that time the LT guided me onto a tank trail and we got the HMMWV stuck on high-center. That probably didn’t cause much damage, right?

Los Del Rio is indelibly tied to my Field Station Korea tour. Anyone who ever saw Shannon Hundelt perform the Macarena knows why.

I had the great fortune of my branch manager losing my DLPT results in 1997, which allowed me to go to the Refresher Course at DLI when I was already a 2/2+. That was a great few months, with nice weather and an ugly yellow Subaru, with a radio that worked and seemed to be playing Smash Mouth a lot of the time.

Another song of the time, and not “meaningful,” Bawitdaba just makes me think of my years at Goodfellow teaching. I know, some of my former students are probably thinking I should have put some Ice-T in this slot. I did listen to “LGBNAF” and “The Girl Tried to Kill Me” at high volume often enough, but nah…Kid Rock it is.

The Transplants album came out in 2002, while I was doing a lot of driving around Arizona.

Evanescence is just such a strange phenomenon, with the soaring music and the Gothic aura…Just reminds me of 2003.

And, finally, the Waterboys are a favorite of both Kat and I, and this song (as well as several others) remind me of our dating and marriage.


I know there are a lot of people, places, and events I elided over, but I had to cut somewhere.

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Gary

Random gibberish from my mind, mostly dealing with technology, cooking, politics, and my family. Occasional cat posts - be warned.

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