I recently revisited my Pandora app. It’s been a while. I wasn’t sure what I was going to uncover. And I was very surprised to be thrown onto an emotional rollercoaster. 80 minutes of memories tied to music… someone get me a Xanax.
I am an emotional person. I jump for joy for Red Vines and sob over Google Chrome commercials. Listening to my Pandora stations reminded me just how melodramatic my life used to be. Between camp and college, my pre-Boston life can be cataloged through my Pandora playlists. I was surprised how much I had forgotten.
The first station I revisited was named “Driving”. Riveting, I know. I figured that was a good place to start seeing how I was driving. The Black Keys came on. Then some Phish, followed by The Shins. This was great. This station was created in 2005. I could tell based on the memories that came to mind. I recalled driving in my friend Beth’s minivan blasting “New Slang” and singing at the top of our lungs. I thought about dancing to Rubber Factory while attempting to clean my dorm before my parents came to visit. I found myself thinking about trudging to class in 4 feet of Ohio snow with the help of “Run like an Antelope”. I skipped a few songs but enjoyed most of what I heard. These were great memories that I hadn’t accessed in years. I felt good. I decided to explore another station.
I selected “Super Fun Party Time”. That sounded great! I felt the buildup of excitement as the station loaded. Arcade Fire was first. “No Cars Go” kicked off the party. I turned up the volume and rocked out. Next was Coconut Records “West Coast”. I enjoy this one as well. Then Bon Iver, “Blood Bank”. A bit depressing, but still great. Next was Fiona Apple “Paper bag”. This was taking a turn for the worst. Fiona is great. When the Pawn is in my top 10. But I wouldn’t throw it on at a party, unless I wanted to recreate her video for “Criminal” with thirty of my closest anorexic friends. I had to draw the line at “Kid A”. What kind of Super Fun Party was I attending? Was I trying to be ironic? Did I think I was staring in an independent film directed by Sophia Coppola? This must have been from 2008 to 2010. That would explain the heavy representation of Fiona. These songs made me feel not good. I did not like this trip down memory lane. Staying up all night waiting for a boy to call paired with “Love Ridden” is something no one should remember. Being stuck in a snow bank on the side of the NYS thruway while listening to PJ Harvey’s “Uh Hu Her” should be deleted from my brain. These memories were making me really sad. I did not like this version of Rachel. She was kind of shitty.
Maybe another station would cheer me up. I picked “Mellow Gold” from the list and held my breath. Please be Beck, please be Beck….. “Paper Tiger” came on. Thank you Pandora universe! “This one will work out”, I told myself. Then Cake’s “Never There” began to play. I typically love Cake. They are a solid go to if you are ever playing DJ at a party. They make people sing loudly and bop their heads. I was happy until I started remembering. I started remembering driving around in my ex-boyfriend’s 1996 Toyota Celica. The car was a mobile death trap but this was before I was concerned with personal safety. I was 18 and living in the delusion of first love. Then “Nightmare Hippy Girl” came on. I thought about sitting in a parking garage in Cleveland after a Pearl Jam show. We had lost the car keys and were waiting for AAA to come and rescue us. It was a good memory, at first, but then turned sour. Next song please…I few more tracks and I was done with “Mellow Gold”. I was starting to get upset.
With about 25 miles to go, I needed a pick me up. Day drinking plus sunshine equals cranky Rachel. If you add the emotional exponent, I was on the verge of a mini breakdown.
What makes me happy? Kittens… froyo… pocket sized pigs… payday… music Rachel, think music… I hit the search bar and typed in “Like a Prayer”. As soon as I heard the sweet, sweet music fill my car speakers, I was happy. Madonna makes me think of camp. Camp makes me smile. I enjoyed thinking about the awkward dances each session. As a camper, I loved every minute of them. It was so exciting to have a sweaty 13 year old boy rub up on you for 60 minutes. It was a magical even filled with inappropriate music, “dancing” and group trips to the bathroom. As I got older, dances were annoying. I planned my days off so I would not have to be there. It became a night of inappropriate music, “supervision” and trying to pretend I didn’t have a .08 BAC. I like these memories. I was thin(ner) and very tan. I had no money and very little responsibility. I didn’t worry about student loans and grad school applications. I found so much joy sitting on the steps of the boathouse watching advanced sailing launch 420’s into the water.
I could hear My Morning Jacket blasting from the 10 year old speakers. I thought about sitting on Sugaree in the middle of the salt pond basking in the sun… WJZS playing the background. I can still remember most of the set list from that summer… The Moody Blues “In Your Wildest Dreams”, Simon and Garfunkel’s “Cecelia”… These songs make me very happy today. I love that I can connect them to that time in my life.
Although I hate surprises, I enjoyed most of my trip down memory lane. I made these Pandora stations for a reason. Some good, some not so good. But they pulled from different parts of life. I’m sure if I was to make one now it would have lots of New Master Sounds and Stevie Wonder. I’m trying to pack in as much cardio as possible. Even if it is booty shaking.