Today is my birthday, and because this is a glorious holiday all about me and how spectacularly Aro I am, I am giving you the gift of understanding in the form of a definitive Aro music collection (brought to you by 8tracks because oh my god, why is every single music player plugin for WordPress so unutterably dumb).
So there’s something of a chicken/egg scenario here — am I the way I am because of my musical taste, or is my musical taste the way it is because of how I am? I am pretty sure that the answer is the former, as this first playlist is pretty illustrative. This is the music that was in my life before I was old enough to make my own decisions: the music my parents listened to at home or in the cars (and we did a lot of driving with a LOT of 8-track tapes) and what shaped my ideas of what good music even was.
- Bad to the Bone, George Thorogood and the Destroyers
My dad loves heavy blues rock guitar, and it’s from him that I learned to appreciate it myself.
- I Can Do That, Wayne Cilento (A Chorus Line)
My first exposure to showtunes came from my Mom’s 8-track OBC, and Michael remains one of my very favorite parts in musical theatre and one of the many reasons why it is so unfair I was not born a boy.
- Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, the Beatles
Abbey Road was one of my mother’s favorite albums. I still know every single note by heart.
- Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In), The First Edition
One of my earliest memories is of this album, all shiny silver foil, and getting into a fight in first grade because no one believed me that Kenny Rogers was a hippie rock singer.
- White Rabbit, Jefferson Airplane
Mom and Dad used to fight over which of their cars got to carry this 8-track.
- El Condor Pasa (If I Could), Simon and Garfunkel
Because this is my mother’s favorite band, SO VERY MANY of my early childhood memories are S&G-based.
- Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, Bob Dylan
Necessitating the conversation “mom, what’s ‘stoned’?”
- Paint it Black, the Rolling Stones
This was the soundtrack for my dad’s Razorback unit in Vietnam, and the reason why Tour of Duty (for which my dad was a consultant) used a cover as its opening theme.
- Heaven on Their Minds, Murray Head (Jesus Christ Superstar)
MOAR SHOWTUNES and I tell you what listening to this on 8-track was an EXPERIENCE.
- King of the Cars, Lenny and the Squigtones
No one has ever heard this album but my family, and that is a crying fucking shame. It includes Murph on keyboards and Nigel Tufnel on lead guitar. I’m not even kidding.
- Bat out of Hell, Meat Loaf
Arguably the most influential album of my entire life, and that is kind of creepy. I could write many many words about what this song, this album, and Jim Steinman mean to me, but nobody’s got that kind of time.
- Lemon Tree, Peter Paul & Mary
Everything I know about relationships I learned from hippie folk singers.
- White Room, Cream
“Man, remember when Eric Clapton had a sense of humor?” my father used to say.
- Down on the Corner, Creedence Clearwater Revival
A lot of CCR is an acquired taste, because John Fogerty has an overinflated sense of his own talent. But man those riffs are fun.
- Joy to the World, Three Dog Night
JER UH MY UH WAS A BULLFROOOOOOG
- What a Piece of Work Is Man, Ronald Dyson & Walter Harris (Hair)
Hair contextually formed my childhood understanding of American politics, to whit: holy shit everything sucks and we’re all going to die. Also, Shakespeare.
And this one is basically I Love 1984-1994. This was when I started making my own choices about the music I wanted to listen to, with my own purchases and specific song requests. All you really need to know about this mix is that I had to physically restrain myself from putting Ice Ice Baby on here. PHYSICALLY RESTRAIN.
- TURTLE Power, Partners in Kryme
This is the end titles for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles move. Which is still amazing. I know every word of this song, still. SHUT UP, DON’T YOU JUDGE ME.
- Transformation #2, Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast)
I actually prefer the stage arrangement because it uses more brass and fewer strings but! this is still glorious, and I love love love the way Alan Menken uses low brass.
- Les Yeux de Ton Père, Les Négresses Vertes
This is one long drawn-out idiomatic dis and it makes me laugh every time.
- The Heart of the Matter, Don Henley
When I was thirteen and full of angst, I would listen to this album in the dark. Yes, that is exactly as hilariously embarrassing as it sounds.
- Bust a Move, Young MC
When I go out for Actual Karaoke instead of Drunk In My Living Room Karaoke, 80s rap is my genre of choice because I am really, really good at it.
- Bitchin’ Camaro, The Dead Milkmen
Trufax: I bought this album to impress a boy. His name was Tom, and he played the drums and wore an antique cossack coat. I was not made of stone.
- Naturally, Huey Lewis & the News
Huey Lewis has been my favorite band since I was a wee tiny Aro, and I have actually seen them live more than once. This is an a capella track from Fore!, and no one has ever heard this song but me and an indie group called MY BRIGHTEST DIAMOND, who covered it.
- Everything Louder than Everything Else, Meat Loaf
See above, re: Jim Steinman and my undying love thereof.
- Fionnghuala (Mouth Music), Nightnoise
This is pretty much all that remains of my brief high school flirtation with “new age” music, because it took me a while (and many shitty shitty albums) to discover that what I actually liked was modern jazz, and record stores have shitty labeling.
- Theme from Jurassic Park, John Williams
IT’S A DI NO SAAAAUR
- El Tiburon, Proyecto Uno
My childhood best friend contributed many, many hilariously amazing meringue and salsa albums to my musical taste.
- Silent Lucidity, Queensryche
I was sixteen. I have no other excuse.
- How the Gods Kill, Danzig
My first concert! I was fifteen, and distinctly remember Glenn Danzig being the spitting image of cartoon-flavor Wolverine. I am also fairly sure Bruce McCulloch is riffing him specifically in Brain Candy.
- One Night in Bangkok, Murray Head
It took me many many years before I heard this entire album and discovered that no, it’s not a euphemism, it really is about playing chess.
- Axel F, Harold Faltermeyer
The Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack was the first album I ever owned. I asked for it for my birthday when I was seven.
- Friends in Low Places, Garth Brooks
He used to be funny! This song is hilarious! My dad has never forgiven me for purchasing this album. I don’t care.
- You Saw My Blinker, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
“Will Smith don’t gotta cuss in his raps to sell records!” Well he did, once. HILARIOUSLY. “Wrinkled old bat looking like a sharpei” finds its way into my everyday conversation far more often than I should admit.
Enjoy! And I hope that everyone has as lovely a December 2 as I will. ♥