my martian mix


As a result of my bookclub reading The Martianwe are now tasked with choosing two songs we would want on our Martian-mix, or the music we would choose to accompany us on a lifetime of being stuck on an isolated planet.


For those who know me at all, it shouldn’t be surprising that choosing two — just TWO — songs is basically an impossible task. I love music. I love all types of music (okay, not all — I’m looking at you modern country) and have a lengthy list of favorites from my current collection of more than 6,000 songs. In fact, when I was trying to determine even a short list, let’s say 20 songs, it was basically impossible. Each time I would think I had it, another would pop into my head.

As I scoured through my list attempting to shorten it, I realized the reason it was difficult to exclude any song is because it was not just a list of songs — each was attached to an experience and an emotion. How could I possibly not write down the song that got me through the big breakup of 2005 or the one that pushed me past that 12th mile of my first half marathon? It felt as if I were dismissing that experience or person or emotion — like it was something personal against each of them. This was the soundtrack of my life.

As I recognized this realization, I actually began worrying that my growing list wasn’t enough, that even as I attempted to remove those I remembered, I was mistakenly forgetting others tied to important moments or memories. This made me sad for those moments that missed out or have been forgotten — and the songs that conjure the memories.

But, with a looming assignment deadline and a bookclub leader who runs a tight ship (love you, LB), I forced myself to choose 40 songs to start. Next, narrowing those to the required two choices. Yikes.

My “short” list, in no particular order:

  1. Welcome Home, Radical Face
  2. Where Is My Mind, Pixies
  3. Instead, Madeleine Peyroux
  4. Hallelujah, Rufus Wainwright
  5. You Get What You Give, New Radicals
  6. Sober, Tool
  7. Everlong, Foo Fighters
  8. Tearjerker, Red Hot Chili Peppers
  9. Blower’s Daughter, Damien Rice
  10. Say It Ain’t So, Weezer
  11. Warning, Incubus
  12. Ten Years Gone, Led Zeppelin
  13. Thank You, Led Zeppelin
  14. Everything else by Led Zeppelin
  15. The Unforgiven, Metallica
  16. November Rain, Guns N’ Roses
  17. Tom Sawyer, Rush
  18. Every 90s hip-hop song (yes, I realize this is cheating)
  19. Ooh La La, The Faces
  20. How It Ends, Devotchka
  21. Arms Outstretched, Rilo Kiley
  22. Second Chances, Gregory Alan Isokov
  23. Wild Horses, The Rolling Stones
  24. Karma Police, Radiohead
  25. Runaway, Kanye West
  26. Killing In The Name, Rage Against the Machine
  27. Hear You Me, Jimmy Eat World
  28. Your Love, The Outfield
  29. Lucky Man, The Verve
  30. A Change Is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke
  31. Untouchable Face, Ani DeFranco
  32. Mission, Beats Antique
  33. What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong
  34. Imagine, John Lennon
  35. You Can’t Always Get What You Want, The Rolling Stones
  36. In My Life, The Beatles
  37. Be Here Now, Ray LaMontange
  38. Survivor, Destiny’s Child
  39. Clint Eastwood, Gorillaz
  40. Intergalactic, Beastie Boys

Next comes the implausible task of narrowing this list down to two. I apologize ahead of time to the songs + memories who will be left out. I promise it’s nothing personal.

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