As a result of my bookclub reading The Martian, we 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:
- Welcome Home, Radical Face
- Where Is My Mind, Pixies
- Instead, Madeleine Peyroux
- Hallelujah, Rufus Wainwright
- You Get What You Give, New Radicals
- Sober, Tool
- Everlong, Foo Fighters
- Tearjerker, Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Blower’s Daughter, Damien Rice
- Say It Ain’t So, Weezer
- Warning, Incubus
- Ten Years Gone, Led Zeppelin
- Thank You, Led Zeppelin
- Everything else by Led Zeppelin
- The Unforgiven, Metallica
- November Rain, Guns N’ Roses
- Tom Sawyer, Rush
- Every 90s hip-hop song (yes, I realize this is cheating)
- Ooh La La, The Faces
- How It Ends, Devotchka
- Arms Outstretched, Rilo Kiley
- Second Chances, Gregory Alan Isokov
- Wild Horses, The Rolling Stones
- Karma Police, Radiohead
- Runaway, Kanye West
- Killing In The Name, Rage Against the Machine
- Hear You Me, Jimmy Eat World
- Your Love, The Outfield
- Lucky Man, The Verve
- A Change Is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke
- Untouchable Face, Ani DeFranco
- Mission, Beats Antique
- What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong
- Imagine, John Lennon
- You Can’t Always Get What You Want, The Rolling Stones
- In My Life, The Beatles
- Be Here Now, Ray LaMontange
- Survivor, Destiny’s Child
- Clint Eastwood, Gorillaz
- 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.