Dickson: Give your children the playlist of your life
Sep 21, 2023, 7:00 AM | Updated: 9:37 am
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My son Ethan asked me to do something for him this week that caught me off guard. He asked me to create a Spotify playlist of “my music” for him.
“What do you mean ‘my music’?” I asked him.
“You know, the music you grew up listening to,” he answered in a tone that sounded like I should have known what he meant. “The music you used to play when you were my age.”
“What about the music I listen to now?” I asked.
“Yeah, sure. I want all of it,” he said. “I just want to have your music so I can listen to it.”
“And then I’ll have it when you’re gone,” he added off the cuff.
“I’m not planning on ‘going’ any time soon,” I laughed.
Where to start with this Spotify playlist?
I opened Spotify and thought back to my earliest memories. Suddenly I was in a swimming pool with 50 other kids, singing Beatles songs in my head while we swam endless laps. I was 11 or 12 and singing “Blackbird” and “Norwegian Wood”.
In the dorm where I lived in Florida when I was 12-15, I had roommates who were seriously into rock. I listened to Led Zepplin, Kansas, Journey, Aerosmith, Steve Miller and AC/DC whether I liked it or not. The music did grow on me, and I find myself still craving a little “Back in Black” once in a while.
When I got to play my own records, my roommates would make gagging noises. I loved storytellers like Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Chicago. I would belt out “Legend in Your Own Time” and “You’re so Vain” loud enough that neighbors would pound on the wall.
When my parents sent me north to a school in New Hampshire, I started singing James Taylor’s “Carolina in My Mind” when I was homesick, only I’d change the word “Carolina” to “Pennsylvania.”
I started listening to Elton John then, too, “Funeral for a Friend” and “Levon.”
When I got a little older, I added Billy Joel’s “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” and Michael Jackson’s everything. I included the Thompson Twins and Paul Simon, INXS and Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation.”
I’m on a roll
Once I started adding songs to my playlist for Ethan, which I named Amanda Soundtrack, I found myself laughing and crying, remembering the period in my life when only Bob Seger could soothe me, the time when America’s “Sister Golden Hair” was my anthem.
I so fondly revisited Kurt Bestor music from his “Seasons” album that I loved, and still love. I’ve always thought I would love for Kurt to play “Summer Portrait” at my funeral. (Too weird?)
I remember the boy who dumped me in college who loved Bryan Adams, the nightclub I worked in where I used to play Madonna’s “Express Yourself,” and the way I would sing “Time for Me to Fly” or “Roll with the Changes” from REO Speedwagon whenever I needed courage.
I went through a female crooner period when only Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holladay would do. Later, I added Diana Krall to that list and still get all gooey when I hear “Peel Me a Grape.”
I still love it all. I’ve added Taylor Swift to my list because she reminds me so much of my daughter Ashley. I listen to “The Man” and see her defiant, beautiful face. I listen to Peter Gabriel or Sting and I remember falling in love with my husband. I listen to Fleetwood Mac or the Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand by You,” and I am back at the Delta Center at concerts Aaron took me to.
I suppose I have always had a little rebel inside me. That part craves Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys and Sia. I play “Unstoppable” and feel like it was written for me.
I haven’t told Ethan yet, but I plan to create a special playlist for him of my Christmas music. When he was born, I would sing his name over and over to the tune of “Silent Night” as I rocked him to sleep. I could never seem to boot up any lullabies, so his name was the only lyric I needed.