Every once in a while Danny will surprise me with an iTunes card. For a while, iTunes wouldn’t recognize my debit card for some reason, and after a few frustrating emails the Apple people gave up on me. “But I can’t buy any music on your website,” I protested. “Sorry.” “But don’t you want my business?” I asked. “You’re too much trouble.”
Okay, they didn’t say that exactly. But that was pretty much the gist of it. I should have bought my music elsewhere in protest, but iTunes was familiar and convenient. So I started buying gift cards. Now suddenly my card works again, but Danny still brings me a gift card now and then. Which is nice. Danny is a nice guy.
When I load up a new gift card, I try to fight the heady rush of power and possibility inspired by that little “$15.00” at the top of my iTunes window. I try to take my time and make wise choices, selections that will build the integrity of my music library. I mean, I need at least five good songs for every embarrassing Kelly Clarkson song. I need a good balance of songs to run to and songs to feel angsty to. And lately I’ve been trying to build a sturdy foundation of some older classics, music that’s soothing and nostalgic. Those tracks are like cable-knit sweaters in burnt orange or Thanksgiving dinners that feature can-shaped cranberry sauce.
This has given me an excuse to load up on my old school boyfriend, Neil Diamond. Don’t judge. “I Am I Said” is amazing, and you will not convince me otherwise.
Willie Nelson has also made an appearance, and I’ve been considering The Carpenters, but I haven’t committed to them yet.
A lot of this music reminds me of my mom. In fact, I could put together an entire playlist (or perhaps many) of songs that remind me of Mom, not all of it falling into the orange-sweater-canned-cranberries category. It would look like this:
- “Forever in Blue Jeans” by Neil Diamond
- “Can’t Go Back Now” by The Weepies
- “Copperline” by James Taylor
- “If I Had a Million Dollars” by Barenaked Ladies
- “Let It Be” by The Beatles
- “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds
- “Danny’s Song” by Kenny Loggins
- “Daydream Believer” by The Monkees
- “Everybody’s Talkin'” by Nilsson
- “The 59th Street Bridge Song” by Paul Simon
- “Song for You” by Alexi Murdoch
- “Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson
- “Question” by Rhett Miller
My mom didn’t know all of these songs. She probably didn’t hear Alexi Murdoch or Rhett Miller or much of Jack Johnson. These are just songs that I know, intuitively, that she would like. Others pretty much belong to her, in my opinion. She used to play “Copperline” on loop in the evenings, throughout the whole house, and I remember her singing “Danny’s Song” when she was getting ready to go out with my dad when evening. I was in my pajamas with wet hair, and she let me have a dab of the solid perfume inside a floral locket she’d had since I could remember.
Locket perfume is a total luxury.