1. However eloquent one may be, one can never really successfully convey why a song that meant a lot to you meant a lot to you, at least by the strong standard of imagining somebody else reading one's description and listening to the song and feeling like really do at some genuinely complete emphathetic level understand the meaning of the song to you.Below I provide ten examples that I came up with during my run. Understand, this is completely self-indulgent, me posting this. Even more self-indulgent than this blog in general! Because, it's not like I expect you to understand. Indeed, the whole point is that these are idiosyncratic little intersections of my temperament, my biography, and five seconds of song that happened to hit me in the right way. So, kind of the whole point is that you won't understand. Presumably you have your own special-meaningful-lines that I couldn't really quite be made to understand, either. But, gamely (or, again more accurately, self-indulgently), I will not just list them but provide little pseudoexplanatory annotations as well.
2. At least my own attention span is sufficiently short that, while I could produce names of "Songs That Meant A Lot To Me", that list would actually be overly macroscopic. Rarely does a whole song from beginning to end mean a lot to me. Instead, "Stanzas and Choruses That Meant A Lot to Me" would be a more authentic list. And, even then, "Lines from Songs That Meant a Lot to Me" might be more authentic still, since it is really some of those that have swirled around my head thousands of times until they have been considered from every possible angle.
"I'm crazy, but I get the job the done." from Ben Folds Five, "Philosophy" (as far as motivational/affirmational quotes that one can take to heart as their own go, this one is so wildly misleading--the thing being that while I am crazy all of the time, only intermittently do I get the job done.)
"I get knocked down, but I get up again." from Chumbawamba, "Tubthumping" (originally my job market mental slogan, then my finish-the-dissertation mental slogan, and then my first few years as a junior faculty member mental slogan)
"We'll crucify the insincere tonight." from Smashing Pumpkins, "Tonight, Tonight" (I don't really have a violent streak, much less a mass-homicidal one, but for some reason I find something extraordinarily hopeful and uplifting in the idea that Billy Corgan and I just might this evening go out and round up the ranks of the insincere and kill them all in the most painful way possible. Don't ask me to explain, other than that all the insincerity of the world really does wear me down sometimes.)
"Why do good things never wanna stay? Some things you lose, some things you give away." from Sleater-Kinney, "Good Things" (in my mind, this entire song, and especially these lines, is actually about my mind, its travels, and the extent to which I let piddling things colonize it)
"Call me when you wake her up." from R.E.M., "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight" (NOT the other ninety times this line is sung in this song, but the time near the end when he giggles through the first couple of words. I was a serious R.E.M. fan, back in the day, and I think this is the second-best three seconds in their entire oeuvre--that's how much I admire the effect of it. But then I wonder: Did he intend that? How does someone recognize that it would be a warm and clever effect if they giggled the next line? Is it even giggling, or am I imposing giggling on a weird vocal quirk? I've lain awake trying to work this out-- don't think I'm kidding.)
"You were a-wandering out on the hills of Iowa, and you were not thinking of me" and "She said: Love, where did it get me? Whoever thought of love is no friend of mine." from Dar Williams, "Iowa," (a break up)
"I thought you were special. I thought you should know." from Garbage, "Special" (another break up)
"He says well this will eat up a year of my life. And then there's all that weight to be lost." from Paul Simon, "Crazy Love, Vol. II" (I will actually say 'and then there's all that weight to be lost' to myself when I am feeling overwhelmed with work- or other-people-related projects. I think what I take as meaningful is the idea of just causally offhandly saying a major undertaking like it is one more thing on a to-do list that you can casually get around to and be able to check off whenever.)
"Well, it's the biggest thing in my life, I guess." from The Replacements, "Talent Show" (You want to depress people in their late twenties or thirties? Or at least childless people who aren't in the middle of planning a wedding or finishing their dissertations? Ask them, as innocuous-sounding as possible, "So what's the biggest thing in your life right now?" It's like watching the air come out of a balloon as you can see people's disappointment with the possible answers that they weigh giving. I suspect a comely person with a sadistic streak could psychologically destroy a string of people at a speed-dating event by using this as her/his opening question.)
"Leave tonight or live and die this way." from Tracy Chapman, "Fast Car" (yes, that's right, I have appropriated a line from a song about a young black woman's desperation to escape her bleak urban life, and I mentally invoke it in moments like, for example, when I'm in the middle of some interminable conversation at a party. I use it as a mental prompt that gets me to be assertive about bolting, as I think, if I just stand here, it's one more example of me letting other people run over me and waste my life being bored to death.)
"He stepped on his dreams so many times he wore out the path he needed to take to find the life he thought would just happen to him, like the changing of the seasons" from Huffamoose, "James" (in theory, this line would prompt me to be wary about getting so incessantly caught up in small practicalities that I continually compromise larger aspirations, etc., that I might have. In practice, it's more that I use the line to berate myself for doing exactly that.)
I guess that makes eleven. Since I was being openly self-indulgent, you didn't really expect me to stop at ten, did you? And besides, I didn't even get to "Being small is hard and no one ever tells you how" from Jeff Lewis, "Back When I Was 4." Or to "But I somehow, some way, keep coming up with funky ass shit like every single day" from Snoop Dogg, "Gin N Juice." Or to...