Songs become a part the story of our lives. Their lyrics linger inside of us. We recall those words, but what we remember isn’t what they meant to the person who wrote them. It’s what they mean to us. We relate their lyrics back to the events that have happened in our lives. We interject our personal narrative into their songs, and it feels as though they mirror our own memories and emotions.
We build a history of music throughout our lives that is unique to us, shaped by our tastes and life experiences. For many of us, it is the closest thing we have to the journal we never wrote or the diary that has long been packed away. The soundtrack of our lives is an ongoing playlist that we add to with each new experience. Unlike old journals and diaries, this soundtrack does not collect dust on a nightstand or in the bottom of a box but is stored on a smartphone that we take everywhere and hold tightly in our hands.
The time had come to collect and share these stories to create a people’s history of music. What you’ll read in Song Stories: Music That Shaped Our Identities and Changed Our Lives are thirty personal accounts of how people’s lives have been impacted by specific songs. In this excerpt below, music writer Cortney Harding shares why Elliott Smith’s “Between the Bars” set her romantic notions of adulthood and startup founder Marc Ruxin explains how The Velvet Underground’s “Oh! Sweet Nuthin’” changed his tastes.
I hope reading these essays will inspire you to share your own song story.
Song Stories is an essay collection written by music professionals and independent artists about songs that impacted their lives. It's available on Amazon.