Hello, old pal, it’s been a long time. Too, too long. So long, in fact, that I wasn’t sure I was going to remember my login and password. But my long-term memory came through, and here I am.
Speaking of long-term memory, I was inspired to write today by my dear friend Katy. Katy’s my oldest friend — not in age, but in the number of years we’ve been the best of friends. We met in 7th grade in Edmond, Oklahoma, and our relationship has spanned 25 years and three states. Katy has been there for some of the most pivotal moments in my life, from awkward first junior-high crushes to the night I first met my husband. We lived together for two years post-college, starring in our own — much tamer (from what I’ve heard, I haven’t yet seen the show), but still pretty nutty — San Francisco-based version of Girls. We’ve been through it all together: quirky science teachers, spirit-crushing break-ups, first “real” jobs, even the late ’90s swing-dancing craze. And now, as we cruise into midlife, we continue to be thick as thieves.
One of the big reasons why our friendship endures even when we live in different states and lead different lives is our mutual love of music. When we first met we were promising young musicians — Katy, a percussionist in the band, and me, a member of the girls show choir. But we immediately found common ground in the popular music of the day, from Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam to Billy Idol to Whitesnake. And as we grew up, so did our musical tastes, spanning an eclectic mix of ’70s classic and prog rock, ’80s hair bands and pop, ’90s grunge. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear a song on the radio that makes me think of Katy. I can usually tie the song to a specific place and time we were together, but sometimes it’s just a feeling.
Our mutual love of music keeps evolving. Almost a decade ago, we started making mixes for one another, doing our best to introduce each other to the latest indie band while throwing in a few blasts from the past. Few things get me more excited than getting a new mix from Katy. She is one heck of a DJ; at least half of the songs on my iPod came from one of those mixes.
A few years ago, we added another musical layer to our relationship. We don’t often have time to talk or email, but we always make time for a little, ongoing game we created. It goes like this: text a line or two from a song and wait for a response with the title of the song and artist. The trick is to make it as tough as possible, as in not a line from the chorus or that includes the title of the song (duh). It’s also important to choose songs we believe the other will know, which is pretty easy for us since we basically have the same musical catalog playing in our heads.
This game is great! And it’s much harder than you might think it would be, since you’re reading the words without context and musical accompaniment. It’s always a pleasant surprise to receive a text with a fun little musical nugget in it. Sometimes the answers come right away, and other times I’ll sweat over it for days. We’ve devised a loose system for hints — you can request one if necessary and name the parameters: another lyric, clue about the band, genre, fast or slow song. You can request a big hint or a little one; we both like to build on several little hints until we finally get it. And, most importantly, you can never cheat and look up the words online.
This game often brings a lot of fun to an otherwise stressful day, and it’s an easy way to stay connected to my oldest friend. I chuckle when I think of the memories triggered by many of the songs, and I know she’s thinking of me. And as an added bonus, I’m pretty sure the constant searching of our memory banks for long-forgotten lines to random songs is helping us keep our synapses in tact and helping keep memory loss at bay. I’m pretty sure it’s why I could remember my WordPress login today. So it’s a healthy game!
I thought it might be fun to play a few rounds here on the blog. I’ve chosen a couple easy songs and a couple tougher challenges. Look them over and see if you can guess what they are. When you think you know (or when you’re sufficiently flustered), click on the link below to see if you got it right. And if you want to make it interactive — leave a comment with your own lyrics for us to try. Have fun, and make me and Katy proud!
1. This is one of my all-time faves, as it’s such a stupid line and it just makes me laugh to think of getting a text that says this:
When you make love, do you look in the mirror?
Think you’ve got it? Listen to the song here.
2. This one’s easy if you have turned on a radio — or been in a store, or even just left your house — in the past few months:
You took your time with the call, I took no time with the fall
Song already stuck in your head? Hear it for the 10,000th time here.
3. You’ll think this one is easy if you love sick bass lines and mad drum kits. I’ve said too much already…
The world is, the world is, Love and life are deep
Do you love it as much as I do? Hear it here.
Now, a Real Challenge:
4. You might only know this one if you were a teenage girl in the ’80s or ’90s and listened to (or participated in) radio love dedication shows:
I wish I could carry your smile in my heart
for times when my life seems so low
It would make me believe what tomorrow could bring
When today doesn’t really know
“Affection Connection” fans click here for the song.
5. This one seems really easy to me, but then again, I know what it is:
Take these chances
Put them in a box until a quieter time
Lights down, you up and die
Have you seen them in concert six times, too? Listen to the song here.
6. Katy and I typically stay away from songs from the 2000s, mostly because they don’t stick in our brains the way our old jams do (we’re so old). But this band is an exception — I listened to their 2004 debut album nonstop for months:
The good old days, the honest man
the restless heart, the Promised Land.
A subtle kiss that no one sees,
a broken wrist and a big trapeze.
This is a tough one without more lyrics. Did you get it? Find out here.
How did you do? Share your success and your lyrics in the comments below. And thanks for playing!