Backseat Mixtape: Issue I

Design by Jared Dobro

Think of the first song that you remember falling in love with.

A song you can't stop thinking about. Whenever you have a free moment you grab your phone, put your headphones in and click play. You listen to it 10 times in a row on repeat. You share it on your Instagram story. You put it on all your playlists. You share it with people who you love. It touches a part of you that words will never be able to describe. It truly makes you feel.

When you have that song in mind, close your eyes and try to hear it again for the first time.

Where were you? Who were you with? What’d you feel? Why did you like it?

Music is often ingrained in our minds as part of a memory. It has a built-in nostalgia to it, which is why it has the power to carry your emotions so intensely.

The first song I thought of was “Happiness is a Warm Gun” by The Beatles, who are my all-time favorite band. I was 6 or 7 years old when I first recall having heard it, and I was sitting in the back of my dad’s 1991 Honda Accord, en route to my very first live fantasy baseball auction draft in Brooklyn, NY. I can still close my eyes and see myself in that backseat. I see empty plastic water bottles scattered on the floor alongside my shoes (which I had kicked off 20 minutes into the drive), Ron Shandler’s Baseball Forecaster by my side, a Nestle’s chocolate milk in the cupholder, and my dad’s first generation silver iPod Nano in my hand.

My dad was born in 1952 and therefore grew up during a time that many people consider the greatest decades for music. His iPod reflected it. The Beatles were the band that I knew the best at that time, so I clicked play on the White Album, put my headphones in, and started playing the original iPod Nano parachute game to pass the time.

The White Album begins with the rock hit “Back in the USSR” which parodies the likes of many other songs of the time including Chuck Berry’s “Back in the U.S.A.” and, perhaps more obviously, the Beach Boys’ “California Girls” and “Surfin’ USA.”

Right from the get-go of the album, I knew I was hooked. The White Album offered me up many different styles and textures of music that were all so new to me, and by the conclusion of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, I was so satisfied. So freshly aware of the range and power that music could hold over my emotions. The next song on the album, however, would be the one that would lock this day into my mind forever.

As soon as “Happiness is a Warm Gun” began, I was transfixed by the longing voice of John Lennon, somberly singing “She’s not a girl who misses much.” At the time, I knew nothing about the song’s meanings or double entendre, and I didn’t have to. I knew that what I was hearing was powerful, emotional, and just so beautiful. From the sharp distorted electric guitar riff into the shouted chorus, it gave me new meaning to what music could be. And the chills that I got towards the end of the song when the background harmonies of Paul McCartney and George Harrison fade out to silence before Lennon delivers his powerful falsetto at the end? Well, you’ll just have to listen and experience them yourself.

I love music. I love the way I feel when I listen to it, or when I'm singing it, or playing it. But one of the things I love to do the most with music is to share it. Few things make me happier than hearing my friends listen to music that I showed them. On my Instagram account, I often post a “song of the day” on my story, which I also add to a Spotify playlist by the same name, so even if you miss a post, you can find it on the playlist.

There are so many directions I would love to go with this column, but I think I'm going to be figuring it out as I go. I may do artist spotlights and interviews with the possibility of coinciding podcasts or song/album reviews. Maybe I’ll even make some Passion Project specific playlists to share. At the very least, I’ll be writing stories about my passion for music, like the one you’ve just read. “Happiness is a Warm Gun” is just one of many songs that have a deeply rooted place in my life and i can't wait to share more stories with you.

So, what song makes you remember?

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