Ali Martell: Straight Up, With a Twist


The Music That Has Shaped You

It'll Change Your Life, I Swear

Closer to Fine began playing from my iphone in the car on the way home from school. Emily says, “WOAH. What is this song? I am absolutely in love with it.” I hadn’t heard it in years. But, yet, suddenly I am transported back to my early teens to where I discovered an overplayed copy of a tape in my sister’s room. I was likely searching for something mega important, like lipstick, but stumbled upon a tattered old mix tape and popped it in my boom box. I didn’t know it at the time, but my life was forever changed by that song.

“Music, you know, true music, not just rock ‘n’ roll, it chooses you. It lives in your car, or alone, listening to your headphones—you know, with the vast, scenic bridges and angelic choirs in your brain. It is a place apart from the vast, benign lap of America.” - Lester Bangs in Almost Famous.

And it wasn’t the only one. Music has shaped me. Who I am. What I love. Who I love.

First kisses and first dances and first crushes and first loves and first times.

Unforgettable friendships. Unforgettable moments. Unforgettable places. Unforgettable things.

These are a sampling of some of the songs that have completely shaped who I am. Just as the people and places and events surrounding them chose me, Lester Bangs was right, all of these songs chose me as well. I will never be the same for having heard them once, twice, or eight-thousand times.

1. Free to Be You and Me—Marlo Thomas and Friends

2. Maybe—Annie

3. Minuet in G—Bach

4. You Got The Right Stuff—New Kids on the Block

5. Glory of Love—Peter Cetera

6. In Your Eyes—Peter Gabriel

7. Happiness is a Warm Gun—The Beatles

8. Closer to Fine —Indigo Girls

9. Sweet Caroline—Neil Diamond

10. Smells Like Teen Spirit—Nirvana

11. The Space Between—Dave Matthews Band

12. She Talks To Angels—The Black Crowes

13. Tiny Dancer—Elton John

14. He Went to Paris—Jimmy Buffet

15. Karma Police—Radiohead

16. Call Me Ishmael—Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly

17. The entire Garden State soundtrack

18. Forlorn—Sunna

19. The Shining—Badly Drawn Boy

20. Set The Fire To The Third Bar—Snow Patrol

21. Two-Headed Boy—Neutral Milk Hotel. (21b. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea—Neutral Milk Hotel)

22. I and Love and You —The Avett Brothers

23. Click, Click, Click, Click—Bishop Allen

24. You & Me—Penny & The Quarters

25. Lead Me Home—FM Radio

What songs have shaped you? What songs would show up on the soundtrack of your life?