≡ Menu

I Forgot That I Live in a Music Video

When I was in college — decades before iPods and little white earbuds swept the world — I was in the minority, bouncing about campus plugged into my tunes.

It was much more tedious back in the days before you could just rip a CD. Hours were spent carefully selecting just the right mix for different moods. The phonograph record was placed on the turntable and a cassette was placed in the player. Recording happened in real time, one track at a time.

Then I was ready. My Walkman cassette player and I went from the J. Reuben Clark Law Building to the Spencer W. Kimball Tower to the Harris Fine Arts Center all to the Top Hits of the 80s. My constant companions were Hall & Oats, Cyndi Lauper, Wham!, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Rick Springfield, The Go-Gos, Men Without Hats, The Thompson Twins, Devo, Culture Club, Air Supply, Duran Duran, The Cars. My favorite transportation tune was You Can Do Magic by America. Because I could, you know.

And as I walked, the music reflected my life: upbeat, fun, adventurous, limitless. Everything was ahead of me and so exciting that it might just as well have been broadcast for the world to see. The female version of The Truman Show only I knew the cameras were on.

I guess I kind of forgot about that. Rushing around, being an Adult. Logically noting the Realistic. Being Responsible. Getting Things Done.

But Saturday it all came back to me.

We spent the day at Lagoon. All eight of us. And when we got back in the Excursion to drive home, music blasted out of the car speakers. Somewhere in the back of the gray matter, the notes connected with my past self and I was propelled back in time. Once again I was living in a music video; living the perfect life. This time surrounded by my entire, smiling, loving family. No one missing. No empty chairs.

It just doesn’t get any better than that. And, for once, I remembered to notice.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • east-of-eden October 15, 2007, 3:23 pm

    The days of the ubiqutious “mix tape”. I loved the “mix tape”, in fact I’ve just moved on to making mix-cds for my family, because I”m dorky like that. Don’t get me wrong — I love my MP3 player (I refuse to buy into the cult of Apple), but I love mixing it up on a CD even more.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 15, 2007, 10:16 pm

    I have been a cultists since 1985. iPods rule.

  • kiar October 15, 2007, 10:46 pm

    I have used my Ipod a grand total of twice. it was a gift for mother’s day, and my husband uses it to go to the gym with. but I love the access to tons of music that i don’t have on tape or cd! So I end up making alot of mixed cds for the car. My kids love “the lion sleeps tonight” I love it when my five year old starts to sing “wimboway wimboway wimboway…ect”

  • Susan M October 16, 2007, 1:42 pm

    I’m rather OCD about music…I make mix cds constantly. My kids are so used to me making themed mixes, they were confused when the other day I was listening to a mix someone gave me with no theme to it. It was like they couldn’t accept it had no theme and kept trying to give it one.

    You might enjoy this site:


    I was a teen in the 80s, too, but listened to, um, less mainstream music than you did, Allison. I *still* listen to Wham, though.

  • facethemusic October 17, 2007, 6:33 am

    Great article Allison!
    This is interesting to me, thoughts are just occurring to me, that I’ve never really thought of before.
    I’ve actually always preferred to listen to an entire CD– not a mix. I DID make them back in the 80’s when it was the thing to do– but even then, I listened to the orginal cassettes in their entirety, more than I listened to my mixed tapes.
    And that seems to have carried over into my adulthood, and has even intensified. If I’m the mood for Alison Krauss, I want to hear the whole album, not just one song, then all of a sudden, ZoeGirl pops up. They’re two different sounds, and even though I absolutely LOVE both, I don’t want to hear one song from one, followed by one song from the other.
    I don’t even listen to the radio anymore. I haven’t in years. Isn’t that weird? Maybe that’s why!

  • Alison Moore Smith October 17, 2007, 1:36 pm

    Do tell, Susan!

    Thanks, Tracy.

    As for the music, not me. I’m just a song person, not a group person. Most of my albums went entirely to waste since I’d love one or two song and dislike the rest. Only a few exceptions.

  • Oregonian October 23, 2007, 1:21 am

    This is a great article. But did everyone miss the point? It’s not about popular music. No offense intended but it sounds like you all just read the first part before you posted.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 28, 2007, 1:32 am

    Well, now that you mention it…you’re right. It really wasn’t about 80s music. But at least someone read the first paragraph!

  • davidson October 29, 2007, 7:15 am

    Sweet Alison. Oregonian is right. I loved what you said and what you meant, and I’m sorry I didn’t comment sooner. I had a “living in a music video” moment yesterday. It was in Sacrament meeting. It was the day for the Children’s Sacrament Meeting program, and the organist was playing Primary songs for the prelude music. I was listening and loving it, and then my 15 year-old daughter scooted over close to me and laid her head on my shoulder. I just can’t explain the joy that welled up in me. It all felt so good, so right. I loved being there, experiencing what was happening. I took a risk and squeezed my little daughter and whispered to the top of her head, “This is my idea of heaven, Honey: this beautiful music and you right here beside me.” She looked up at me with surprise and kind of a vulnerable gratitude. I winced at the surprise! I tell her all the time that I love her, but I need to remember to notice (and point out) the Heaven all around me, part of which she creates. A Kodak moment of the heart.

    I have a suggestion and an invitation. Someone (and I honestly can’t remember who) mentioned, concerning being involved at this website, “if you’re gonna dish it out, you’ve gotta be able to take it.” (Or something like that.) It made me take a good, hard look at myself. I recognized that I had strong opinions about what others should do, but when others expressed their strong opinions about what I should do, I felt attacked and hurt. Even cried. I told myself, “It matters too much. It’s time to drop out. I can’t take it, so it’s probably time to stop dishing.” I think the exchange of ideas and opinions can be so good and so bad. In other threads, we’re exploring ideas about topics that are hot issues in our hearts. I REFUSE to believe that it isn’t affecting you, refuse to believe that you don’t feel attacked and hurt. I just can’t believe that your heart gets punched down and you come up smiling, saying “No big deal.” Nobody’s that tough.

    So, why don’t we remember to notice, like Alison said? I think we’ve been focusing too much on our differences concerning areas of heat, and not even mentioning what we love and admire in our sisters and their opinions, not remembering to rejoice out loud over what we have in common. I remember a time when my sisters and I were standing in my mother’s kitchen, and someone started in with, “Do you know what I really love and appreciate about you?” And others followed suit, and there were hugs and tears. It was wonderful and sweet and pretty awkward. I finally said, “This is getting a little too sappy, isn’t it?” And my twin said, “Life IS sappy, isn’t it?”

    So, sappy or not, I think we can balance the hurt we feel when getting our opinions bashed by remembering to notice the Heaven all around us and POINTING IT OUT. We can’t ignore that part, or this website will become little more than a place to come to get your feelings hurt. I guess I am addicted to you. I can’t leave. I was so lonely and so hungry for friendships. I still need you. Since I can’t read your tone of voice in black ink, I need your assurance that you don’t think I’m an idiot–or if you DO think I’m an idiot over some things, there are other things you still love about me. We need to say it out loud, instead of just thinking it and letting it pass. Agreed?

  • kiar October 29, 2007, 8:13 am

    agreed, totally!

  • Alison Moore Smith October 29, 2007, 8:40 am

    Great insights, thanks much. 🙂

  • mikesmullin November 5, 2007, 9:29 pm

    I imagine that must have been before the RIAA was busting college kids for starting nonsense like Napster, too 🙂

  • Alison Moore Smith November 6, 2007, 1:41 am

    Are you kidding? I was in college long before Al Gore invented the internet. And a hearty welcome to you, Mike. :bigsmile:

  • davidson November 6, 2007, 5:59 am

    Ha! Hi, Mike. Welcome. I like you already.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge