10 Songs That Shaped My Life…

10.)  Love Shack by The B-52’s

“Tin roof…Rusted…” <–C’mon who doesn’t remember that?!

I fell in love with this song at the ripe old age of 8, and it is my first memory of hearing a song, and feeling an intense urge to bust a move.  This song sprung a barrage of made up dances between me and my childhood best friend, and I always, and I repeat ALWAYS had to do the “Tin roof…Rusted part,” or else I got really p’o-ed.  Just ask Bekka Parker (she was my childhood bff.)  Anyway, recently my brother heard it on satellite radio and he had to let me know, because I think he, along with my whole family, remembers when my friend and I would make up dances to it, and demand that they all watch us dance around like little freaks.  I think they’re still scarred…

Ummm...cowbells as an instrument? Brilliant!

Listen to it and see if it makes you wanna shake your groove thing…


9.)  The Sign by Ace of Base

Just a few short years later when I was about 11 or 12 “The Sign” came onto the scene.  I remember I was at the roller rink for a birthday party, and I heard this catchy pop melody playing from the jukebox, and thinking, “What is that glorious pop music I am hearing right now?!  I must find out!”  Someone informed me it was Ace of Base’s “The Sign,” which instantaneously put me on a mission the second I got home, to pop a cassette in my boombox, and try to catch it on the radio so I could tape it.  Once I finally recorded it, I must have listened to it a hundred times.

However, my love affair with this song quickly ended, when my dad tried to get me to sing it for an audition for Star Search a couple of years later.  I remember thinking that the song was soooooo old, and I felt so dorky doing it.  I ended up not going for the audition, and I couldn’t listen to the song for years after, because it reminded me of my adolescent awkward self trying to sing “I saw the sign, I saw the si–i-i-i-i-gn…I saw the sign…and it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign.”  Actually I can’t even think about it now, because it’s giving me the creeps!  Awkward!

But I still love the song!

"Life is demanding, without understanding." <--How profound...

Wanna hear it?  Listen below…


***Disclaimer:  I promise after this next one, I am done with all the cheesy pop music.***

8.)  Genie in a Bottle by Christina Aguilera

“I’m a genie in a bottle ba-bayyy, you gotta rub me the right way hon-eyyy…”<–Ahhwhat?

Yeah, she really said that.

So, I had to put this song on the list because when I think of being a teeny-bopper, I think of this song.  I used to sing this song in my 1994 white Ford Tempo, with the volume all the way up, and had no idea what these lyrics meant.  I honestly thought she was talking about a genie in a bottle.  Ummm..duh!  Straight up though, this song makes me think of my youth.  When I hear it, memories of belly baring shirts, over-highlighted hair, pink lip gloss, and poor imitations of Christina’s riffing, come flooding back…in a good way.

Back when Christina was Christina and not diiiiiirty X-Tina.

Wanna listen to X-Tina wail about a genie in a bottle?  Have a listen below…


7.)  Both Hands by Ani Difranco

When I moved to New York for college when I was 19, was when I became all artsy-fartsy.  It’s also when I discovered Ani Difranco…also know as…ANI (said with great awe and enthusiasm.)  One of the first friends I met in NYC was playing around one night on her acoustic guitar and played “Both Hands” for me.  I remember hearing the lyrics, “I’m recording our history now on the bedroom wall, and when we leave the landlord will come
and paint over it all.”  This song always gives me a nostalgic feeling, and makes me think of my first year in New York.

Love her.

Wanna experience pure brilliance?  Listen below.

02 Both Hands

6.)  Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel

“My heart goin’ boom, boom, boom…”

This song defines my early 20’s.  After finishing school in New York, and feeling a little lost, I moved back home to Michigan for two years.  During that time, I put myself through cosmetology school, went through a bad break-up, and decided to move back to New York to pursue acting again and to try working as a hairstylist.  I just remember listening to this song over and over in my car when I was getting ready to go back to NYC, and being moved by it.  I don’t know how else to explain it.

If you ever go through a transitional phase in your life, discover this song.

This song will change your life.  Listen to it below and see for yourself…

Solsbury Hill

5.)  Gypsy by Fleetwood Mac

So, basically I am obsessed with Stevie Nicks…the hair, the long flowy dresses, the knee-high boots, the black-rimmed eyeliner, etc.  She’s no classic beauty, but she’s awesome.

This song reminds me of the second time I moved to New York, and the tiny little room I moved into.  You could seriously only fit a twin bed (barely) in there, and a little dresser.  I used to listen to this song over and over again.

A couple of years ago, I went to see Fleetwood Mac in a concert at Madison Square Garden, and Stevie sang this song.  She was amazing…naturally.  She said Gypsy is about finding love and about friendships.  This is what Stevie said about it: “Lightening strikes maybe once, maybe twice… that means one time in your life you find a very good friend, and maybe if you’re incredibly lucky, you might find a second. It all comes down to you, means but you have to look very hard.”

Love you, Stevie.

Seriously, how freaking cool is she?

Experience a little Stevie in your life…

04 Gypsy

4.)  Defying Gravity from the musical Wicked

Okay, so you all knew a quintessential theater nerd couldn’t resist putting at least one show tune on this list.  Really though, this song is phenom.

When I think of this song I think about coming to terms with leaving a bad job situation.  I had worked in a salon for a while, but over time, it became clear that it was not working out how I hoped it would.  It was disappointing, but I knew I had to move on.  I was scared to take such a risk, though.  I had put in a lot of time and hard work, so it was devastating to realize it was falling apart.  On top of all that, I was just feeling like I wasn’t good at anything.  It was kind of a low point, but I knew it had to get better because it couldn’t get any worse.

Right around that time, my Grandma Barkoff ended up passing away, and I went home to be with my family.  While I was home, I knew it was time to cut the strings with the job situation.  It took a lot of courage, but I finally left the job and moved on.  I ended up finding an amazing job soon after, where I felt appreciated and finally recognized for my talents.  It was the best decision I ever made.

And thus, “Defying Gravity” became my anthem.

P.S.  You know you’re a theater nerd when nothing pumps you up more than a show tune.

"I'm flying high defying gravity."

Get lifted.  Listen below…

11 Defying Gravity

3.)  Is this Love by Bob Marley

This song hands down reminds me of when Matt and I were falling in love.  On our second date he took me to a G Love concert in Central Park.  I remember he waited with me in line for almost an hour to use the gross porta-potty, and while we waited there we heard “Is this Love” by Bob Marley.  I said, “Oh my God, I love this song,” to which he replied, “Me too.”  We then had an awkward moment trying not to look at each other, because we were both probably thinking the same thing, which was…Is this love?

Bob the legend.

Wanna find out if this is love?  Listen below…

13 Is This Love

2.)  Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes by Paul Simon

“People say she’s crazy, she’s got diamonds on the soles of her shoes.  Well, that’s one way to lose these walking blues, diamonds on the soles of your shoes.”

Oh Paul Simon, what can I say?  You speaka my language.

It was hard for me to narrow it down to just one Paul Simon song, because he is my favorite artist of all time.  There is something so completely beautiful about his lyrics and his ability to string melodies into them.  Recently I was a Barnes and Noble and got really excited when I found a hard-covered Paul Simon Lyrics coffee table book on one of those 60% off sales.  I snatched it right up, and have every intention of displaying it on my coffee table when Matt and I finally have a real apartment soon.  I love him and I love this song.

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes reminds me of when Matt and I first arrived in Grenada.  We listened to Paul Simon’s greatest hits album like it was out J-O-B.  This song was the perfect song to listen to after coming to a tropical paradise from the bitter cold of a New York winter.  It’s got sort of a Caribbean flair to it, and will always remind me of when we Matt started his medical career.

Wanna be soul-mates with me, Paul Simon?

Have a listen for yourself…


1.)  Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

To know this song, is to love it.

I first heard this version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow probably about ten years ago.  It was playing in the credits at the end of a movie, which I can’t remember what that movie was now.  I absolutely loved it, and I have loved it ever since.

When I met Matt I found out that he loved it, too, and it basically became the theme song of our relationship.  It was playing when we got engaged, I walked down the aisle at our wedding to it, and we also had our first dance to it, too.  We both just absolutely love it, and maybe that’s because we both love Hawaii, and this song reminds us of paradise.  Either way, it’s a beautiful song, and in my opinion, the most beautiful ever.

Brother Iz is the bomb.

Listen below…


~The End

Photos courtesy of blog.ctnews.com, amazon.com, freecodesource.com, worleygig.com, blog.needsupply.com, eightoclocktwilight.wordpress.com, rockhall.com, musicstack.com.

33 thoughts on “10 Songs That Shaped My Life…

      • Mine broke down more times than i can count, including the front tire coming off (while I was skipping school! oops) I was going one direction and the wheel was going the other. I think the radio may have been the only thing that worked.

  1. Hands Down LOVE Song #1 – AMAZING!!! No words to describe that song just have to soak it in:) Love #5 & #3 too. I cannot stand Love Shack – I even banned it at my Wedding reception and threaten the DJ with his live if he honored that request from any of my guests! Thanks for sharing and Have a Great Weekend:)

    • Aww man! No love for the Love Shack?! Ha! It’s funny because after I wrote this post, I was thinking the opposite…I wish I would have told our band to play it at our wedding!!

  2. I have a million things to say:
    First off, I have been thinking for months that I wanted to do a post similar to this, and this has inspired me to just do it already. I love that you added links to listen. I hadn’t thought of that and it makes it SO much better because I listened to each song as I read about what they meant to you.
    Ace of Base will always be 5th and 6th grade for me. Oh man, I totally remember calling my friend Amanda Hood telling her to hurry and turn on 102.7 KIIS fm because Don’t Turn Around was playing.
    LOVE Solsbury Hill, and totally know what you mean about it being a transitional phase of life song, it totally is. I feel like it’s sort of, youth turning into adult transition. And I’m so glad to know I wasn’t the only one feeling lost after graduating high school. The seven months I spent at home between graduating college and moving to New York were some of the darkest in my life. Aside from some big family problems, it was just tough for me to make that adjustment into the real world and figuring out what I want to do (six years later and I still don’t know…)
    THANK YOU for sharing that ADORABLE story about the Bob Marley song. Even though I don’t know you and Matt I can totally imagine the scenario and it is seriously so sweet.
    Anyone who says they don’t like that version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow is dead inside. Seriously. I love that you walked down the aisle to it. That is so beautiful and I love that it’s been a theme song for you guys. My sister in law played it all the time for my niece when she was a baby so now it always makes me think of her. It’s one of those songs that I can hardly hear without crying because it’s just so beautiful.
    Thank you for this post and inspiring me! 🙂

  3. Love the list! Especially the Wicked reference. The last job interview I had I listened to it on my way to the meeting and I was so pumped singing the song at the top of my lungs that I felt that I could take on the world…and low and behold I got the job. Not to say Idina Menzel is the reason, but I can’t rule it out!

    • Yes!!!! Listening to “Defying Gravity” should be a requirement before a job interview, or anything really really big in ones life;)

  4. Awww, agree with you on so many! Ani truly changed my life! And I totally remember jamming to Genie in a Bottle in the good ol’ Tempo. Also that Whitney song that we were obsessed with– I remember buying the single tape at Sam Goody in Laurel Park mall, hahaha.

    • Lac, I have a feeling we were so the same…being cheerleaders and all in high school, and driving our sweet a** hoopty’s! My whole squad and I used to drive around in each others cars listening to Christina, Britney, Eminiem (bc we were from Detroit), and ummm…DMX! Ha! So crazy.

  5. LOL the B-52’s Love Shack story is so similar to my childhood. I guess the dancer within can’t help but make everyone watch their production : ) And the “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”…I walked down the aisle to that myself. (the acoustic Jason Castro version.)
    Anyway…great blog.

    • Krystal! Thanks for reading!! On a side note, remember when we made music videos and danced around to Madonna at your house?! Ha! We were oh so sassy!

  6. I have an eclectic taste in music to put it mildly, but if one song was to describe my life it would be ‘We Are The Champions’ by Queen.

    Love your selection! 🙂


  7. LOL, stumbled into your blog tonight and had to laugh at the good fun and silliness of many of the posts. Your top 10music brought back some memories. Stevie Knicks is my girlfriend even though I broke up with her for my true love and mother of my daughter. Somewhere Over The Rainbow defines honestly and when you and Matt share this song with your children you’ll really understand that planet earth is the best planet to live on.
    thanks for the fun.

  8. Is it sad that my association with 9&10 are both with Full House? I laughed about Genie in a Bottle, because I was the same. Remember the video? I badly wanted her like triangle belly shirt. #5 is why I know we’re still separated at birth. Told you on FB how this has been in my head for weeks. Nothing better than Stevie or some Fleetwood Mac. One of my favorites besides Gypsy is Silver Springs, gah I could just listen to it over and over. Loveeee her! 4. I love the music of Wicked, and I adore Idina Menzel, like a lot. I would kill to see the full musical. But I’m totally a musical theater buff, love me some show tunes!

    • I think you may have mentioned your love for Stevie to me before! First it was Dolly, now Stevie?!?! We are so the same. Omg, Silver Springs was also in the running for this list, but I didn’t want to put two Stevie songs on it. I am obsessed with Silver Springs!! I like to sing it all dramatic and stuff.

  9. Sarah,

    Thanks for taking me down your memory lane. I smiled, laughed, danced and sang. It was great. Music is epic, ain’t it?… Thanks for sharing “)

    Stevie Nicks is great. “It only thunders when it’s raining…” memories.

    • Yay! See, this was exactly what I was going for when I made this list! I wanted people reading it to listen to these songs and have a dance party, but also contemplate life. Awesome awesome awesome.

  10. Sarah, I loved this!!! I had so many flashbacks it was hilarious!! Especially number #1!! OMG how many times did I have to watch that performance in our backyard!! But I absolutely Loved every minute of it!!

  11. I loveee love love Both Hands and Defying Gravity. Also, I went through a serious Genie in a Bottle phase though I was pretty young when I did so and I’ve gotta say I’m surprised my parents let me run around the house singing those raunchy lyrics.

    Love this post 🙂

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