I was riding around with my Morehouse brother the other day, messing with his ipod and playing DJ when I put on an Earth, Wind and Fire song titled All About Love.
“What is this,” he asked.
“Man, this is the elements,” I responded with a shriek.
Yeah he looked at me like I had lost my mind. Mainly because it’s not a well known song, but also because it starts in song and then ends with some deep, old school, spoken word. So I can understand that he was taken aback. But when you listen to the words, man they were smooth with it back then. OK actually there’s some rambling and they were probably high off something, but there’s still plenty of truth in it. Check some of the lyrics:
Paint a pretty smile each day, lovin is a blessing.
Never let it fade away.
It's all about love.
Build yourself a true romance.
There's beauty that surround you
You deserve, just one more chance, my dear, my dear...
After hearing the song my Morehouse brother was the second person to say to me, “This sounds like something Andre 3000 would do.” Probably so. But it was done 30+ years ago and my mother got me hooked on this song. She loovvveees this song! Ya hear me? I mean she would play it and then go line by line and break this song down. And so I love this song.
And this got me thinking about music and its influence on our lives. There are songs we fall in love with because of our own personal experiences: our childhood, the era we grew up in, our first kiss, falling in love and then getting our heart broken, the hot beats and lyrics, songs that speak to our heart, mind, soul, and generation. But there are songs that we love because someone else loved them first and then hipped us to the game.
Growing up riding around with my parents I was forced to listen to their music. Motown, the Chi-lites, the Spinners, Quiet Storm, the list is endless. With certain songs came squeals, stories and then memories from my mother. Friends of Distinction,-You Got Me Going in Circles, “Oooo this song was out when I first started dating you father.” The Temptations-Papa Was a Rolling Stone, “Ooooo I had a party on the third of September and we played this song!” Anything by Chaka Khan, “Oooo we used to see her perform in the clubs before she was famous.”
I fell in love with her songs, but more importantly I fell in love with her stories. I would close my eyes and envision my parents partying it up all over Chicago, hanging out at smoky nightclubs, falling in love, becoming adults. With each memory I saw my mother as a real person, someone who had a life before children, career, mortgage and real responsibilities. A girl who liked to have fun.
And so there I was the other day, a girl who likes to have fun, riding around aimlessly, listening to one of my mother’s favorite songs and then playing some of my own. Creating my life soundtrack and making my own memories so that maybe one day I’ll tell my kids, “Oooo that’s my song…”
That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!
An extra treat!