“Flashback, warm nights. Almost left behind. Suitcases of memories. Time after…” -Cyndi Lauper, “Time After Time”
Even a person with 80+ iTunes playlists can get bored with them after a while. A few months ago, I asked my friend for a playlist challenge, and he told me to make a playlist with a song for every year of my life. I immediately started on it but got busy and didn’t finish it until now – just in time for my birthday. How appropriate!
This was initially just going to be a playlist of songs I loved from every year of my life. As I got into it, though, it started taking on a life of its own. There were too many songs from certain years to choose just one of significance. Naturally, I set parameters. As always, each artist/musician only gets one song. Every song on this list came out as a single (if it was released a single) in the year given, even if the album came out before, so it most likely was how/when I found the song. In other words, if I discovered a song in 2007, but it came out in 2004, it was disqualified. This required some research on my part, but it was fun going down Memory Lane and remembering which years had great music and which ones didn’t. I also had to love the song in the year it came out, save for first three or so years of my life that I obviously don’t remember but do remember liking the songs at a young age. Finally, I have to still like them. I think you’ll find a good mixture of genres, classics, and… shall we say non-classics a.k.a. cheesy, slightly guilty pleasures?
Seeing as this site is called “A Melody, The Memory” after a Mae song, what better place to share both some melodies and some memories?
Who doesn’t love a little nostalgia porn? Isn’t that why we all watch “Stranger Things”?
1984 – “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper
This song has been covered so many times (I have 10+ of them), but nothing touches the original. I remember listening to a cover by Tuck & Patti with my dad when I was little, but I still remember listening to this one, too, and still remember the video. It’s one of my absolute favourite songs ever, and I’m so glad it came out in my birth year because it works perfectly for the purposes of this playlist/blog.
1985 – “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears For Fears
Another oft-covered classic. Need I say more?
1986 – “Back in the High Life Again” by Steve Winwood
As I said in the About section on here, my parents once painted a Steve Winwood album cover (Arc of a Diver) on our wall when I was very young. I grew up in a house with music always playing, and that included anything by Steve Winwood. This is one of the first songs I remember really loving. Another all-time favourite to this day.
1987 – “With or Without You” by U2
U2 were another staple in our family, and I’m not sure why it’s uncool to like them now, but I don’t care. I’m sure a lot of people remember this from Friends, but I remember it from way earlier than that. Easily my favourite U2 song and another all-timer. (Side note: I’d kill to hear Darren Hayes or Jared Leto cover it.)
1988 – “Angel” by Aerosmith
I don’t remember how I got into this song, but it’s definitely one of the first I remember loving to the point that I’m pretty sure I had my own 45 of it with my children’s record player. I certainly wasn’t listening to music most 3-4 year-olds listened to back then. The video still creeps me out, though!
1989 – “Right Here Waiting” by Richard Marx
Ah, Richard Marx… I think I had the whole Repeat Offender album on tape when it came out, but this was the song that made me a fan. (I still don’t understand how some people chose it as their wedding song back in the day. Do they not know how sad it is?!) I followed him throughout the years and still consider myself a fan.
A card from my sister… in 2012.
1990 – “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips
I used to ride my bike and listen to Wilson Phillips, pretending I was in the group. I will never forget the despair I felt when this tape broke. My sister and I still use this song to cheer each other up and sing it whenever we’re actually together… Harold and Kumar-style. (Is there any other way?)
1991 – “Horses” by Rickie Lee Jones
Another one I listened to with my dad a lot as a kid, along with “Satellites.” I think it was kind of our song.
1992 – “Why” by Annie Lennox
If you don’t like Annie Lennox, I don’t want to know you. This is yet another favourite to this day. I’ll probably write more about it in a future blog, so I’ll save my thoughts on it…
1993 – “Jessie” by Joshua Kadison
This is another one my sister and I love – so much that she named her cat Moses after the cat in the song. I recently read that there was sort of a follow-up song to it, and I refuse to listen to it because I don’t want anything to tarnish my idea of this poor guy who is obviously too good for Jessie but will drop everything for her. (Even if it does have a happy ending.) Everyone can relate to that sad hope.
1994 – “If You Go” by Jon Secada
I’ve actually loved Jon Secada (first celebrity crush I remember) since 1992, but this one was my favourite. I swear I listened to it every day and thought I was going to marry him. He was actually my first concert, too, in 1995.
1995 – “Let It Flow” by Toni Braxton
I think Toni Braxton’s Secrets album was her best. This song still gets me. She and Babyface made such a great duo.
1996 – “I’m Still in Love With You” by New Edition
Back in the late ’90s and early ’00s, I was known for being a pretty massive New Edition fan and was well known in that circle, thanks to websites I made about them. This was the song that made me a fan. I definitely watched this video every day, too.
1997 – “4 Seasons of Loneliness” by Boyz II Men
You can’t really be a New Edition fan without being a Boyz II Men fan so…
1998 – “All That I Am” by Joe
This and “No One Else Comes Close” are easily my favourite Joe songs and also on the Favourite Songs Ever playlist. So sweet.
1999 – “You” by Jesse Powell
I honestly don’t think I know/remember anything else by Jesse Powell, but this is another super sweet song that I absolutely love.
2000 – “Swear It Again” by Westlife
Hi, I’m Lindsey. I’m the American Westlife fan. As big as Westlife were everywhere else, Americans seemed to forget about them after this song, which isn’t even one of my top 10 favourites of theirs. I never forgot about them. I’m never gonna say goodbye ’cause I never wanna see you cry… I followed them to the end and still listen to them all the time. My dream is to see them on a reunion tour, especially now that I’m living in the UK. I’m not over their breakup. They should know this love we share was never made to die… I’ll stop quoting them now before I get too caught up in my sadness to finish this post.
2001 – “What I Really Meant To Say” by Cyndi Thomson
I don’t listen to many female artists or a lot of country. Cyndi Thomson breaks the rules. Another sad favourite I think we’ve all experienced.
2002 – “Revolution” by Jars of Clay
Believe it or not, I used to be religious and listen to music like this. I actually still like some bands like Jars of Clay, Lifehouse, and Relient K, as long as they’re not obviously religious. This one is still a fun pick-me-up.
2003 – “Falls On Me” by Fuel
I can’t quite remember if this is the song that made me a Fuel fan, but I do love it (and them) to this day.
2004 – “Come On” by Ben Jelen
Ben Jelen may(?) have been another one-hit wonder, but I still listen to Give It All Away a lot. It’s just a beautiful album, start to finish. This is the song that made me a fan. I wish he’d make more music and tour!
2005 – “Why Don’t the Buildings Cry?” by Youth Group
I know this album came out earlier in Youth Group’s native Australia, but it came out in 2005 in the US. I remember hearing this when I was working at FYE, and we got it as a promo CD. I loved it so much I bought it for myself. This song is another favourite. (Believe it or not, my favourites playlist doesn’t even have 100 songs, but a lot still show up on this playlist, too.)
2006 – “Dark Blue” by Jack’s Mannequin
“Have you ever been alone in a crowded room?” I heard this song in a store and was struck by that line. I had no idea how much that would change my life, but it did, just like that bit from the picture above in Garden State. I’ve written about how much I love Andrew McMahon before. I don’t think I need to say any more.
2007 – “Extraordinary” by Mandy Moore
I think in my first blog on here, I wrote about how I started a playlist called Every Day Songs in 2007 that was basically songs I listened to every day at that point (I can be a bit obsessive) and wanted them on a playlist for easy access. I very rarely delete from the playlist and currently have 404 songs on it that I listened to every day at some point. It’s funny hearing the songs and remembering what was going on in my life in a certain year or month.
I picked this song for this year because a lot of songs from the playlist in 2007 were not actually from 2007, and this one still perks me up and motivates me. Mandy Moore is one of my favourite celebrities, and I have a massive girl crush on her. Plus, this song came out around the time of a big life change where I finally decided what I wanted to do with my life and was ready to be ‘extraordinary.’
2008 – “Call It Off” by Tegan and Sara
I don’t know if this was released as a single exactly, but the video came out in 2008. I don’t remember exactly how I heard it (I think a friend shared it with me), but this is one of those songs that instantly takes me back to a very specific time of my life, down to the month and maybe even week. I can’t hear it without thinking of that particular time.
2009 – “Fact-Fiction” by Mads Langer
This song is just so sad and so beautiful. (Notice a theme here?) I have a few Mads Langer songs and really should listen to him more. So should you.
2010 – “The Weakends” by Motion City Soundtrack
2010 was a bit of a difficult year to do because it was a huge year for me, but most of the music I was listening to was older. My Dinosaur Life is a great album, though, and this is my favourite on it.
2011 – “Save Me” by Golden State
James Grundler, the lead from Golden State, was in another favourite band, Paloalto, and I followed him to Golden State. I had a lot of favourites from them in 2011, but this one was covered by Tyler Blackburn (of Pretty Little Liars fame), and I really love both versions.
2012 – “Angels” by The XX
Another difficult year for music actually coming out in 2012. I’m fairly certain I heard this song after Andrew McMahon posted about it somewhere, and I fell in love with it. Hauntingly beautiful.
2013 – “Do or Die” by 30 Seconds to Mars
I’ve had a crush on Jared Leto since 1994, which is probably longer than many/most of his fans have been alive. I never really listened to his music much, though, until 2012 when I stumbled upon his great cover of “Where The Streets Have No Name.” I’ve been a big fan since. “Do or Die” is another one of those songs that has been influential in my life at various times.
2014 – “Nothing Stays The Same” by Luke Sital-Singh
Honestly, how much do I have to gush about Luke Sital-Singh to make you listen to him? You should know by now… I heard this song on Red Band Society, and I have probably listened to it at least once a week since I became a fan. Now, stop listening to me and go listen to Luke.
2015 – “I Want You Anyway” by Jon McLaughlin
Another musician I gush about constantly. No list would be complete without him. Click the link in the last bit about Luke Sital-Singh to read more.
2016 – “Hallelujah” by Panic! At The Disco
I wasn’t really into Panic! until Death of a Bachelor came out, but it’s a really great album, and Brendon Urie puts on a phenomenal live show. I liked the album so much, I made a fan video for a little show I may have written a little or a lot about here. Shameless plug alert: You can watch the video here.
2017 – “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles
Say what you will about boy bands or boy band singers going solo, but Harry Styles is awesome (so were One Direction), and I’m not ashamed. He’s channelling some David Bowie and Queen here, and I am not going to complain. Let’s be honest, 2017 has not been a great year for many of us. This song makes it a little bit better or at least makes us feel like we’re not so alone in that. We all need that feeling sometimes.
Straight from my baby book… I still love that Madonna song, but it didn’t actually come out in 1987, so it couldn’t count.