No Such Thing As a Favorite Song - Nymblesmith
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No Such Thing As a Favorite Song

No Such Thing as a Favorite Song

But this is my favorite today

My son often asks me as we’re driving around to and from his scheduled and unscheduled events, “dad, what’s your favorite song?”

He loves all kinds of music, but what makes me happy is his joy in rock and roll music. He plays drums, is learning piano, and is almost constantly singing around the house. And like most 12 year olds, he is focused often on absolutes. Favorite things, games, movies, characters, songs. So it’s an obvious thing for him to ask, “what’s your favorite song,” maybe not realizing how many songs there are out there. How many good songs. Great songs, even.

So much factors into what you think and like and feel at any time that I believe there is no such thing as a favorite song.

I’ve been such a passionate listener of music for so long, it’s really hard to identify one single song that rises above the rest.

Favorite songs are like favorite moods. Or favorite movies. Or favorite flavors of ice cream. Like when Ted Lasso asked Roy Kent if he enjoyed the ice cream with his niece, Phoebe, “of course, it’s fucking ice cream!”

When I was young, like my son, Aiden, I was judgmental. I loved hard rock. I loved VanHalen. The Who. The mighty, Led Zeppelin. But, perhaps weirdly, I was exposed early on to a lot of musical theater music as well. I loved Carousel and Guys and Dolls. West Side Story and even the Gilbert and Sullivan my grandfather used to sing. My dad played Sinatra all the time, so the American songbook was central, even though around my pals I loudly disavowed everything that wasn’t guitar-centric rock music.

My tastes evolved from hard and classic rock to straight blues the first time I listened to Stevie Ray’s Couldn’t Stand the Weather in Jeff Simpson’s bedroom when I was about 15 trying unsuccessfully to pick up a lick or two on the guitar. Jeff was more successful and even ende up later in a band with a record deal.

We went to every concert we could manage. Large venues like the Meadowlands for Robert Plant and Madison Square Garden for Roger Waters and his Bleeding Heart Band to smaller venues and acts that didn’t draw such crowds like Maynard Ferguson in the Mendham High School auditorium. With Greg Bissonette on drums who would go on to play with the David Lee Roth band.

So even today, when I hear songs I haven’t heard for a long time, memories come flooding back. I remember where I was when I was listening to it. What I was watching. Who I was with. Even what I was smelling. Olfactory memory is absurdly strong.

Then there are tones and modes and modalities that make feelings come rushing back to bathe your brain in cortisol and dopamine.

Those are the songs that are my favorites at any given time. The ones that make me remember specific times and places and people. One favorite song? No, Aiden, there is no such thing. Not really. But my favorite song… today… that’s a different story altogether.

For whatever reason, this week, this is my favorite song. Connected intimately to one of my favorite movies.

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