The First Few Years

Thursday, April 19, 2001 - Thursday, December 25, 2008


The first experience one has with music is almost always determined by the influence of one's parents, and for some, their grandparents as well. My father and grandmother on his side had made the decision that I was to know what, and I quote, "real music" was. This terminology originated from their derision for most of the music that had been released in the decade before I was born. I heard much of this music whilst riding in the back of my grandparents' truck.

Dividing The First Few Years into chronological subsections is difficult, because this was before I had began compartmentalizing my musical tastes into different eras of my life. Additionally, the later playlists are often defined as the soundtracks to what Nosiphus was presently working on, but all but the final four months of this playlist occurred before Nosiphus even existed.

I had thought about dividing it by pre-school and school eras, but that had little effect on my personal life and my musical tastes. Simply put, as far as my home life was concerned, the average day in 2004 wasn't really that different from the average day in 2007.

However, while it might not be divisible by time periods, there are definitely major events I can pinpoint to songs throughout the entire era.

Notable Songs

The opening track of this playlist is unquestionably the most important. Y.M.C.A. was the definitional song of my early formative years, and reigned supreme as my favorite song, unchallenged in that position for at least five years. As the opening track on Pure Disco, I heard it every single time the disc was played. It was ingrained into me as the epitome of disco. To this day, if I think about that time period, it is the first song that I think of.

However, I also have a unique memory for this song, although it was not the first time I ever encountered it. My elementary school had an annual event called Jump Rope for Heart, and this song was played as the last song in the set they'd have during the jump rope event. I specifically remember the 2007 event.

Boogie Oogie Oogie was the opening track to Jammin' Oldies, and as a result I would hear it every time the disc was played. I do have a specific memory for this song despite its heavy play. Sometime in early 2006, before I was in school, my grandmother played the disc on her living room stereo system. Although it wasn't the first time I heard it, I think it was the first time I heard it while not buckled into the back of the truck, meaning I could actually get up and move. I remember dancing to it without a care in the world.

One drizzly morning in 2007, I found myself in the back of the truck as we were leaving the Wal-Mart parking lot to begin one of our many leisurely drives around the country backroads. It is the second track on Jammin' Oldies, and since we had finished the first song on the way to Wal-Mart from the house, it began the rest of our journey. Additionally, at the age of six, I was too young to understand what he meant by the words "make up," so I had assumed cosmetics were involved somehow.

I still remember daydreaming while listening to this song one afternoon in 2007, at the age of six. I was sitting on the couch in my grandparents' living room, facing the fireplace. I seem to remember my mother sitting on my right. My father and grandparents were doing something else in another part of the house, but I can't remember exactly what. What I do remember is that as I'll Be Around played, I looked up above the mantlepiece, and I imagined that through it, there was a river, surrounded by forest on both sides. The water was glowing gold as the sun was setting, and I imagined myself on a wooden raft with a small sail in the middle, and I also remember a red bucket sitting on the raft. A cool breeze was blowing, and I watched as the raft, with me on it, sailed into the sunset.

I've never been a particularly big fan of country music, but this man was an exception to that. Ring of Fire was a favorite of mine for a very long time, and I distinctly remember that when I asked my grandmother to make a tape containing a whole bunch of songs, I asked her to place this song on it twice. I tried to get a third, but I she wouldn't let me. My grandfather noticed immediately when it appeared the second time. If I ever find said tape, I will create a Spotify playlist of it.

Rock the Boat as a song was not a particular favorite of mine, but the name of its artist certainly was. While I'd first heard the song years prior, I only discovered the name "Hues Corporation" in September 2008, shortly after the creation of Blue Cove in August. I had entered the Nosiphus era (although that name was still years off), and as a result, I drew a logo for them. This was one of the earliest examples of the Nosiphus proliferation that was still yet to come.

Cindy's Birthday is the sixth track on Boys of Rock 60's, Vol. 1, one of the many compilation discs that formed the basis of my musical knowledge during my early childhood. I liked it better than almost any other track on that disc. I distinctly remember listening to it as we drove through a nearby town in 2008. It wasn't the first time I'd ever heard it, but that drive was the perfect example of what my weekends were like in this era.

Early one morning in the mid-2000s, well before the sun had come up, we left on a out-of-state trip in the van. I don't remember if this particular trip was the 2006 Florida vacation, a visit to Branson, or if we were making the trek up to visit family in Indiana. What I do remember is hearing My Guy as we stopped at a light close to the freeway entrance. I'd heard it many times before, but this drowsy 4 AM memory is what has stuck with me over all these years. I likely went to sleep soon thereafter, which is why I have forgotten which trip.

At some point in 2008, I had acquired a small MP3 player, which I would use on a regular basis for the next few years. One Sunday afternoon, as we were visiting my great-grandmother's house for lunch, my grandfather and I took a walk into town, taking the same route he often took as a kid. I had my MP3 player and listened to this song as I strolled over. This occurred sometime in the spring of 2008.

This song had a more monumental impact on me than I realized at the time. I was in first grade, and had my first long-lasting, important crush. It was 3:00 on a beautiful, bright, clear-skied Saturday in the spring of 2008, and I was in the back of my grandparents' car. While we were driving home on the freeway, my grandmother put Classic Soft Rock: The Air That I Breathe into the car's slot-load CD drive. When I heard this song, I remember thinking about that girl. At the time, it was just an innocent thing, but looking back from today, I realize that this was the first time I had made a mental connection between a girl I liked and a song. For the first time, these two separate parts of my life had intersected.

One day in first grade music class, we were lying on the floor working on assignments. I was sitting next to a girl, and, being first graders, we started playing with our jackets, attempting to zip them together. My music teacher was playing some music while we worked. I remember this track playing in the background as that happened, which caused my existing crush on this girl to intensify as I thought about it later that day. This was the second time I had made that mental connection, and the first time it happened where the person in question was actually present.

He's The Greatest Dancer is the opening track to Pure Disco 3, which my grandmother hadn't actually bought alongside the first two albums. When I discovered it existed, I told her about it. Eventually, my father found it and bought it for her, but we didn't immediately play it. She decided to play it while we were in the van on the way back from a restaurant around 50 miles away. It was a fall afternoon around 7:00, and it was already dark. She put the CD in, and this song started to play. I had never heard this song before, but I loved it from the moment I heard it. To this day, I love to play it as I begin a long car journey.

In late 2008, and carrying into 2009, I developed an interest in playing cards, and started playing all the games that I could. From solitaire, poker, golf, war, and practically any other card game I learned of, I wanted to play it. 

As I often played Solitaire with music playing, every time I hear Ladies' Night, I think of playing cards. This is probably the strangest musical association I could possibly have, but I have my seven-year-old self's obsession with card games for that.