Haunting My Head by Jen Em

On a whim, I started putting together a playlist of songs that have at some point gotten stuck in my head on a loop, Beautiful Music Lover. It’s starting small, because I’m remembering them a little at a time.

The more I progress on this journey of life, the more faith I put in “Divine Timing” and synchronicities, and the less likely I am to think of things as “coincidence.” And, because I believe something can be learned from nearly every (if not every) life situation, I tend to see the lyrics that hang as a message to signal, reflect, where I am on my journey. It’s a sort of beacon of what I’m putting out there, which is helpful, because there is so much we put out there unconsciously – so many unquestioned beliefs we hold. And those beliefs govern what we say to ourselves about ourselves. (…And about our lives, about the people around us, about how we’re treated, how we treat ourselves…)

I’m unpacking some lyrics and will be thinking of more songs to add.

I’ve begun with a song from a late 80s, early 90s band Portrait. I had this cassette single, and I just about wore it out. But I am pretty sure I still have this gem…

This is followed by the Duran Duran song that blew my mind when I first heard it in … I don’t know, late high school. It either played on KYIS (Kiss) FM or KJ103. I tried for days to catch it just right so I could record it off the radio to a cassette tape. Then I bought the cassette single when it hit Hastings (music movies and more, your total entertainment store,) and also the album when it came out. Ah. Aren’t we so lucky that it is so easy to find most of the music that strikes our ear? We live in glorious times.

Vasoline – my taste in music and general attitude toward life changed after I got a job at Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy. I fell in love with a girl before I knew I was gay – (a little complicated) – and along with Silver Chair and Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots happened. I started sleeping during the early parts of school, started hanging out till 1 am or later in the parking lot with my other music loving friend, Dave. The music is totally unrelated to the sleeping! The sleepiness was from all the hard work! haha
I shared a lot in that parking lot.

Oh, Pearl Jam! Theirs would be “One” probably and track five, was it called “Ocean”? It was on the same disc as Jeremy. You know what I’m talking ’bout.

Then II. Shadows by Childish Gambino. That song got stuck for probably a year after I heard it on All Songs Considered, and on and off again since then as well. I’ve chosen to associate it with Shadow work.

Great Headless Blank got stuck in my head thanks to All Songs Considered also. It was weird and well-timed

Coco Columbia. A lot of her songs aren’t permissible to play on the air, and they are damn good.

I helped Luke Neill with his show Sounds of PDX for a time when I first started at the station. Together we interviewed Dana Elizabeth, whose persona Coco Columbia (see above) has evolved as Dana has become interested in different aspects of music writing, creation and production. After meeting her and hearing her life experiences and musical philosophies, I was keen to check out her music, and I really dug what I heard. So I slowly worked through the music of Coco Columbia and came to the song “Starchild”. Somehow that particular song got stuck for weeks, maybe months. I puzzled over the lyrics, and remember asking her about them over Facetime. She wanted to know what I thought about it before she divulged the origins. The recurrence of that song on my inner jukebox rotation got to a point where it felt sort of like some weirdly orchestrated, beautiful torture. And indeed it is beautiful, but I think I listened to it about 222 times trying to get it to stop playing in my head. (You know what though, I still love it.)

Mushaboom stoked the fire of me wanting to live out in the country. I thought I’d left that life behind when my family moved away from the ranch upon which I spent many of my childhood years. It gets stuck on and off to this day.

Alison Krauss’s “Oh Atlanta” gets stuck in my head any time anyone says Atlanta. I have a close friend who is from Atlanta. Sometimes it pops in my head when I talk to her, just because I know that fact about her. I did not include this song. You know, you can look it up, but… just be forewarned.

A Lot Is Gonna Change popped up about the time I started getting signs that … well, a lot was gonna change. It was stuck like Chuck for days. One of my favorite Weyes Blood songs.

Door by Caroline Polachek is one that consistently gets stuck – every time I hear it, it’s like a reboot. “Oh, this song again, did you want to hear that on repeat in your head for a few hours? You got it,” says the Inside Out- like tricksters that run my own personal jukebox.

I wrote a blog post related to “Door” here.

And then there are the songs that have gotten stuck more recently that maybe I haven’t completely sussed out yet. To Be Loved has popped up a lot, especially, I think, when working through situations in my head where other people have engaged in behaviors that I don’t understand – it helps me remember, we are all seeking to be loved. Sometimes we don’t know how to ask for it. RJD2’s Games You Can Win comes up usually when I’m pulling up thoughts that, really, don’t have an answer or a solution or a “win” and reminds me to stop playing the game of thinking about them. Play the games you can win, Jen.

A gentle reminder: there are a few explicit words in some of the songs on this playlist.

Well, there you have it –

Enjoy “Haunting My Head

Here We Go Again! by Portrait
Ordinary World by Duran Duran
Vasoline by Stone Temple Pilots
II. Shadows by Childish Gambino
Great Headless Blank by Makeunder
Star Child (featuring Fabian Rush) by Coco Columbia

Big Bang Baby by Stone Temple Pilots
Mushaboom by Feist
A Lot’s Gonna Change by Weyes Blood
Door by Caroline Polachek
Due West by Kelsey Lu

To Be Loved by Askjell and AURORA
Games You Can Win by RJD2

Extra Credit:

I Knew You When by Late Night Alumni. Not available on Spotify, but I think  I find it on YouTube. In fact, let me go sniff around for you. You don’t *have* to use the link, if you like such detective work. Here it is: It is stunning.

Jen Spins
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