All The Answers To My Questions I Have To Find

Every once in a while I get the end-of-weekend blahs on Sunday nights, but I am actually really happy that tomorrow is Monday because I have a hair appointment on Wednesday that cannot get here fast enough. I have a terrible case of the flathead that can only be cured by a healthy dose of blonde highlights and a significant increase in layers. Sometimes that is all that will do.

That was really random way to start a post. Perhaps I should commence with a recap of the weekend.

Cold weather showed up for at least part of this weekend, and I was just as tickled as I could be. Friday night we went to a high school football game, and it made me so happy to bundle up in a big, soft sweater coat and reacquaint myself with wearing gloves. If it’s windy and cold, I am usually sort of miserable (please see: last year’s State / Alabama game), but I can generally handle regular ole cold weather (well, the Birmingham variety, at least) for four quarters of football. Thankfully that was the case Friday night. Our team won, Alex and his buddies got to run all over the place for most of the game, and last but not least I remembered why I am such a devoted fan of heated seats when we got in the car after the game.

Saturday I had a book signing in Boaz, Alabama, which is a little over an hour away from us. Alex decided at the last minute that he wanted to go with me, so we set off on a little mama / son adventure while David stayed here and worked in the yard. It was a beautiful drive – the leaves are just starting to turn in northeast Alabama – and I loved getting to visit with some sweet people at the bookstore. We made it home by 3:30, which means that I was in my pajamas and watching college football by 3:31. That suited me just fine.

I decided early this morning that I was way overdue for stock-up trip to the Walmarts; I just needed a bunch of stuff like garbage bags and light bulbs (WHY IS LIGHTBULB SHOPPING SO UNNECESSARILY COMPLICATED AT THIS PARTICULAR POINT IN HISTORY?) and mascara other boring things that I don’t like to buy at the grocery store because I have an oddly compartmentalized mental list of what stuff you should buy at what stores. So, after our Sunday morning routine of church and Chuy’s (AS WE DO), I told D that I was going to push through and brave a trip to the Walmarts before I lost the will. This is where I’m tempted to go off on a tangent about how people were doing some really impressive things with scarves this morning at church (not, like, dancing with them – I mean wearing them in creative, sassy ways), but I’m going to resist that urge because I have something so much more important to tell you.


When we were leaving the Chuy’s parking lot, I heard a familiar sound on the radio, and almost instantly I was transported back to 1998 – when D and I had just bought our first house and spent most of our spare time painting and also painting and then, for fun, MORE PAINTING. It was a time when my clock radio was my ever-present musical companion, regardless of which room we were working on, and my favorite top 40 station played three particular songs at least once an hour, it seemed.

1. “Lullaby” by Shawn Mullins
2. “Are You That Somebody” by Aaliyah
3. “Never Ever” by All Saints

Which brings us to today. And the fact that I heard “Never Ever” on the radio. I still knew all the words – and after a verse or so, I got so tickled.

Because you know when you’d write a Very Meaningful Poem with Many Deep Thoughts in junior high?

That’s sort of what this song is like.

These are the lyrics to the “spoken word” portion of the song, and just so you know, I listened to the first minute about sixteen times this afternoon. I even downloaded it from iTunes because I’m certain that I never ever want to be without “Never Ever” again.

A few questions that I need to know
how you could ever hurt me so
I need to know what I’ve done wrong
and how long it’s been going on
Was it that I never paid enough attention?
Or did I not give enough affection?
Not only will your answers keep me sane
but I’ll know never to make the same mistake again
You can tell me to my face or even on the phone
You can write it in a letter, either way, I have to know
Did I never treat you right?
Did I always start the fight?
Either way, I’m going out of my mind
all the answers to my questions
I have to find

I know. It’s so cheesy. And they manipulate the rhyme like crazy. But I can’t help it. IT DELIGHTS ME. And more than anything else, I think, my rediscovery of “Never Ever” has reminded me that some songs are great even if critics would say that they’re not very good. Because sweet mercy, that whole spoken part? THAT IS ENTERTAINMENT.

What about y’all? Do you have any favorite songs that might err a little bit on the side of cheesy? Or maybe they’re super-sappy but you don’t care because “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” spoke to the most tormented parts of your teenage heart?

I can’t wait to read your comments.

(You can tell me to my face or even on the phone.)

(You can write it in a letter, either way, I have to know.)

(The end.)

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  1. I used to obsess over “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt as an angst-filled 17 year old. Finally married the guy just to quiet all the angst :)

  2. This song absolutely took me back a few years!
    Wilson Phillips – Hold On is also one of those songs for me that I just have to blast and sing along with no matter who’s around to laugh!

    • Amy in Austin, TX says:

      Oh my! Have you seen Bridesmaids? If not, you totally have to! That song is CENTRAL to the movie! (and besides, its funny!) :)

    • Yes! If I am in the car with the windows down and that song comes on…watch out! It literally makes my whole week : )

  3. When my husband and I first starting dating, the Spice Girls were topping the charts with “Wannabe” and it came on the radio for at least our first 10 dates! I found it catchy & coincidental so I would tease him often with “If you want to be my lover…” jokes. It was nearly a decade later when a friend let me know that the song actually has some naughty hidden meaning. Lovely.

  4. Amy in Austin, TX says:

    Omigosh! The song that SPOKE to my teenaged broken-heart was “I’m almost over you” by Sheena Easton. Soooo dramatic. Thanks for bringing this subject up and causing me to now have it stuck in my head – right before bed… :) ROFL!! Love you Boomama!

  5. I JUST downloaded this from iTunes a few days ago. I love this song.

  6. Maybe someone should write a heartfelt ballad about the pain of buying lightbulbs. How have we come to a place where something so mundane yet so necessary has become such an ordeal. I just want a 100 watt bulb for crying out loud!!

    • Natalie N. says:

      I know! Can’t I just get some sort of bonus credit for my super-obsessive recycling that allows me to still purchase incandescent light?!

  7. Oh goodness, yes! My ALL time song is Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl. Back when MTV was actual music videos, my parents would watch it on the weekends while doing things around the house. Even as a baby, I would pull up to the tv and bounce when that song came on. I remember jumping on the bed in my parent’s room to it, and playing the cassette tape until it wore out. Then, for years, I couldn’t find the song anywhere….until, the iPod. Glory Hallelujah. In my college years, I was reunited with my song, figured out I had some lyrics wrong THIS WHOLE TIME, and now I jam out to it regularly ever since. But, here is the CRAZIEST part. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I would listen to a variety of music on the way to work (at 5am) every morning. I’d have a wide variety going. From Selah, to some old school Michael Jackson, to Wilson Phillip’s Hold On (I’m with ya Michelle). I’d sing at the top of my lungs, play the drums on the steering wheel and just get down on Houston’s freeways at Oh God O’clock. Then, when I would turn on Uptown Girl, my daughter would get in the groove and start moving around like crazy. Little girl loves her some Billy Joel too! There is just something about that song that gets me to sing at the top of my lungs!!!!

  8. Pretty much all the songs on the album by Chicago 16-as in Hard to Say I’m Sorry and You’re the Inspiration. I remember dancing with a guy at a high school dance and singing You’re the Inspiration in his ear the whole time. Cringe!

  9. I still love Randy Travis’ song Forever and Ever. “I’m gonna love you, forever and ever, forever and ever, amen.” :)

  10. Way, way, back… to the early 70’s. How about “I Think I Love You” by the Partridge Family? haha! I was sure that I was going to marry David Cassidy. I was only 10 at the time, but, somehow, that was going to be my destiny. Sure am glad that God knows best. :-)

  11. Um. Yes. So many songs. “No one can change your life except for you” was an EPIC lyric for me from “Hold On” by the glory that is Wilson Philipps.

    Also, for YEARS my “jam” as “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Celine Dion. And if you’re at a karaoke bar with me, stand back. I will belt that song out with all the hand gestures and punches and assorted leg kick at various moments. There will be moments of cold. There will be flashes of light. There will be things I’d never do again, but then they’d always seemed right.

    • Oh my word I hadn’t thought of “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” in ages! That whole “album” hit at a pivotal time and was on replay for longer than was probably healthy….Perfect angst is what it was.

      Also, I never EVER tired of Trisha’s “The Song Remembers When.” I might still allegedly tear up when I hear the first notes but I’m not really sure. That’s a lie. I am sure. I cry like a baby.

  12. LOVE THOSE SONGS!!! You took me back to freshman year in college. Ahh….memories.

    A song that comes to my mind? Wilson Phillips, “Hold On.” Because who doesn’t love that song? So good.

  13. “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic. Nothing could express my feelings quite like that song. I distinctly remember listening and gazing into space as I thought about how unfair my life was…and yet, my heart would always go on. That, and “I Will Always Love You” Whitney Houston version.

  14. Well, in 1998 I was 14, so I was just starting to perfect the whole teen angst thing, hence the three songs you listed are very near and dear to my heart. I also loved (and still do) with an undying love Backstreet Boys’ “Quit Playin’ Games with My Heart.” Only a true classic will serve you well when dealing with your 8th grade crush and 15 years later when trying to calm a fussy baby girl at night. Because at 3 a.m. pushed to the brink with emotional and physical exhaustion, I still knew every single word. At that point, I think I barely knew my own name, but Backstreet Boys I got.

  15. Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Talk about angst. She wants to dance with somebody, but nobody wants to dance with HER??? There was no hope for me. However, the tune and the beat always made me smile and stand up and move. Couldn’t help myself. “Don’t you wanna dance, say you wanna dance…” And the video, oh my, the big hair. Excuse me how while I search for the video now. I need to see it again. And again. And again.

  16. We were at a wedding this weekend and at one point, the DJ played Backstreet’s Back, Bye Bye Bye and Wannabe in that order. All of the girl cousins in our mid-20s totally geeked out and sung every single word. I think I need to start putting my grocery list to music. It would make it that much easier to remember.

  17. OK. 100% agreement about the light bulbs!! What in the world?! I’ve had convos with random housewife strangers in the light bulb aisle about the complexity of these new labels. Please, just make things the way they were already. Ain’t nobody got time for dat ;)

  18. Yesterday I bought your book at the BPC bookstore and commented to the man in line behind me how I would love to get it signed. It’s a b’day gift for a girlfriend. Turns out, his son is of one of your employees. He was quite excited and impressed, as he should be. I am very sorry if this causes you any trouble! (not mixing work/blog) I’m sure it’s hard being famous and trying to maintain a normal life. Keep up the fine work, Boomama!

  19. I am STILL a fan two oh-so-80’s songs…
    “Don’t You (Forget about Me)” by Simple Minds–from the movie “The Breakfast Club”.
    “If you Leave” by OMD–from the movie “Pretty in Pink”

    I hear those two songs, I crank the radio and feel like I’m back in 9th grade at a junior high dance. Oh, the memories!!

  20. if you like never ever, you MUST listen to 98 degrees or Boys II Men radio on pandora. they play that song and alot of the 90’s song that you forgot about until you hear them playing! like brandy’s ‘have you ever’ or ‘dont let go’ by en vogue or how about ‘weak’ by SWV… i could go on all nite :)

  21. Forget music for a moment, now all I can think of is if I want to go to Chuy’s for lunch or dinner…..

  22. Uh….HELLO? There is perhaps only one song that summed up all that was sappy about my junior/senior year in high school, and it can be summed up in two words (’cause the song title is only two words – LOL!)……..Open. Arms……….nuff said! I was also all about some Chicago 16, and let’s not forget……AIR SUPPLY!!!!

    • I loved every bit of Chicago 16 but be still my heart at the AIR SUPPLY! (I totally just paused my comment to revisit “Making Love Out of Nothing of All” on the You-Tube. STILL GOOD AS EVER.

      Also, this just came to me, Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love is.”

  23. All I have to say is I graduated 8th grade In 1998. So yes, familiar with the song and the angst.

  24. Yes, summer of 1998, after my freshman year of college. My best friend was home for the summer and we’d drive around in her raggedy Mustang 5.0 listening to that song and many more even more embarrassing at top volume. Friends in Low Places and This Is How We Do It were also in rotation!

  25. Ok- the first song I thought of was Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares to You”. I used to listen to it on tape in my 1980 light green Honda Accord. My on-again-off-again-off-again, etc. etc. high school boyfriend caused me much angst, which I apparently enjoyed, and this song just used to kill my little broken heart….LOL
    Oh…if I only knew then what I know now!

  26. Oh my word! Hahahaha!!! I was like “what is Never Ever”?? & then I just read the spoken part & it hit me like a ton of bricks! It all came back so fast! I loved watching every minute of that video! The chunky hair highlights are the best, is that what you mean when you talk about getting your hair highlighted on Wednesday? ;-)

  27. Love this post! Mine are “The Next Time I Fall” by Peter Cetera and “Crazy For You” by Madonna. Good stuff!! Those transport me back to junior high every time.

  28. “This is where I’m tempted to go off on a tangent about how people were doing some really impressive things with scarves this morning at church (not, like, dancing with them – I mean wearing them in creative, sassy ways..”

    Oh snort!! and giggle out loud!!

    Growing up in the church in the late 60’s and 70’s, churches incorporated creative dancers. And oh my the awkward moments! There were some really cringe worthy movements and leaps. When they would run down the isles with scarf/ banners behind them, I remember as a little kid thinking – make this end. I am glad that went by the wayside.

  29. I don’t know where in the world I was in 1998, but I have never heard the song “Never Ever”! But now that I have — I’m hooked!

  30. Three Times a Lady – and I have a bad habit of not “registering” the words (even though I can sing along), so if it says something terrible, don’t judge me.
    By the way, when my husband and I first got married, some song came on the radio and he started to change the station and I said, “Oh, wait! I LOVE that song!” He looked at me like I’d grown a new head and said, “Do you know what it SAYS?” My reply? “Why, no. No, I do not!”

  31. Mary Feagley says:

    “Ooo oo oo oo ooh…I know this MUUCH is TRUUUE…” First song I ever slow-danced (see
    “sway at arms’ length” in the junior high dictionary. Little did I know that would start a lifelong love affair with this song and the Spandau Ballet. Oh my…gives me goosebumps just thinking about it! lol!

  32. Thanks to all for the walk down memory lane. I couldn’t think of one song other than “Super Freak”. I loved dancing to that one. Oh, and loved, loved, loved Leo Sayer’s “When I Need You”. On the light bulb topic, look up images of mercury poisoning due to stepping on one of the broken CFL “curly” lightbulbs. I’ll keep my old-fashioned ones, thank you very much. Forget energy saving, I’m a klutz and don’t need any of that. (On a side note, I have never confirmed that the whole mercury poisoning thing is true. As many do, I took it as the truth without researching.)

  33. Melissa H says:

    She Blinded Me with Science! And Super Freak was a great dance song.

  34. Kathleen George says:

    Love reading the comments. Boy, this a kindred post. What teenager/young woman didn’t have a song or two that helped them through the angsts & joy of life. I feel “Total Eclipse of the Heart ” Bonnie Tyler. Happy dance, “Shake your Booty” K.C. and the Sunshine Band. Loved yesterdays post too. Dang Boomama, I need to read your book.

  35. so, I recently did a list of some of my favorite songs. I’m pretty sure cheesy made the list more than once. Can you say Achy, Breaky Heart? I know. And I was already an adult. so sad. “…tell your brother Cliff who’s fist can tell my lips He never really liked me anyway.”

  36. Lynnette R says:

    So I read and re-read your title. A couple times actually. I’m not sure why but I was equal parts confused and amused. I see now that it’s a line from the “cheesy” song. Nice. So, I’m still confused and amused. But now I’m also delighted. You do that to me every single time. Love you Sophie :)

  37. Ahhh!!! I’d totally forgotten about “Never Ever.” I graduated from high school in ’98 so that song took me back to some very sweet memories too!