I’ll Be Where The Eagle’s Flying Higher And Higher

I am probably not what you would call a sentimental person.

It’s not that I don’t treasure my memories and all that stuff. Obviously I do because I write about them, well, A LOT.

But I’m not really somebody who holds on to another time in my life and thinks, “Well, THAT WAS THE BEST ANYTHING COULD HAVE EVER BEEN.” I don’t sit around and reminisce a lot. And I absolutely, positively don’t romanticize the past. I’m much more of a here and now kind of girl.

So when it comes to music, I typically don’t listen to certain stuff over and over just because it reminds me of a certain time in my life. Oh, I might give in to a minute or so of nostalgia (Buddy Jewell’s Sweet Southern Comfort, for example, ALWAYS reminds me of when Alex was a baby), but by and large I don’t hold on to music just because it’s from a specific time period. I still listen to some 90s music because, well, I think that lots of the 90s music is awesome, but I generally don’t listen to 80s music because, well, I think that lots of that music is terrible.

(I am not talking about the duets.)

(The 80s did duets better than anyone ever has.)

(I am also not talking about old George Michael music because every bit of that is classic – at least in my mind.)

I’ve been kind of obnoxiously vocal about my disdain for most 80s music, and whenever my husband leaves the car radio on 80s on 8, for example, I might / occasionally / perhaps / sort of roll my eyes and think, “WE ARE NOT TEENAGERS ANYMORE – IT MIGHT BE TIME TO LET SOME OF THIS STUFF GO.” I don’t have an 80s playlist on my iTunes, I don’t look up old videos on YouTube (well, maybe this one or this one – because DRAMA), I don’t miss the days when the marks of a good song were a whole lot of saxophone and random distorted sounds from a synthesizer.

So all that to say: yesterday I did something completely unexpected.

For the last couple of days I’ve been thinking about high school a lot (because of some stuff I’ve been working on), and early yesterday afternoon I had the strangest, almost visceral need to hear the St. Elmo’s Fire soundtrack. It is like NOTHING ELSE WOULD DO, and I wanted to listen to every bit of it: the upbeat songs, the ballads, the instrumentals – THE WHOLE DADGUM THING.

And fortunately, iTunes was able to help me in my time of need.

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 8.08.02 AM

Y’all. Listening to the St. Elmo’s Fire songs has been like crawling in a time machine and traveling back to the late 80s. I don’t think I even saw the movie until I was out of high school (I wasn’t old enough to get in an R-rated movie when it came out), but the songs – OH, THE SONGS. I am alternately fascinated and horrified by the fact that I remember all of the words, and it makes me laugh when I think about listening to all of the angst-y lyrics when I was 15, 16, 17 years old. There were just SO MANY FEELINGS.

And somehow, over the last 24 hours, I’ve managed to listen to the entire album three times. I’ve wanted to call my friend Ricky and ask him if he remembers when we drove up to our high school the summer after our freshman year of college and listened to “Young and Innocent” in the parking lot. I’ve pictured my friend Merritt singing “If I Turned You Away” as she drove around Starkville in her little blue Honda Civic. I’ve wondered why we found the sound of saxophones so appealing. And I’ve been so grateful – so deeply, incredibly grateful – that when I was teenager, I had pretty much the sweetest friends on the face of the planet. No drama. No meanness. Just genuine, sweet, loyal friends.

And if you can’t tell, it has made me SO SENTIMENTAL I CAN HARDLY STAND IT.


Do you have a favorite “time machine” album? Is there any music that makes you a little sentimental and nostalgic for your younger days?

I’ll be right here listening to “I Turned You Away” if you need me.

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  1. Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do” always makes me a little teary. “Red, Red Wine” evokes feelings of rage for some reason (I hate that song.) But I’m with you on the 90’s songs–they take me back to high school/college and I just love thinking about riding around with my friends or warming up for softball games with that music blaring in the background. Good times.

  2. Becky in 'Bama says:

    Air Supply…the hubbie and I wore out the grooves on that album. A friend of mine groans when I mention it, but too bad…if we are in the car together and one of those plays on the radio – baby it’s on. I have to sing every word. :)

  3. Jackie Ingram says:

    “I can feel it comin’ in the air tonight… oh, lord…”!! Love the Miami Vice album, but mostly because of Phil Collins. I could have driven anywhere, in the dark, with that song playing. Such feelings of freedom and anticipation!

    • Jackie Ingram says:

      “Smugglers’ Blues” and Tina Turner’s “You’d Better be Good to Me”. Yep, great memories for a 16 year-old that in no way involve drugs or cheating regardless of the lyrics!

  4. Pretty much every album by Pearl Jam takes me back to the time it was released, especially the early ones which came out when I was in junior high and high school and every time I’m at a PJ concert, I inevitably tear up because I’m reminded of that young girl with big hopes and dreams. I drove me, my brother and cousin to school and one year I wore out the Candlebox album and so it always reminds me of driving them to school. Nirvana and Blind Melon also take me back to my high school days, but Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns by Mother Love Bone probably takes me back more than any other single song and I’m reminded of being a teenager with a mother who was just diagnosed with MS and a brother who was lost and unbeknowst to me at the time would still be searching for himself in his 30s. OK, that maybe got a little too deep. Truth be told, every album I buy I can always remember where I was when it came out, but those ones from the 90s are especially sentimental.

  5. NSync’s first album makes me think of getting ready for the first day of high school with my friends, trying to get my bangs JUST right. And I don’t think I will ever love anyone like I did the Backstreet Boys in 1998. There was a boy down the road who just would not quit playing games with my heart. I think most of us ’90s kids have a soft spit for a good boy band. And TRL with Carson Daly.

  6. Hotel California by the Eagles takes me to senior year in high school. We went to a dude ranch for senior trip and it was creepy! Later, Don Henley’s Boys of Summer was the song for summers on Cape Cod. I can still smell the ocean when I hear that song! Guess I’m an Eagles gal!!

  7. I’ve written a couple of times about the music of 1995 and what it does for my spirit. That was the summer we moved from Louisiana to Indiana and I was 12. It was all very sad and awkward and surreal. But Sophie B. Hawkins and Hootie and Blues Traveler and Seal…. ahhh! Those songs always make me remember the smell of the school bus and the paint color of my new room. And none of those songs are my favorites, at all! ;)

  8. One word: JOURNEY!

  9. Sophie — everytime you write about some random memory from your days at MSU, I always wonder if our paths ever crossed. I spent a LOT of time at FarmHouse (especially back when they were in that old house that was about to collapse onto itself on University Dr.) and was a Business Education major and worked with Bruce Stierwalt & Patty Abraham in the Industrial Tech building. I also spent many more hours than I would’ve liked in Allen Hall.

    BTW…Travis Cottrell is the worship minister at the church my family attended before we moved to Kansas. I never had the pleasure of singing in his choir (we moved a year before he came to EBC), but my friends love love love him. I follow you both on twitter — I promise I’m not a dangerous stalker…just a nosy, homesick one — and saw the conversation yesterday re: St. Elmo’s Fire. I don’t think I ever realized there were actual words to that song. Ha!

    I enjoy reading your blog posts (again…homesick), and can’t wait for your new book!


  10. Well, I’m slightly older than the rest of the posters apparently, or I must’ve been in a cave in the 90’s. I’m personally a classic rock girl, mostly because I have an older brother who graduated from high school in 1979. He had the only stereo in the house and, whatever he was listening to, we ALL listened to! So, I’m with Sunni on the Eagles (anything Eagles) and Tina (Journey)! Heart is an all time fave, along with Kansas, Styx, ZZ Top, Def Leppard…..oh, and of course, BOSTON!!! Can I get a witness?

  11. Ok, what I took away from that was oh, the value of sweet friendships. In a job with alot of mean girls right now. And I’m not a crier, but today has been one of those ugly days. On that note, I vote for any kind of happy beach music…anything you can shag to and laugh…just like the movie, Shag. Love it!

  12. Rachael B says:

    Anything by, Chicago. Every time!

  13. I listen to late ’50s, early ’60s on XM. Sometimes I get so nostalgic I have to change the station. *sniff*

  14. Oh my– there are some good good things on the decades channel on Sirius Radio. I do have to say one of my most favorite memories of childhood is riding around with my mama and Alabama (the band) coming on in the early 80’s– like, Love in the First Degree Alabama, The Closer You Get Alabama and DIxie Land Delight (does music get better?). When any of these would come on, I can still hear my mama saying this: Sing it, Randy!!!!!!

    BEST TIMES EVER. Now of course, I do the same thing and my daughter repeats me. :) Full circle, people.

    Oh, by the way, this is the best video on the YouTube for 80’s music; you’re welcome ;)

  15. Kathleen G says:

    Classic rock for me, especially Led Zeppelin and The Who. Love the Brat Pack movies, my 22 year daughter loves The Breakfast Club. She has the movie. Now I want to watch St. Elmo’s Fire.

  16. Karen Beymer says:

    Hmmmm, oh Sophie, I just don’t think you will even know
    Any of my sentimental music. Well I guess maybe because
    Most of it was by Elvis, Don’t Be Cruel, Love Me Tender,
    Just hearing his voice takes me back to my teens.
    Then I saw him in person as an adult, & my feelings didn’t
    Change I was immediately that teenager only this I
    Had to control myself. I totally understand your feelings.
    Now take all that your feeling & put it into your book.
    Go girl!

  17. St Elmo’s Fire for me too! When it comes on 80s on 8, the entire van has to hush! It’s my moment! I was a preteen when the movie came out, so I didn’t see it until much later, but I was just becoming interested in music around that time and that song was one I fell in love with. I can just see myself sitting in my bedroom listening to it. Take on Me by Aha is another song from that same time that transports me back to that room.

    But, really, there are so many songs…so many that bring up and image of a place, time or person. Good memories, bad memories, sad memories. Music is such a wonderful thing:)

  18. Thank you for the links to Sheena and Lisa Lisa – they made my heart happy! The hair band and the jerry-curl and the HUMONGOUS video games and the pianos! Fantastic!