The Soundtrack Of My Life - Welcome to the Real World

Many of my FB friends are posting the 10 albums that impacted their lives and most of them center around their late teen years into college. Seeing the music of those free spirited days bring me back to the Soundtrack of my Life series that I haven’t added to in many years. I blame the home quarantine orders, the work from home, cancel everything, going a little stir crazy situation nagging me to continue with my music ramblings and nostalgia.

My last soundtrack post left me on the high of those Carefree College years. It’s no wonder I stopped - the reality of graduation, post college jobs, aka the Real World, smacks you in the face. I feel I had a good transition into the workforce yet I would be lying if I didn’t second guess myself, experienced doubt, uncertainty, loss and anxiety during that time. Sounds like the present day only things weren’t bad at all (there's that perspective for you).

I graduated with a job, took the summer off, traveled to Europe with friends before starting my “real life” as an engineer working for General Electric. I entered their two year rotational program, where I would have 4 - 6 month assignments across two business locations. It was an ideal start for someone who didn’t want to commit to something “permanent” because that was too scary for the 22 year old me. I spent my first year in Cleveland OH. A major city felt right coming from 4 years in Boston. There were other young engineers on the same rotational program - promise of cohorts and community. Here’s the music I associate with my entry into the Real World:

End of the Innocence by Don Henley

The lyrics and serious tone resonated the "how can I really be an adult" me. The addition of Bruce Hornsby’s piano chords on this track adds to wistfulness, melancholy and longing for a bygone, simpler time.

Remember when the days were long
And rolled beneath the deep blue sky
Didn't have a care in the world
With mommy and daddy standin' by
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence
I still remember discovering Cleveland, driving the curves of I-90 with my new life in front of me, these song providing the backdrop. The album is filled with serious themes - transitions from youth to adulthood, and the onset of responsibility; fitting for that season of my life.

We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel

This list song references pop culture icons, political issues and emotionally charged events. Spanning 40 years of "headline events", this digest of the world’s events remind us that the world will continue to churn with good things and bad.
"Wheel of Fortune", Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China's under martial law
Rock and roller cola wars, I can't take it anymore
We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
I was fortunate to catch billy Joel in concert (twice) in Cleveland.

Hold On (For One More Day) by Wilson Phillips.

Who didn’t need a peppy song like that when the days felt awful and you needed a pick me up.

Some day somebody's gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye.
'Til then, baby, are you gonna let them hold you down and make you cry?

Don't you know?
Things'll change,
Things'll go your way,
If you hold on for one more day.
Can you hold on for one more day?
Things'll go your way
(Things are gonna go your way)
Hold on for one more day
The entire album, with its tight harmonies has many gems including Release Me and You’re In Love. Wilson Phillips may have been the first female group I felt drawn to for their pure musicality. (I just realized my Soundtrack artists lean towards male dominated artists - that changes as I get older with higher prevalence of female artists)

Blame it on the Rain by Milli Vanilli

I'm admittedly embarrassed this is on my list, but it conjures up vivid memories for me working on the computer with my fellow program engineers. We would sing the chorus while plugging away at our assignments. Yes, completely fluffy, (lip synced) and fun.

Another Day in Paradise by Phil Collins -
Phil Collins had uncanny ability to put out songs that mirrored your present life - new love, break up, fun times, bad time and this one served as a reminder that I certainly couldn’t whine and complain about my situation - that others suffered more.

Oh think twice, it's another day for you and me in paradise
Oh think twice, 'cause it's just another day for you,
You and me in paradise, think about it

Much like present day - my life, my kids’ lives, while inconvenienced by the pandemic’s impact, remains stable and comfortable. We're simply in another transition to a different stage of life. Or a different Way of Life....

And so I’ll end this edition of the soundtrack of my life with a current song to remember this tumultuous time, Orpheus by Sara Bareilles.

I know you miss the world, the one you knew
The one where everything made sense
Because you didn't know the truth, that's how it works
Don't stop trying to find me here amidst the chaos
Though I know it's blinding, there's a way out
Say out loud
We will not give up on love now
No fear, don't you turn like Orpheus, just stay here
Hold me in the dark, and when the day appears
We'll say
We did not give up on love today

Performed live in Madison Square Garden, this includes opening comments prior to the song and even though the performance was six months ago, the sentiments still ring true now.

I hope you’re hanging in there during these stressful times. Get outside, enjoy the rebirth of spring and spread positivity and love. The Real World needs it now.

Other Soundtrack of My Life Posts:
The Early Years
The Middle School Years,
High School Anthems
Love Songs
a Cappella Songs.
Classical, Jazz and Show Tunes
College Party Songs
Carefree College Life
My First Marathon - The Playlist
More Running Playlist Songs

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