What It’s Like to Be Me: In the Beginning Pt 1, The Things That I Could Be

‘In the Beginning’ is the first section of the soundtrack to my life. These songs are my beginning, either reminding me what it was like to be a kid or representing in some way my life from adolescence through young adulthood. Those years are weird and magical, uncomfortable and awkward, carefree and careless. For most kids, this is the time of their life when anything is possible and everything is new. These are the years you begin to identify who are as a person and what you want to be when you grow up.

When I thought about the things that I could be, my biggest dream was to become an architect. But by the time I graduated high school, I wanted to be a DJ with my own morning radio show. The dreams of youth are fickle and complicated. This first group of songs from my ‘What It’s Like to Be Me’ playlist look at those dreams I had as a kid, the things I hoped for and longed to become true.

Skee-Lo: "I Wish"
My dad used to joke about how all he ever wanted to be when he grew up was six foot tall. He never got his wish. Neither did I. However, I did receive a theme song in 1995 when Skee-Lo released his biggest hit "I Wish." If I was a pro-wrestler, this would have been my walk-in music. This song is a short dude’s anthem – we all know the chorus but his verses spoke to my soul: “Her boyfriend's tall and he plays ball so how am I gonna compete with that? 'Cause when it comes to playing basketball, I'm always last to be picked and in some cases never picked at all.” It’s like he knew me.

Steve Taylor: "Hero"
What kid doesn’t want to be a hero? I loved to read, from comic books and horror novels to the bible and history books, I was the kind of kid Stave sand about in this song. “In a storybook land I could dream what I read. When it went to my head I'd see. I want to be a hero.” Yet heroes aren’t perfect and I grew up in an era where our heroes kept killing themselves, Kurt Cobain, Bradley Nowell, Shannon Hoon. Taylor addressed this fallibility of heroes: “Growing older you'll find that illusions are brought and the idol you thought you'd be was just another zero.” It made me want to save our heroes.

Elvis Presley: "If I Can Dream"
I’m not a big Elvis Presley fan. His music was far before my time. But I love this song. Even as a kid, I could recognize something was off in this world. While I didn’t always know what that something was, I knew it could be better. This is the longing you hear in Elvis’ voice as he sings this song. “There must be lights burning brighter somewhere. Got to be birds flying higher in a sky more blue. If I can dream of a better land where all my brothers walk hand in hand, tell me why can't my dream come true?” Elvis gave me a hope for a solution to this dream: “As long as a man has the strength to dream, he can redeem his soul and fly.”

Wideawake: "Misunderstood"
My brother went to school with a kid named Scott. They played basketball together and became friends. That's when I got to know him. After they graduated, Scott joined a band called Common Thread. I went to a lot of their concerts, even ran sound for them a few times. They eventually changed their name to Wideawake and put out a couple albums. One of their most popular songs sang of a common thread among teenagers – especially kids like me who didn’t always feel like they fit in. “I wish I could read your mind, be one of your kind. I missed you in my time, misunderstood. I wish I could somehow be all that you want from me.” I was a misunderstood kid. All I really wanted is what every other kid wanted: to belong.

Coldplay: "Fix You"
My brother and I grew up with two different dads. Technically, it was the same person, but Dad changed after a massive injury he sustained while I was in fifth grade. He was strong, sporty, and confident while my brother was in junior high. By the time I reached that age, his strength and confidence had vanished and his athletic ability was confined to being a fan. My brother grew up with a social butterfly; I grew up with a wallflower. I was 26 when this song came out but it transported me back to when I was still in school and every dream I ever wished on behalf of my father. “Lights will guide you home and ignite your bones. And I will try to fix you.” All I wanted was the impossible. I just wanted to fix my dad.

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