November 20, 2014
Donna Apidone's book, TransForMission, has a playlist. It's the music that crossed Donna's mind as she wrote and edited the book.
I work in public radio, where sound punctuates language. That combination is the magic of the medium. It’s what makes radio, as Steve Allen called it, the “theater of the mind.”
Here is the music that punctuates TransForMission. These are not necessarily my favorite songs. They are not the tunes that shaped me, but they are the ones that shaped the book. They ran through my head as I wrote and hit me right in the soul.
The Beatles: All You Need Is Love
This song makes the list for a single metaphysical line: “Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you were meant to be.”
Stone Poneys: Different Drum
While Linda Ronstadt’s youthful voice sings of a couple going in different directions, the song can refer to anyone who is on a new path.
10,000 Maniacs: These Are Days
If I had to identify a single song to summarize TransForMission, this would be it, with lyrics that include, “It's true that you are touched by something that will grow and bloom in you” and “Hear the signs and know they're speaking to you.” I like the MTV Unplugged version.
Steve Winwood: Higher Love
The butterfly effect … each person’s impact on the world … our connection to each other. “Think about it. There must be higher love.”
Crosby, Stills & Nash: Southern Cross
On the surface, Stephen Stills is singing about sailing and lost love, but he also shares a moment of realization. “The truth you might be running from is so strong, but it’s as big as the promise of a comin' day.” Exactly.
America: Horse With No Name
These lyrics capture the clarity and solitude that comes with an arid landscape. “In the desert, you can remember your name.”
David Bowie: Changes
He doesn’t look so weird now, but Bowie took people out of their collective comfort zone when he showed up on stage with orange hair and a blue jumpsuit. He was a poster child for transformative images when he morphed from Ziggy Stardust to a Christmas duet with Bing Crosby.
Nickelback: How You Remind Me
I wouldn’t appreciate the good days if there weren’t an equal and opposite swing of the pendulum.
Neil Young: Like A Hurricane
Every TransForMission has a crazed moment when you let loose, turn up the volume and walk in to the storm. I didn’t pick this one for the lyrics. Listen to the guitar solo that is the second half of the recording. Feel your place in that storm and step through it.
Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run
For many years, a radio station played this song to usher in the weekend at 6 p.m. every Friday. It is the final release of lust and speed and rebellion as we enter a different consciousness. We all have a “last chance power drive” that takes us to the next iteration.
Tim O’Brien and Kathy Mattea: The Battle Hymn of Love
It is clearly a declaration of romantic love, but I hear something greater. This kind of devotion and commitment applies to self-love and to everyone on your Buddy List.
Jackson Browne: These Days
It’s about going back to the well … replenishing the soul … listening and saying yes.
Johnny Cash: I Walk the Line
It’s a love song. It’s a spiritual. It’s a song of devotion.
Roxy Music: Avalon
This song has just a few lyrics, but it leaves listeners with a very strong impression. It is sexy and nostalgic. It’s about leaving something that is loud and distracting in favor of something sweet and intimate and mystical.
Grateful Dead: Touch of Grey
Reset your priorities. You don’t have to go grey to reach maturity. It’s all good.
Lou Reed: Perfect Day
So simple, so bare, so perfect. A little weird. As is life. And, oh yes, this song is on the album called Transformer.
Todd Rundgren: Just One Victory
“Underneath it all we are here together shining still.”