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Take Me Home

I'm visiting my dad in Washington State as I'm writing this. It's entirely possible it may be the last time I see him alive. There's a flood of emotions that come with this realization that range from sadness to guilt to relief. I imagine this is typical for most adult children watching a parent deal with the end of their life. It still doesn't make it fair.

Since this is ostensibly a music blog, I need music to guide me through this moment. This playlist isn't so much songs to vibe to as much as a coping mechanism. Some of these songs make me feel good. Some of these songs destroy me. It doesn't really matter either way.

If you listen to this playlist, you likely won't feel the same way I do listening to these songs, and that's okay.

  1. Phil Collins - "Take Me Home" People fall on a spectrum between homebodies and wanderers. My dad didn't do much travelling in his life, and for a while neither did I. It's comforting to know that some people will be in a particular place most of the time. Consistency is an underrated virtue in life. But I still wish my dad could've hopped on a plane to Europe at some point in his life.

  2. Bill Withers - "Lovely Day" This song can't not make me feel better whenever I hear it.

  3. Slowdive - "alife" A recent #1 on my top 40, it's a reminder that somebody out there is partially living their life through you.

  4. Fleetwood Mac - "The Chain" I'd like to believe my dad rocked out to Rumours as a young man in the late 70s.

  5. Drake - "Hold on, We're Going Home" In 2013, my mom's cousin, who I felt closer to than any male relative other than my dad, died suddenly in an accident. When my mom and I got a lift home, this song came on the radio, and it just felt right. You never know which song will meet the moment, but this was one of them.

  6. Death Cab for Cutie - "Northern Lights" Had to include a Pacific Northwest artist in this mix, and Death Cab was the one that most easily came to mind.

  7. Katy Perry - "Teenage Dream" My stepmom put on American Idol while I was writing this, and I was struck by how it's current iteration seems to want little to do with creating pop stars and much to do with fulfilling people dreams of making music. Anyway, Katy Perry is one of the judges, so this song felt very appropriate for the playlist.

  8. Oasis - "Live Forever" Piggybacking off the previous song, this one wrecks me every time I hear it. Noel Gallagher wrote it as an optimistic rebuttal to grunge music that dominated the airwaves at the time. Yet there's still an implicit sadness to this song that I'm not sure Nirvana could've ever matched. If you want to believe you or someone else will live forever, you're going to set yourself up for disappointment.

  9. Radiohead - "Fake Plastic Trees" Another song that beats the shit out of me. I don't know, it makes me think of shopping for groceries with my dad after my parents split up.

  10. Linda Ronstadt feat. Aaron Neville - "Don't Know Much" I think that Linda Ronstadt is my dad's favorite musician. The fact that I'm not sure pains me, but I felt compelled to include this 1989 duet. It's not the first Linda Ronstadt song I'd want to include in a playlist, but it feels the most right. How much do any of us really know about our parents?

  11. Train - "Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)" As I described in my Number Ones post about the song, Pat Monahan wrote the song after his mother passed away. The idea that moving on from this life can enable someone to reach the farthest horizons of the universe is probably the most comforting feeling one can take from losing someone close to you.

  12. Kacey Musgraves - "The Architect" Off of Musgraves' latest album Deeper Well, this might be a cliched entry in the playlist. The thing is, whenever we lose someone close to us, or are about to, our instinct is to complain to the manager. But this is the one part of life where Karen can't possibly gain satisfaction.

  13. U2 - "One Step Closer" The most on point song in this playlist, Bono wrote the song as his father neared the end of his life. In a conversation with Noel Gallagher, Bono wondered if his father believed in God, to which Gallagher replied, "Well, he's one step closer to knowing."

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