Back in high school, music was a necessary and palpable force in my life. My friends and I lived and died by the bands we loved and blasted — ‘NSYNC, Hanson, Britney Spears, Dashboard Confessional — until we could sing their tunes in our sleep. Those songs are the soundtrack of my adolescence, permeating every scene and memory.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve scurried away from music. No longer spending hours each day walking around campus with my iPod and disinterested in playing anything at my desk, I don’t listen to much that’s new — or anything at all — these days. In my car I skip the radio and put in an audiobook. And I just don’t have many other listening opportunities beyond that.
So Spencer and I haven’t had “a song.” Some quintessential tune that makes me think of him with stars in my eyes, a ballad gives voice to our relationship. With R., my first boyfriend, there was “All My Life” (by K-Ci and JoJo — don’t hate). M. and I had Hoobastank’s “The Reason” (which is sort of a sad song, really, now that I’m thinking about it), and with P. it was “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds. There were plenty of other tunes sprinkled in there, too, like The Fray’s “Look After You” — a song I can’t hear without thinking of J. and an ill-fated dance at his brother’s wedding.
But Spence and I? We don’t have any memories inextricably tied up in music. We both like Nicole Atkins, his favorite singer, but she doesn’t have a song that makes me feel swoony. Nothing else comes to mind. Our relationship has been without a theme song.
I learned years ago that the Goo Goo Dolls were from Buffalo, N.Y., just north of my boyfriend’s hometown. I can’t say I’ve always been a huge fan, but tunes like “Slide” and “Iris” were definitely around during my formative years. It’s great they’re still playing music and making new stuff — like “All That You Are.”
It’s The One. Our Song.
Walking out of the mall recently, I was loaded down with bags and hurrying back to the office. It’s that time of year again — Christmas shopping season — and no one emerges from all this unscathed. I just wanted to throw my stuff in the car and get to work, where a thousand projects waited in my inbox.
That’s when I heard it.
In my limited radio-listening world, I must have heard “All That You Are” at some point — or maybe it was just that I instantly recognized Johnny Rzeznick’s trademark vocals. Whatever it was, the opening bars of the song had me literally pausing in the middle of a street. The song was still playing clear and strong outside a department store, flooding the parking lot with its haunting melody. I put my bags in the front seat and stood, listening. I was by myself but didn’t feel alone.
Because the band is from Spencer’s home state (and almost city); because I love the words and the sentiment; because I know we enter each relationship a little bit battered but hopeful that we’re going to find something real, something lasting, with another person —
And because I fell in love again —
And because I know what it’s like to be loved in return —
I formally nominate the Goo Goo Dolls’ “All That You Are” for the prized title of the Official Anthem of Megan and Spencer.
I really hope it gets approved.
Do you and your significant other have A Song? How did you choose it — or did it choose you?