Perpetual Playlist


When I was nine years old, I distinctly remember sitting in the backseat of my mother’s old gold Volvo station wagon, driving to the cabin for a weekend. We lived in Northern Canada—Edmonton, Alberta, to be exact. It’s really, really cold there. The winters were for hibernating with music, books and film, then returning to society smarter after the thaw. The summers were for lakes, socializing, mosquitos and smelly dogs. This particular summer my city was torn apart by an F4 tornado. But I digress.

The hail was tennis ball sized or larger. Google it. My parents put two hail balls in the freezer so we could pull them out from time to time and bask in their glory.

The backseat of the Volvo is where I’d listen to my music on the cassette player my Dad gave me from a trip to California. My sister, Lauren, got a Snoopy crushed ice machine, and I laughed and laughed because I knew it would be garbage in a year, whereas my cassette player would be relevant forever.

1987 was the year I said, in the backseat of the Volvo on the way to the cabin, “Nineteen-eighty-seven is the best year ever for music!” With moaning segue from Fleetwood Mac’s Big Love happily corrupting my mind, I was sure I was right.

I’ve never forgotten that.

I was nine years old at the time, and I was a real asshole for thinking I knew anything. But when I made this playlist, I remembered it was a great year for music. And probably the first year I started to appreciate what music was doing for me.

So, hang out with me in the backseat of that Volvo. And remember, I was only truly wrong about my cassette player remaining relevant.

Addendum: Some of these songs were released in ‘86 but weren’t popular until ‘87 when I could make mix tapes off Casey Kasem’s top 40 countdown or the local University station.
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