Do You Have a Yearly “Theme Song”?

I do! 

And I normally know what it is by this time of the year, but the other day I found myself asking, uh, myself… “Self, do you have any idea what your theme song of the year is this year?”

And myself did not. 

This is a phenomenon that might be limited to me only and I’m okay with that. But I also have a feeling that y’all might have theme songs every year and you don’t even realize it. 

Let me explain what I’m talking about when I say “theme song”. 

I don’t mean, like, the New Year dawns and you boldly declare, “This… THIS is my song of the year. This is the kind of year I want to have, so THIS song is my theme song.”

No, sir, no. That is not what I mean. You can’t pick your own Theme Song of the Year. Your Theme Song of the Year chooses you. 

The first time I really remember this happening is when the “Rent” OST came out in 1996 and ‘La Vie Boheme’ was my literal life. If Spotify wrapped up my 1996, that song would be at the top of my list. 

But it’s not about the most-listened to song, either. It’s the song that taught me the most about myself that year. Or, hell, taught me the most. 

‘La Vie Boheme’ was so good for my curious brain because it listed so many things for me to go find out more about. Which I did! And then those things sent me down more rabbit holes and really opened up my previously tiny world to so much. 

All because of a song. 

And I’m sure if I thought about it long enough a song would emerge from each year.

I know “You’ve Got Her in Your Pocket” by the White Stripes was one. 

“Runaway” by Kanye West the year we did the Worst of Orlando Awards. My friend Marisa sang this over our “In Memoriam” segment and it turned into a singalong and it was a truly magical moment. And then I really paid attention to the lyrics. 

I think one year I just had a Regina Spektor year. Couldn’t pick one song, just all of ’em. 

And then there was an overly emotional year where my theme song was a tie “Sideways” by Citizen Cope and “If it Kills Me” by Jason Mraz. But I partially blame the Pulse dance convention and So You Think You Can Dance for that. 

And then there was the year “A Machines/B Machines” by Sleigh Bells helped me work through an issue I was tumblin’ around in my brain. 

In 2020, it was Ye again, but this time with “Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2)” from his ‘supergroup’ Kids See Ghosts. It’s just Ye and Kid Cudi, I don’t consider that a supergroup. Yeah, the entire album is super, but it’s two people. Come on. Oh, but it was that song cause that’s how I felt after switching from working from a corporation (not a family) to working for myself (and my family). 

Then last year, it was a song offa “The Leftovers” soundtrack, because of course it was. “Let the Mystery Be” by Iris DeMent was sung at full volume many times last year as a reminder to myself to be okay with not knowing all the details about all the things all the time. It’s fun to introduce people to something new, but it’s also fun to learn about something new from someone you love. Also, it reminded me that no one expects me to have all the answers. 

So, this has been a pattern of my life is what I’m saying. 

The other day I was feelin’ all introspective and sad because I didn’t really have a theme song yet this year. So, I started thinking about all the songs I’ve listened to many many times.

Not just the ones that happen to be on “The Leftovers 1+2+3” or “Succession Party” or “P-Valley” playlists, though. I’m talking the ones I wake up in the morning and ask Google to play specifically. 

Was it Billy Joel’s “Honesty” but the Kendall Roy version? That was a serious possibility. I’m delighted with that cover to no end.

Could it be “Body” by Megan Thee Stallion? I used that a lot to get me hype about my own damn self.

Maybe it could be “Return of the Mack.” No lie, that song is playing 9/10 times we turn on the radio in the car. 

But then I thought back into earlier in the year, before all this upheaval happened in my life. 

What was I listening to then?

That answer was simple AF. 

Most mornings, I would wake up and ask google to play “Homeward Bound” by Simon and Garfunkel. That’s it. That’s my song. Even now when it comes on, I reflect on how that is exactly what seems to be happening right now in 2022

I feel more at home in the Professor Haus than I can ever remember feeling. Except for that one year it was just D and I in an empty box in Palm Bay, but that was more of a freedom feeling than a home one. 

Do you have a song of the year? What is it?! I wanna hear about it!


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