I haven't put all -- all -- my vinyl and cassette music on my iPod. I don't need Semisonic or Vive la France! with me all the time. But it's got the basics, the underpinnings of the life I've lead traveling from a spot on I-80 to a spot up the road from where I-35 ends.
Driving to Omaha makes me think of that music and I tend to listen to it when making that drive, marking a backward chronology, and some might argue a decomposition, of my tastes. Driving back to Omaha is divided up into chapters and I tend to go over my life so far as I make the drive back. There are overlaps in the different chapters, but there are some songs and bands that belong in very specific times of my life.
Chapter I: Duluth to Pine City
New beginnings. Success. Iron and Wine. Neko Case. The Byrds. Neil Young. Security and uncertainty. Middle age. That one Jill Scott song. Feeling like an adult, sometimes.
Chapter II: Pine City to the Cities
Uncertainty and struggle. Jill Scott. Allman Brothers. Politics and backstabbing. New babies. Missy Elliott. Depression.
Living abroad. Arcwelder. Meat Puppets. Falling in love with Matt. Robert Johnson, Blind Willie Johnson and John Lee Hooker. The Jayhawks. Summer in St. Petersburg and the White Nights. Captain Tractor. The Levellers. Phish.
Chapter III: The Cities
Living alone. Beastie Boys. Live. Uncle Tupelo. Jayhawks. Finding a job to support me and finding an apartment. Sugar and Bob Mould. Alice in Chains. Shows at First Ave. and the Entry and the Fine Line. Pearl Jam. Feeling successful and self-sufficient. Screaming Trees. The Judybats. Inappropriate men. Counting Crows. Taking a risk. Meeting Matt and then leaving.
Chapter IV: The Cities to the Iowa Border
College. The Jayhawks. Uncle Tupelo. Died Pretty backed with Buffalo Tom. Late nights in the newspaper office. Gear Daddies. The Halloween blizzard. Boiled in Lead. Soul Asylum.
Chapter V: Iowa to Omaha
High school. Trip Shakespeare. Nirvana. Fugazi. Bob Mould. REM. Thinking, all the time, that there's something more.