Introducing 40 Songs for 40 Years

It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.—Frank Zappa

It’s quite possible that playing and listening to music have consumed more of my waking hours than any other activity. With my fortieth birthday now uncomfortably close, it seems like a good time to remember the songs that mattered to me along the way.

I don’t even begin to claim that these are the best songs from these years (although I might make a case for some). I don’t even claim that all of them are good. That said, each of these songs was the most important music in the world to me at some point in my life, and I think that counts for something.

So here is my musical photo album, with one song per birthday. It’s all there: the cute baby years, the awkward adolescence, the experimental college years, the uncertainty of young adulthood, the settling down into a family of my own.