A Song For Every Year, Part 2: 1988-1997

This is part two of a series chronicling each year of my life as viewed through the lens of a song that was meaningful to me in some way that represents a significant aspect of my life experience in that year. This segment covers the second decade of my life. Be sure to catch up on Part 1 first.

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Divad’s Soundtrack #12: July-September 1997

First semester of junior year… man, what a strange semester that was. The sun was out, the days were long, and I felt like I was actually doing something worthwhile with my life instead of moping around… life was good. But at the same time, even though I could easily meet tons of new people (mostly freshmen) and endear myself to them, my lack of ability to attract any of the ladies (and I had romantic interest in several that year) still frustrated me, causing me to find solace in Sharon, one of the female friends I didn’t feel awkward around, due to her already having a boyfriend and us being “just friends”. She was a freshman living downstairs in Chilcott that year, and she listened to so much of my crap that year as we stayed up late and talked about random stuff – about my job, about why I thought math was fascinating, about the latest crush on the girl over in that other dorm clear across campus, about music, about my failure at tutoring high schoolers, etc. Tim put up with a lot of it, too. Thank God for friends like the ones I had at Oxy!

In with the New:
Christine Glass
Reality Check
Switchfoot
U2
The Waiting

Out with the Old:
Carolyn Arends
Nouveaux

It Was Worth a Try:
Say-So
Kent Henry

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Divad’s Soundtrack #11: April-June 1997

These few months are best characterized by two words: “hard summer”. It was Nate, who prayed with me one night at the end of the semester when I was despondent over having to live at home again and be away from everybody and work a retail job I didn’t really want for several months, who didn’t beat around the bush in order to console me. He said point blank, “I think this is gonna be a hard summer for you, Divad.” But he didn’t say it to be cruel. Something in his voice seemed to affirm that the sheer difficulty of it would be a growing experience for me. And he was right. This period of my life was a lot like flowers pushing their way up through concrete – a frustrating struggle that eventually led me to some beautiful realizations.

In with the New:
Avalon
Plumb
Caedmon’s Call
All Star United

Out with the Old:
Tony Vincent

It Was Worth a Try:
MxPx
The Walter Eugenes

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Divad’s Soundtrack #10: January-March 1997

1997 would prove to be a tough year for me. There was a disappointing failed attempt to return to Joshua Tree for Spring Break (a trip which I helped to plan and didn’t even get to go on), further distance between me and a close friend due a crush that just wouldn’t go away, and just a lot of tough questions I would ask myself as I sat in my philosophy and creative writing classes and played metaphysical mind games with myself. Not that it was the classes’ fault – they were just exploring the thoughts of different writers, not trying to tell us definitively that any of their writings were true. It was another way to get to questions that I needed to ask, I guess. And while the weather got lighter and summer approached again, the darkest times were, in many ways, still to come in the months ahead.

In with the New:
Sarah Jahn
Bleach

Out with the Old:
Crystal Lewis
Rich Mullins
Anointed

It Was Worth a Try:
Blues Traveler

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Divad’s Soundtrack #9: November-December 1996

This collection covers a relatively short period of time – just two months as I wrapped up first semester of sophomore year. It was an important time, though – the promise of a new beginning as I prepared to finally get baptized collided with ghosts that wouldn’t stop haunting me as I spent certain cold days feeling a bit of despair about whether anyone could truly love the grungy, socially awkward kid that I knew I was. I started getting pretty down on myself during those days. You might not have noticed it if you were around me then, just due to my ever-present sense of humor and my restless need to be a social butterfly. But I could be rather melancholy when left to my own devices. (Probably still true in some ways, but I think I’m a little better about not falling into the whole “I hate myself” thing as often.)

In with the New:
Erin O’Donnell
No Doubt

Out with the Old:
Pam Thum
Sierra

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Divad’s Soundtrack #8: August-October 1996

This one was made not long after I started my sophomore year of college. That semester, and even the end of the summer preceding it, has a lot of fond memories attached. I felt like I came back from Catalina Island a changed person, more patient and willing to serve instead of being served. OK, I was still impatient in other ways, most notably in terms of wanting a relationship, but I wasn’t as obviously on the prowl for a girlfriend in 1996 as I was in 1995. Mostly, I was happy to be back on campus, and it was really exciting to meet new freshmen and help them learn the ropes just as some of the upperclassmen had done for me during my first year. I had this deliriously happy sense of knowing what I was doing, but still being young and having so many new things to experience. That’s a rare feeling that’s been difficult to recapture since then.

In with the New:
Dave Matthews Band
Sarah Masen
Jaci Velasquez

Out with the Old:
Michael O’Brien

It Was Worth a Try:
World Wide Message Tribe

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Divad’s Soundtrack #4: April-July 1995

Here’s what I was listening to during my last days of high school, and over the summer as I began to realize my need to separate from the seemingly small world around me (despite some people that I really wanted to hold on to) and to emotionally prepare myself for my first semester at Occidental College, which I chose over Pitzer out of the two schools that had accepted me, in the fall.

In with the New:
Code of Ethics
Jars of Clay
Tony Vincent
Cindy Morgan
Clay Crosse
Sixpence None the Richer
Anointed
Chris Eaton
Nouveaux
Michael O’Brien

Out with the Old:
Steve Taylor (as a solo artist – appears later with Steve Taylor & The Perfect Foil)

It Was Worth a Try:
Big Tent Revival
Ron Kenoly

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