The first ten songs in the soundtrack are
1. O Little Town of Bethlehem
2. The Ash Grove
3. David's OCD Song (discussion of 1-3 here)
4. Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound
5. Darlin' Be Home Soon
6. Since By Man Came Death (discussion of 4-6 here)
7. Sunrise, Sunset No, I mean Sabbath Prayer.
9. Create In Me A Clean Heart, O God
10. Pleasures of Obedience Blues (discussion of 7-10 here)
11. Lord Of The Dance This was called “Dance, Dance” in our house, and was a great favorite for family devotions. The usual version we played – loudly – was from The Christmas Revels. The trick was, you had to be actually seated when the verse started and stay there throughout. Once the chorus began you could get up and dance wildly. It’s a great way of wearing kids out just before bed, though it does also get their primitive central nervous systems overstimulated as well.
We did great family devotions at our house, but we never really adjusted to the teenage years. We had pretty standard evening prayers most nights once the boys were older. I wish we had put in the effort we did when they were younger. We did wild things: driving up the mountain to look out over the city all lit up and pray for it; Bible charades; communion in a large variety of ways; dressing up as pilgrims. Tracy and I gave workshops on how to do devotions several times.
12. If I Had A Million Dollars. My own wishful thinking runs more to time travel or turning invisible, but this one’s fun. I wanted something humorous as well, because any conglomeration of Wymans tends to revolve around banter, wit, joke-telling – even when the subjects under discussion are quite serious. I would put the song in quite early in an actual movie – maybe even before the birth of the boys. But I made some concession to at least reduce the anachronism, as the song wasn’t known to us until the late 90’s, and put it late in the list.
It has the right kinds of humor as well. References to arcane bits of general knowledge, puns, spontaneous interactive, plain silliness – it’s all here in compact form.
This ends the smooth, continuous, portion of the soundtrack, and is where it would all end if our life narratives were nice and Aristotelian. We expect unities, with each chapter flowing naturally from earlier episodes. Even the surprizes in the story are supposed to have foreshadowings, even if they are only noticeable in hindsight.
Real life isn’t like that. We impose narrative on events in retrospect because – well, because that’s what the human brain does. We make things cohere as best we can, not only as false comfort, but to understand what little we may. We kid ourselves that we are the center of the narrative – but there is a Real Story.
The next two items represent bits of the narrative that were not absolutely without earlier precedent, but darn close. They represent parts of the story that dropped in unexpectedly.
13. My City Was Gone This one I leave a a puzzle for the reader. I love puzzles; love solving them, making them, reviewing them, even cheating at them if I can. The theme of puzzle-solving runs back to earliest years for me, so I will use that as an excuse to tie this music, which reached me in 1988, to the rest of the soundtrack. Hint: It’s not because I think Chrissie Hyndes is that cute.
14. Dragostea Din Tei (also known as “The Numa-Numa Song”) The song wasn’t written until 2003, but we’ll just have to endure the anachronism of playing it in my soundtrack in 1998, when I first went to Romania. Three years later, we had two more sons, teenagers: Adrian Ionut Parcalab and Dorel Cristian Parcalab are now J-A and Chris Wyman. By 2005 all of us had been to Transylvania, and all of us are part Romanian, even the daughter-in-law, Heidi.
The song itself is a catchy, almost meaningless little number by O-Zone, a now-defunct boy band from Moldova. It ended up being a #1 hit nation by nation, first in Europe, then through the rest of the world. In the US, it is sung by kids at camp and fans at minor league baseball games. The Numa-Numa alternate title comes from the chorus: Nu ma, nu ma iei, nu ma, nu ma iei, nu ma, nu ma, nu ma iei. Which is “won’t take me” in Romanian (not me not me take). She is going away and she won’t take him along. Tragic, really. But with a bright tempo and a video that has almost complete disregard for the mood of the lyrics, it’s the closest thing to a cheerful song you will find in Romania. There are dozens of parodies, including many videos. For those unfamiliar with the song, I really recommend you catch the history at Wikipedia and follow the links. It’s a hoot.