Donna Summer Tribute
I meant to post this playlist last Monday, but time kind of paused a bit. It's never too late to write it, though. Today's playlist is available at Grooveshark, at Spotify or in the embedded widget below.
In this playlist:
1. Bad Girls
2. Love to Love You Baby
3. She Works Hard For the Money
4. Last Dance
5. On the Radio
6. Hot Stuff
7. I Feel Love
I'm still not sure how to write this post, but I'm going to try my best. I don't empathize with too many artists deaths, but Donna Summer is different. Her music helped make it possible for my younger sisters and I to come semi-full circle in our friendship.
I listened to a lot of Donna Summer as a teenager without knowing her name. My older sister had a large collection of "Mixed CDs" sung by "Various Artists" and I would hijack these CDs and listen to the songs all night long. We had an old CD Player (possibly even a CD/casette player) back then and after a while we lost the orignal casings for the CDs. At this point, every song was Track [Number] and when looking for our favorite song, we'd start from the beginning of the CD, play a couple of seconds, then press skip until we found our song.
I was probably around 12, my sisters were 9 and 8, when I decided I would coreograph a dance for my sisters to show off at school. We started with a "best of the 70s" CD and played track 2. We lived in an old trailer at the time, the CD player sat in front of the television, we stood in the living area, and showed them step by step my genius dance steps. We played the few seconds of the song over and over until the singer sang the words "bad girls."
Somehow my young brain thought that my younger sisters had to learn to dance a song about working girls. Miraculously, my sisters and I danced the entire evening to the song. We danced the same minute over and over until we called it quits. That day was probably one of the last days where we hung out without arguing.
After that the hormones kicked in for me. My mom began working a lot, my older sister began working a lot, my father somehow came back into the picture with a new wife and daughter, and I had this self-realization that my sisters needed me. My young self thought that they needed protection against my dad's new wife. I swore to protect them from everything, from the hurt in the world, from their peers that only spoke about sex. For the next 5 years, I became the enemy. I chased them around to clean their rooms, to do their homework, to eat their macaroni and cheese I carefully cooked, and lots of other things.
All that chasing made me a very angry kid. I would yell at my sisters, and sometimes even threw random objects at them. Being the oldest around the place made me bitter. All the screaming, yelling, crying, and throwing of things created this guilt in me during high school. Along all the teenage agnst, I felt really sorry that I became a monster in my sister's eyes. For a while, one of my youngest sisters had a lot of problems in school and that made the guilt worst. I only became more angry, and at the first chance I got, I moved out. I went to an out-of-state university. And, I got a chance to learn about me.
Sometime during my self-discovery and collegiate journey, I rediscovered Donna Summer. I laughed to myself as I remembered the one or two moves I made for "Bad Girls." I explored her other songs and smugly found bits of my life in the lyrics. Some bits like, "She Works Hard for the Money," are too accurate of what I do. I work hard, end of discussion.
Fast forward to Summer of 2011. One of my younger sisters and I spent the entire summer arguing with each other, drinking, playing Just Dance 2, Guitar Hero, and avoiding dishes. Just Dance brought back memories of that period before my crusade to protect everyone from the world. My younger sisters and I bonded again, at a more adult level, by trying to beat each other's scores in "Hot Stuff". And after that, we bonded again by trying to achieve 5 stars in "I Feel Love."
We still argue, but in a way Donna Summer brought us semi-full circle. I don't feel as guilty for being a meanie as a teenager, but I still try to protect my sisters from the world.