January 14, 2024

Notes to Soothe the Savage Cells

Alice Cooper, Lucinda Williams, and Jonny Cash. “I’m a music-obsessive, and I can’t imagine having prostate cancer without listening to just the right music to complement my moods: joy and sadness, anger and gratitude, fear and doubt,” Dana Jennings writes in his New York Times article Notes to Soothe the Savage Cells.

Tara-Parker Pope of the Well Blog has created the Soundtrack for Health Contest. She’s asking cancer patients to share their favorite health songs and stories from their own personal playlist. They will pick their favorites, which will be posted in a public playlist. If your songs are chosen, you’ll receive a copy of Dana’s new book “Sing Me Back Home: Love, Death and Country Music.”

Here are mine.
1. Lean On Me (Bill Withers)
My best friend Jana sang this to me while I was shoved inside a scanning machine for three hours.

2. Pepper (Butthole Surfers)
I lash out to this in my apartment when I need to rage against the grim statistics of stagnant 20 and 30-something cancer survival rates. (Ours’ haven’t changed since Nixon was in office and I was in diapers).

3. Forever Young (Alphaville)
Sometimes I think I have cried myself dry, but when I listen to this cheesy, iconic ’80s song, I manage to have a nice cathartic moment and can then get on with living.

4. Walk On The Wild Side (Lou Reed)
There is something about shuffling around the apartment in my slippers while emptying my dishwasher and listening to this song that feels quintessentially “I’ll be okay with cancer.”

What are yours?

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  1. Susan C Says:
    January 14th, 2009 at 11:54 PM

    I also love Lean on Me, but I’d add “Lovely Day” to that.

    Recently I’ve been playing Toby Keith’s “A Little Too Late” obsessively. I want someone to write a melancholy moan about me.

  2. Anonymous Says:
    January 15th, 2009 at 1:41 PM

    Holy Mother of God — Alphaville. I haven’t seen that since — excuse me, I’m a bit choked up.

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