It's been 2 months now, and it's still difficult to believe that Chris is gone. After Chris passed away, I was honored when my Aunt Kathy & Uncle Bob asked me to help my cousin Rob put together the music for Chris's "Celebration of Life" service. I knew how important a solid playlist would have been to Chris. During and following the service, I had many people ask me to share the playlist and promised I would do so. I've sat down many times over the past 2 months to write this, but I've found myself hit with the dreaded "writer's block".
You see, Rob, Chris, and I always had a special bond with music. Some of my favorite memories with my cousin Chris were times we spent at concerts. Our taste in music is eclectic to say the least, we enjoyed everything from hip hop to rock to metal, from Staind to Korn to Linkin Park to 2 Pac to Coldplay. The louder and the liver the better, and it's a bonus if you can listen to it loud and outside with a cold beer in your hand. While I had shared tastes in music with my brothers and sister, my cousin Chris shared my love for nuMetal and hard rock. I remember when Chris came to visit us in Cape Coral before they had moved down from New Jersey. That was the summer he introduced me to the band Korn. This would also be the summer that my brother Don would constantly clown on us (clowning on each other, our family passtime lol) and would grab cans or ears of corn, hold it up to his ear and say "Oh rad, these are gnarly sounds bro. This corn is so rock n roll!. Oddly enough, the night that Mike passed away I was at a Korn concert. Just the thought of the sound of Jonathan Davis's bagpipe encore gives me chills down my spine.
When Rob and I sat down to put together the playlist for the service we knew one thing, it had to be Chris-approved. All of the songs we picked embodied everything we all love most about music, heavy or just downright loud tracks with meaningful, powerful lyrics. Chris and I shared a belief in the power of healing with music. After Chris and Rob's younger brother/my cousin Mikey passed away I spent a lot of time behind my headphones or driving and listening to music. Music has this power to hit you emotionally that even words or conversations alone can't, "where words fail music speaks". Over the past 2 months I've listened to this playlist nearly on repeat. I like to thank that if Chris were listening along several times throughout he'd probably jump up and say "Yo turn this shit up, this song is friggin raw.....listen what he says at this part, shits deep right?!". I always loved his excitement for a good song. I remember when we'd be playing pool we'd always throw a bunch of money on the jukebox. Whenever his song came on, he'd sneak up behind you jumping or headbanging and singing along (or humming and pretending to sing along) because he couldn't contain his excitement.
We all knew Chris in different ways, as we all mourn his loss differently. We see that same beautiful quality in music: the music or lyrics may have a different meaning to you than they do to me, but that doesn't make them any less powerful. To me, Chris was the protective older cousin that always looked out for me and always had a big goofy grin on his face, who shared my wild crazy curly hair and love for music. Whatever he may have meant to you, I hope that you can listen along to this playlist and think of Chris aka Smitty aka Q.
Below is the extended playlist (some of these songs were cut for time at the service), both in lyric video format or audio playlist. Some of these songs may seem like odd choices of songs for a memorial service, but when you know the lyrics or the memories behind them you'll understand why Smitty would have loved hearing all these songs. If you're not familiar with the songs (or it's not your typical genre of choice and it's difficult to follow along listening) please check out either the lyric videos or see the links below for the song lyrics. Whether good/bad/happy/sad, be grateful for the memories we have with him. Love and miss you cousin, Rock In Paradise.
1. Staind - Everything changes
2. Three Days Grace - World So Cold
3. Seether - Broken (ft. Amy Lee)
4. Linkin Park - Waiting For The End
5. Chevelle - Well Enough Alone
6. Avenged Sevenfold - Afterlife
7. Papa Roach - Forever
8. Linkin Park - In The End
9. Three Days Grace - Riot
10. Linkin Park - Somewhere I Belong
11. Avenged Sevenfold - So Far Away
12. Korn - Falling Away From Me
13. Linkin Park - Leave All The Rest
14. Staind - Zoe Jane
15. Sum 41 - So Long Goodbye
16. Staind - Something To Remind You
17. Coldplay - Fix You
18. Shinedown - The Crow & The Butterfly
19. Coldplay - The Scientist
20. Cyndi Lauper - True Color
21. 2 Pac - Changes
22. Michael Jackson - Man In The Mirror