The Soundtrack of your Life

On TV and in movies, the world is perfect. People don’t have middle-aged acne. They aren’t thick around the middle. They don’t mow the yard or pay bills. And, when the turning points come up, the ideal song is playing.

Simply defined, a turning point happens when the story goes in a new direction. In fiction, which includes movies and TV shows, the turning point is what keeps you on the edge of your seat. In real life, turning points make you wish you could go back in time, go to sleep and never wake up, or know back then what you know now.

But, in movies and TV shows, turning points are golden. The music playing in the background goes a long way toward creating that effect.

Take Fast Times at Ridgemont High as an example. The scene in which Stacy Hamilton loses her virginity to Ron Johnson, the stereo salesman, is a turning point in Stacy’s character arc. After that scene, for better or worse, Stacy Hamilton’s life takes a new direction.

“Somebody’s Baby” by Jackson Browne plays during the scene. Remember that song? I can’t hear it without thinking of checkered Vans, video arcades, and t-shirts with OP on them. Below is a video of Jackson Browne singing “Somebody’s Baby” if you’re up for a trip down memory lane.


Last example: The tagline for True Romance was Stealing, Cheating, Killing. Who said romance is dead? Snappy, ain’t it? Dang, I wish I could write like that.

Remember the scene in which the stoner, Floyd/Brad Pitt, tells the mafia dudes where to find Clarence and Alabama…and the cocaine they stole? This turning point leads to the final showdown. Without Floyd, the mafia dudes wouldn’t have found Clarence and Alabama when they did.

“Outshined” by Soundgarden plays in the background. Below is a quick clip of the scene:


Now that you have Brad Pitt’s honey bear bong and the concept of turning points burned on your brain, let’s apply the concept of turning points and music to everyday life.

I don’t know about y’all, but music has marked some of the biggest, baddest, and juiciest turning points in my life.

Some years ago, I made a decision that ultimately led me to writing fiction. As fate had it, “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac was playing the radio. I call it fate because “Landslide” was already an old song, and the Dixie Chicks had not yet revived it with their cover. It didn’t play on the radio as often as it does now. Below is the version of “Landslide” I was listening to when I decided to change my life forever:

I won’t say this turning point has made my life roses. To tell the truth, a lot of the time, my life has been more weeds than roses. It was, however, a huge turning point in my life, and the music playing in the background was a part of it.


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