It’s the same old song (and dance).

There is usually a list that gets circulated once a year that contains the best songs to listen to while your loved one is deployed. It seems like the songs get reused over and over again, but not this year! I chose non-traditional songs that span from the 1980s to today. I selected a song from the beginning and end of each decade.

Early 1980s: 

Shanghai Breezes” by John Denver (1982)

Another spouse told me that this was her go-to song back in the early 80s. Even though I hadn’t heard of this John Denver tune, the chorus is what struck me most. It speaks to the heart of what we spouses went through. Back in the 80s and 90s, when your spouse was deployed, there was only a five-minute phone call once a week (if you were lucky). We latched onto those calls like a huge lifeline.

And the moon and the stars are the same ones you see

It’s the same old sun up in the sky

And your voice in my ear is like heaven to me

John Denver was known for his ballads but this one is particularly poignant. There is always a connection between to people who love each other, no matter where they are in the world.

Late 1980s:

Right Here Waiting” by Richard Marx (1989)

This was one song that I would listen to as the deployment got toward the end of its time. Sometimes we tend to wonder if we can make it as a couple. It’s a normal progression of the separation. The chorus reminds us that this feeling is only temporary. It may be difficult but your relationship CAN survive.

Wherever you go

Whatever you do

I will be right here waiting for you

Whatever it takes

Or how my heart breaks

I will be right here waiting for you

With tears in my eyes, I would repeat that line over and over again both as an affirmation and a confirmation. BTW, a good cry is very cathartic for everyone.

Early 1990s:

Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor (1991)

Usually people remember Sinead’s performance on Saturday Night Live where she tore a picture of the Pope in half but this song is embedded in my memory because it perfectly summed up my emotional state at the time.

It’s been seven hours and fifteen days

         Since you took your love away

Sadness seems an understood emotion during deployments but hearing songs about it makes it easier to endure. The lyrics spoke to me on a very deep level.

Late 1990s:

You’ll be in My Heart” by Phil Collins (1999)

Don’t laugh at this one. I know it has two strikes against it. 1) It’s a Disney song from Tarzan. And 2) it’s really about a mother and child. But don’t dismiss it. It easily applies to adult relationships.

You’ll be in my heart

         Yes, you’ll be in my heart

         From this day on

         Now and forever more

Besides, any song that can help you to imagine your loved one close by has good lyrics.

Early 2000s:

Here Without You” by Three Doors Down (2002)

This song is unusual in that I think of it as my spouse singing it instead of me. Most of the songs featured the main character singing the song ABOUT me not TO me.

I’m here without you baby

But you’re still on my lonely mind

It’s a nice change of pace to think of songs that reverse the person doing the missing. There are plenty of songs by this band that speak to the military spouse; I happen to think that this one is the most intense.

Late 2000s:

Come on Get Higher” by Matt Nathanson (2007)

The late 2000s weren’t known for many songs that we could relate to. Even this song is a stretch for me. The opening lines grabbed me in:

I miss the sound of your voice

And I miss the rush of your skin

And I miss the still of the silence

As you breathe out and I breathe in

But the rest of the song is more about being together than being apart. If nothing else, it’s a great song to help you remember what it will be like when he or she returns home.

Early 2010s:

Daylight” by Maroon 5 (2012)

Before this song came out, I thought that Three Doors Down had a lock on military spouse songs. But then, bam! Maroon 5 releases this little ditty.

This is our last night but it’s late

And I’m trying not to sleep

‘Cause I know, when I wake

I will have to slip away

This whole song pretty much sums up what it’s like the day before your service member leaves for TDY or deployment. It doesn’t make you cry like other songs but it does get to the heart of the matter.

Late 2010s:

Like I’m Gonna Lose You” by Meghan Trainor (2015)

This duet with John Legend is all the more sweet since we all know the stories of how much he loves his wife.

So I’ll kiss you longer baby

Any chance that I get

I’ll make the most of the minutes and love with no regrets

I doubt they are apart very much but the message still hits home: make the most of your time together. Most spouses can relate to this sentiment and we usually take it to heart!

What do you think?


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