Houston Matters

Houston Matters Mix Tape Vol. 3: Some Shakira, And Songs About Growing Up

Listeners reached out to share their favorite songs with the rest of Houston.


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Just because we’re socially distant doesn’t mean we have to be emotionally distant — it’s a distinction we’ve been repeating a lot on Houston Matters lately. And we’ve been using music as a demonstration — with your help.

In recent weeks, we presented two volumes of the Houston Matters Mix Tape — a sort of community-wide playlist of music you love and why you love it. And now we’re pleased to debut Volume 3.

This collection includes some firsts: our first instrumental selection, our first mother/daughter song suggestion combo, and our first band that’s collaborated with an NPR host (unless Nina Totenberg secretly sat in with the E Street Band when Springsteen wasn’t looking).

For this edition we’ve chosen nine songs to highlight, all of which you can find on Spotify. SHARE YOUR SONG

The Houston Matters Mixtape Vol. 3:

Volume 3 begins with a selection by listener Sandra Ruiz, who chose Chris De Burgh’s The Lady in Red as a moment of self-actualization. Ruiz spent her summer studying her college entrance exams and reaped the rewards when she was the only one of her group of friends to enter the college of her choice.

Ruiz wore her favorite red dress out to celebrate when the Chris De Burgh song began playing. Although the song is a romantic love ballad, at that moment it became Ruiz’s victory song.

Houston Matters producer Brenda Valdivia first heard the song Holding On by the local Houston band, Swimwear Department, live at the Continental Club.

The song is about a parent reminiscing about their teenage years after dropping off their child at the mall and the conflicting hopes and fears a parent feels for their child growing up.

“When I hear this song, I can hear everything great about Houston,” Valdivia said. “My friends, the artists, the comedians, the dreamers. And my family — who hold my past and my future.”

Remember who you are and where you came from
When you’re doing all that stupid teenage
S__t I always wish that I had done,
And if you need me
I’ll be right outside in the Suburban
This is my little way of letting go
And holding on

Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Gray chose Once in a Lifetime (Letting the Days Go By) by Talking Heads as her mantra during the pandemic. The song highlights the strange moments in the banality of everyday life.

And you may find yourself
Living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself
In another part of the world
And you may find yourself
Behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house
With a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?

“Right now it feels like we’re all suspended in one of the verses,” Grey said. “And I’m wondering if it will ever be ‘The same as it ever was. The same as it ever was.'”

Listener Paul Dominguez chose the whimsical song Hang On Little Tomato by Pink Martini to help Houstonians remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“I hope you enjoy this song and I hope that it brings you light in these dark times,” Dominguez said.

Share The Songs That Matter To You:

If you want to add your own song to a future community mix tape, download the free Houston Public Media News app on the Apple or Google Play app stores.

Once you’re in the app, select “open mic” in the menu, press record, and you’ll have 60 seconds to tell us what the song is and why you love it.

Then press “send” and e-mail your comments to us. We’ll take care of the rest. Happy listening!