Shane has this saying that he uses when he hears a song or watches a show that really gets to him – he brings his fist to his chest, squints his eyes, and says, with much emotion, ‘awwww, yeah – this speaks to my soul!’.  It happened the other night when ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ by Led Zeppelin came on the radio, then again when we watched a particularly poignant episode of Wonder Years.  I love his ability to be deeply affected by music (and I especially love the air guitar solo that usually accompanies such affected-ness), and I often laugh at the way that he can so intensely relate his own experiences to those seen on television (apparently Shane’s growing-up years are reminiscent of Kevin Arnold’s adolescent struggles)…  And so I started thinking: what speaks to my soul?

My first answer for television is easy – we have been rewatching the final season of Six Feet Under, and nearly every single episode has brought me to tears.  And I’m not talking just one glistening drop – the last episode we watched had me doing the full-on heaving, sobbing, uncontrollable ‘ugly cry’.  The writing on this show is brilliant – to the point that I have actually convinced myself that I know the Fisher family and just might run into them next time I’m in L.A.  I wouldn’t say that I really identify with any of the characters (which is probably a good thing, since they are all a little bit (or a lot) crazy), and yet, I am so invested in all of them.  So soul-speakingly good.  Some good friends of ours are also avid fans and we have a date tonight to watch the show’s finale together.  I have been looking forward to it all week – and I will be arriving at their house with my pockets full of Kleenex.

My second choice is slightly less sophisticated, but for the sake of full disclosure, I will admit that I loved Felicity.  It’s true.  I never really watched the show when it was airing on TV, but I rented all of the seasons a few years ago and devoted many hours to following the Felicity-Ben/Felicity-Noel/Felicity-Ben/Felicity-Noel saga.  I’m not going to try to justify my affection for this cheesy adolescent drama, I will just say that for some reason that I’m unable to pinpoint, I adored Felicity, in all her fickleness, and often found myself wanting to be a part of her New York City college experience.  There, I said it.

Now, for music: the first artist that pops into my head is Damien Rice – his album O in particular.  The music is beautiful, but the memories I have associated with it are what really get to me.  I can so clearly remember listening to this album on my iPod as I was riding the Metro to and from French class during my first month in Paris.  Makes me smile, in a longing-for-past-days kind of way.  Proof that sometimes the memories associated with a song are just as moving as the music itself.

Ryan Adams is another favorite – his talent for song-writing is beyond amazing, and his voice is so wonderfully wrought with emotion.  When I’m at work and ‘The Sun Also Sets’ or ‘Oh My Sweet Carolina’ come on my iPod, it’s all I can do to keep from embarrassing myself by belting out the bluesy lyrics.  We saw him at the Paramount a couple of years ago, and it goes down as one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.  I have a hard time picking out a favorite album, but Heartbreaker is the one I’m most recently putting on repeat.

Finally, I can’t complete this list without paying tribute to Smashing Pumpkins.  Turn off your lights, lay on your bed, crank up ‘Disarm’, and you will know what I’m talking about.  When I got my braces off in 8th grade and was asked what color/pattern I wanted my retainer to be, I chose blue plastic with glittery starts and moons, because it reminded me of the album cover of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.  How’s that for a fan story?  I played Siamese Dream over and over and over during my freshman year of high school.  Then again during my last year of college.  And now it’s found it’s way onto my playlist once again.  Timeless.

This is the top of my list – what’s at the top of yours?