We all like what we like, and we love what we love, but the passage of time has a way of making much of what we once cherished fade a bit or diminish, especially in the world of style and pop culture.

    We all like what we like, and we love what we love, but the passage of time has a way of making much of what we once cherished fade a bit or diminish, especially in the world of style and pop culture.

    This is most apparent when it comes to growing up and becoming an adult. Often we'll look back at the clothes we insisted made us the coolest, trend-setting kids on the planet, the one-for-the-ages mullets we grew that bounced perfectly on the shoulders of our jean jackets, the shows and movies we watched that we thought were hilarious, and the way we talked and the things we said that were so clever...and wonder why some wise grownup didn't pull us aside back then and alert us to the folly of our ways. (OK, maybe an adult or two did attempt a similar intervention on possibly multiple occasions, but we were kids, so we lent a deaf ear.)

    But we all have some tried-and-true, die-hard, go-to things that stand the test of time and remain near and dear to our hearts over the long-term.

    While I can’t help but cringe when I come across certain songs that I worshipped back in the 1980s, some of those glam-metal rockers have stuck with me, and - I can't believe I'm about to type this - I found myself last weekend in the truck, driving to the lake, windows down and sunroof wide open, blasting the song "Madelaine" by Winger, screaming along note-perfect (NOT) to every word and playing one-handed air guitar with pinpoint accuracy (YES) while my other hand manned the steering wheel.

    But, here's the test: If I were running an errand and "Madelaine" came on the radio, would I alter my route to make it take a bit longer so I could hear the whole song? No, I would not. Dan "The Common Man" Cole on KFAN one time a while back called songs that achieve that level of timeless affinity "wait in the driveway until it’s over" songs.

    Radio shows like Cole's play various songs when they come back from a batch of commercials. They call it "bumper music,” and you can usually count on the selected menu of tunes reflecting the host's musical tastes. For Common Man, it's a lot of classic rock, Bob Dylan and The Beatles. One day a while back, a verse of Jackson Browne's "Runnin' on Empty" played as the latest run of commercials ended, and Common Man noted that it was a very good song, but not quite a "wait in the driveway until it’s over" song. A song like Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" reaches that loftiest of echelons, Cole said. Or maybe he said it was Young's "Old Man." Oh, who cares...it's Neil Young!

    Since that day, I've thought about songs that would compel me to sit in the truck in the driveway until they’re finished, and the list in my head is so long, I might ending up sitting in our driveway for six months.

    You could do the same for movies. What movies, when you mindlessly channel scroll with the remote control on some random evening, make you stop and press "select”? In our house the list has some length, with films like "Good Will Hunting", "Gladiator", "Dead Poets Society", “The Breakfast Club”, “Beautiful Girls”, “The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, “Cast Away” and numerous others reliable attention-grabbers. I’m also attracted to films, even of the somewhat obscure variety, that feature iconic actors at their best, such as “The Outlaw Josey Wales” with Clint Eastwood, “Hombre” and “Absence of Malice” with Paul Newman, and “Five Easy Pieces” featuring Jack Nicholson in possibly his best cinematic scene ever. “Well, you see this sign?!” he tells the crabby waitress before violently swiping all of the cups, plates and silverware from the restaurant booth onto the floor. Oh, it’s so, so good.

    But for me, the 2000 Cameron Crowe film, “Almost Famous” might be tops on my press-select-on-the-remote-control list. If I’ve had a bad day or I’m otherwise beaten into submission by the endless grind, toss me the remote, tell me Almost Famous started 10 minutes ago, and I’ll be in a far better state of mind in mere seconds. (Yes, I know I could watch it on the DVR whenever I want, but why risk spoiling the magical wonder of it all with universal, unlimited access to one’s favorite things?)

    And why wouldn’t Crowe’s masterpiece reliably take me to a better place? The film’s plot revolves around 1970s rock and roll and  young love, it stars the immensely talented Frances McDormand, and it’s semi-autobiographical because it lovingly recalls Crowe’s own teenage youth, when he found himself traveling the country with some of the best rock bands of the day, writing about them for Rolling Stone magazine.

    Just writing that paragraph makes me grin. What songs and movies can always be counted on to stop you in your tracks? Take a moment or two and think of some. We could all use more excuses to smile these days, after all.