Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Music Of Our Lives

Music is such an interesting thing.  As far as I know it doesn't occur in nature.  This natural things we refer to as song - bird song, whale song, etc. - are more language that true music.  Music is an encoding of emotion into sound and words and how it is interpreted, for me, has changed throughout my life.

When I was young I learned music from my brother and it soon became background noise when I did homework.  Back then it was more the rhythm than the lyrics that mattered.  Most of the time I couldn't even understand the lyrics.  I did read the liner notes sometimes but the rhythm of the music was most important to me.

When I moved on to college my music went with me but it moved from the background to become my escape.  Music was where I went when I was stressed and frustrated with my young adult life.  Headphones would go on, eyes would close, and I would drift away to a world where things didn't matter.  Even then the lyrics were often not important.  Now it was the emotions conjured up by the music that was important.

I graduated from college and the real world intruded into my music habits.  I didn't listen to as much as I used to but it never left my life.  Over the years its function shifted again, this time to nostalgia.  I heard once that our taste in music is locked in during our high school and early college years.  It definitely did for me.  Most of the music (but not all) that I listen to now is classic rock from the 70s and 80s.  

"Holding on to Yesterday"
by Ambrosia

As music has become nostalgic for me the lyrics have begun to be more prominent.  I take the time to listen to the words and the internet has been a convenient source of lyrics.  Putting lyrics to the emotions and the rhythms has brought me to where I am today.  Music has now gained meaning in my life.  I'm not sure if this is necessarily a good thing.  Some music has become more meaningful as I've gotten older and more experienced until it has gained too much meaning.  

Meaning links music to events.  For me these events often have to do with loss.  The passing of my brother and father.  The passing of Gv (four years ago today).  These events link songs to the emotions felt at the time.  I listened to songs to escape from sorrow and the songs become inextricably linked to sorrow.   The links are so strong that, until recently, I have not been able to listen to certain songs.  The emotions and memories they recall were too painful.

As I walked the Appalachian Trail the music in my head was all that distracted me on the hard days.  I was not the only one.  One hiker who I never met would write lyrics in the shelter journals. He would put a single verse in each journal so it took several shelters and thus several days to 'hear' the whole song.

Some of the oddest songs bubbled up during that six month hike and I realized how little of the songs I actually knew.  I began looking up lyrics when I was in town and looking up new songs.  I listened to Spotify on my phone.  Inevitably some of those painful songs would come around in the circulation and, after an initial shock, I found they'd become more tolerable.  The emotions are still there but they now carry the patina of nostalgia.

I suppose that is true with all emotions.  They fade over time and are only brought to the surface if something, like music, triggers their reemergence.  Despite the pain that I sometimes feel, I don't know what I would do without the music in my life.

If you are interest in my somewhat eclectic taste in music you can listen to my far-from-comprehensive Spotify "Music I Like" playlist.




Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy US Thanksgiving!!!

 To all my family and friends in the United States, I wish you a Happy, Socially Distant, and Safe Thanksgiving.

I am thankful that, as this trying year nears its end, there are signs of hope on the horizon.

An iconic image of Zuri Jenson 
by Anthony T. Peña


Saturday, November 07, 2020

Good Riddance To Bad Rubbish

To our EX-President I only have one thing to say which I will express with a song:

Warning:  This song uses the F-word in copious amounts and is Not Safe For Work (NSFW)


"F**k You"
by Lily Allen

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Do The Right Thing - VOTE

If you haven't cast your vote for the Democrats then you'd better get off you bum and get to your polling place and get it done.  Wear your mask, maintain social distancing, and don't be afraid of the lines.  The future of our democracy may very well be at stake.  Do your civic duty.

From BLM protests earlier this year - Wisdom.
If you are not planning to vote or think the Republicans are doing a bang up job, What the hell is wrong with you?