Apr 22, 2013

Memories By Way of Music

I was minding my own business (ok, fine, I was playing Coin Dozer on my iPhone) and had the latest episode of The Apprentice playing on my computer and Lil Jon, who is a current contestant said a line that literally caused me to put down my phone (at a crucial level!) and start writing.

He said:
In music, you want to give people memories. You want them to identify your song with a time of life.


Mind = Blown.

I have long said that there is a soundtrack playing in my head every moment that no one else can hear- and that when they finally invent the technology that allows me to change the song or that will play a song based on my mood, all in my head, I will happily beta test it.

Every memory I have I can associate with a song.   I can also tell you what I was wearing, for some reason I remember exact outfits too.   That's not important to the point here, but I find that fascinating.   There are good memories, bad memories, things I try not to think about too often, and events that I look back upon fondly- all set to the soundtrack in my mind.   I have two very recent examples that I have related in my blog in the last few months, that I can cite here again.

When my boss passed away suddenly, we had just had our holiday party a few weeks prior and the videographer chose the Swedish House Mafia song "Don't You Worry Child" as the music when the video was released posthumously.   I hear that song all the time, since it is still a huge hit on the radio and in clubs, and yes- every single time it plays my heart starts to pound slightly faster and I blink a bit to make sure the tears don't overwhelm me.   It's just the reality of what that song means to me now, and I actually gain comfort from it even if my physical reactions seem like I'm miserable.   Side note- have you ever tried to choke back tears when the entire room is full of confetti and smoke and there's a couple hundred people waving those stupid foam light up thingies drunkenly?   Like I said, it's all about memories.

The second and much more personal example, if you can believe it, was what happened when I was alone in my room a few days after he passed.   For those of you who follow my blog you have already read a post similar to this but I'm writing it again anyway for the sake of this point I am trying to make.   I was feeling so emotionally crushed and had no outlet, no way to share the incredible sadness and pain I was feeling.   I still cannot explain what possessed me to record it, but I turned on my phone and recorded myself singing Hallelujah.   The song fit the moment so perfectly- down to the lyrics "and she cut your hair" ...I finished singing it and watched it back a couple dozen times.   And then I shared it publicly- which is something I had never done before with a song.   The act of sharing it was so cathartic- it was like I could show everyone, Yes, I am totally messed up by this event that has totally blown my life into a million pieces, and no, I'm not really okay but I have to smile and pretend I will be because that's what everyone keeps telling me to do.   I'm still struggling with it today, but now I have music I can turn to that really helps me remember the better parts.

When Thrift Shop by Mackelmore comes on, I think about how we danced in the salon, with the sound system at full volume, and one of the girls knew every single lyric.   I rap 50 Cent songs in my mirror in the morning, and my alarm clock song is Bitch Please II (and yes, I know every word).  I guess my final point is really that I wish more musicians would remember their music may end up part of someones life forever and that when they create it, make it meaningful, not just something to hit the charts with and make money off of. I mean, god bless, I hope all that happens too- but music touches people so deeply, in ways you often can't predict.   There's almost a responsibility on artists and musicians to make certain that it sounds perfect no matter what.

With that being said, I am off to listen to the Golden Oldies on Pandora and pretend I am one of the Supremes.   Like I used to do in the car when our family took road trips from Toronto to Atlanta.   Music as a memory...

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