Music is important. The right song is like spiritual acupressure. It hits the right points at the right time and releases all of the tension built up in your soul. The tears you needed to shed come pouring out or your feet start bouncing you around as your heart makes like Icarus.
That’s why I’m jealous of musicians. Sure, a good story can trigger those emotions. A painting can speak to you on a level you’ll never really understand.
But, none of it is as universally powerful as music.
Music binds us. Music explains us. Music can restore us in ways other art can’t.
More than anything else, I think I measure my life in music.
My memory isn’t the greatest anymore. I think Socrates was right and I should have stayed off the internet and away from the written word. I have a hard enough time remembering last week, let alone five, ten, or twenty-five years ago.
But, music changes that.
Certain songs have a way of triggering some primordial part of my brain and thrusting me back in time.
On any given day, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you much about my life before high school at the absolute earliest (and really, it’s probably more like my junior or senior year). But, the other day I was watching television and happened to hear someone playing Tag Team’s 1993 Classic hit, Whoomp! (There it is).
I couldn’t help but think of the time when I was 12 or 13 and spent a few days staying with my cousins. Some of the details were still hazy. I couldn’t tell you for sure what year it was, but it had to have been late ’95, early ’96 because it was cold and snowing. Also, we spent an inordinate amount of time listening to Tag Team and the Polaris “Happily Deranged” cassette.
(If you don’t know, Happily Deranged was a collection of music from Pete & Pete. It was only available on cassette, and if memory serves me correctly, there was some sort of cereal promotion involved in getting a copy. Fortunately, it appears Polaris re-released it as a full album in 2008! *)
Anyway, Happily Deranged came out in 95, so I’m going to assume it was Christmas Break ’95 or possibly spring break ’96. Either way, my cousin and I were pubescent boys. There was snow. And, perhaps inevitably, a girl.
The details aren’t important now. Just the power of music, even a silly song from the early 90’s, is the message.
My entire life is filled with those songs of the moment. Even just a few chords can trigger some powerful memories. They flood the brain and fire the synopses.
And, that’s why music is important.
Music is a big part of my life. It’s a big part of my writing. It’s the underappreciated background of the psyche.
And I think I want to spend a bit more time talking about it. At least for now.
Author’s Note: The Polaris link is an affiliate link. As a general rule, if I link to Amazon it is an affiliate link. I get very small amounts of money if you use this link and then go shopping. This helps me pay for things like nostalgic rock albums filled with songs from a beloved childhood television show.