Real music chooses you…

August 7, 2010
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Here ‘s a theory for you to disregard…completely.
Music, you know– true music–not just rock ‘n’ roll– it chooses you.

It lives in your car, or alone, listening to your headphones– you know,
with the vast, scenic bridges and angelic choirs in your brain.

It’s a place apart…from the vast, benign…lap of America.
From Almost Famous

Truer words…sigh.

The way I see it, there are 2 types of people with regard to music. Type 1 – Those who bop along and say they like music, maybe have a favorite song, maybe sing along in their cars…but it’s on their periphery, not a central player to their day. Type 2 – The other kind, well they feel the song to their toes. It isn’t background noise, it is mood altering, day-changing. They scream-sing in their cars. They dance in the kitchen while making Sunday breakfast. They wake up with a song in their heads–different from the one on the clock radio.

They are me.

I got to thinking about this after the Switchfoot/Goo Goo Dolls show on Tuesday. A live concert is powerful. Concerts have a way to consume me so completely, I cannot get far enough inside the music. I create iPod playlists based on the show’s set list  and then listen to everything I have by that band for days and days after. Reliving each moment. U2 was a big one for me, Sarah McLachlan as well…perennially the Indigo Girls have this affect on me. The way they can fill such a large space with just 2 guitars and 2 voices stuns me. I wondered if it was just me.

And I guess when I think about it, there are 2 types with in that type. I will say it–I do not like long drawn out guitar solos. I don’t enjoy minutes long instrumentals. You may look awfully sexy up there wailing on that guitar, but I find them a little self-indulgent…and well, with no way to participate, I get bored. It is the lyrics that capture me, always have.

I miss the days of liner notes. I rejoiced when a new album included the lyrics. Reading along, singing a long, learning my new favorites that much faster. I remember being little, like 3 or 4 years old and singing along to Leo Sayer “When I Need You”. That was the first song I can remember loving. The second was “Open Arms” performed by Andy Gibb on Solid Gold. Apparently, I have always liked sad sack music.

Occasionally when certain songs are heard unexpectedly, it is like taking a bullet.

There is a short but highly effective hit list that has the power to stop me dead in my tracks. It is what I imagine being shot in the chest actually feels like. The searing burning pain is palpable. I actually have a DO NOT PLAY playlist for this very reason. Music is that transformative to me.

Because it is so powerful, I can’t imagine I alone choose it. It certainly doesn’t feel that way. It must be a two way street. It is almost like a dysfunctional relationship. The drama and the agony! The highs and the lows! The push and the pull!

It is not just me in this thing.