-Susie Q. –
-Bobbi Lu –
The presence or absence of music is a great indicator of what I feel about the current state of my life. Sometimes, I am listening to music all the time, it is the constant background in my life, other times, there is silence.
I used to to have seasonal cycles of music. You knew it was summer when Jimi Hendrix was constantly playing. Around November the music would get darker and more introspective, and in February, silence.
A few years ago the music stopped and didn’t pick up again. It coincided with a time of feeling serious and like I was underachieving. This silence lasted through grad school and well beyond. It was a heavy silence, the kind where you are so wrapped up in your own world that you forget to live life. This isn’t to say that silence has no place in my life. It can be a profoundly useful tool when everything is overwhelming. But silence also allows me to withdraw completely. It makes it easier for me to fade away, hide out, and not address what may need to be addressed.
One day, during the silent period, something shifted. I was sick of the dark and heavy. Sick of being serious. Sick of the silence. I wanted noise. I wanted it to be loud and upbeat or angry or anything just as long as it broke that horrible fucking silence.
The amazing thing about music is that it has the power to pump life into me. It can shock me back into functioning. I love that music has this ability to draw me in when I need some introspection or to pull me out of my head. If I need to focus, I know I need classical symphonies or something instrumental. I put that on and the next thing I know, I am looking at four pages of writing or hours of completed work. If I need to shake things up, then I take a dive back into my high school years and let myself be carried away by Dave Grohl.
My music phases tend to pick up when I’m enthusiastic, when life is moving and I don’t know where but I am along for the ride. It’s getting loud again. I’m excited about this sound wave and ready to explore this emotional journey and what this soundtrack becomes.
I do confess to emotional consumption of Adele during the silent time because sometimes you have to feel feelings and she knows how to force them out of me.
If someone asked me if magic existed in our world, I would say “Yes, most definitely.” When asked where, I would simply point them towards music.
Music is the magic that allows me to shape reality – much like an infinity stone, but without all the fuss. If I need to be productive, I put on instrumental music, or classical music. If I need to feel light-hearted and free, then Jimmy Buffett or Journey to the rescue. Time for some darkness – slip into my old friend Type O Negative. Introspective moods call for Dido, or if I’m up for some change – I feel a country song settling in.
Then, there is also the ability to time-travel with music (the green stone, right?). If I want to go back to my younger, more reckless and yet more carefree years, I need some Blink 182, some Matchbox 20, some Spice Girls. If I want to be in a certain time with a certain person, I cue up 3rd Eye Blind’s “Jumper,” Ani DeFranco, Papa Roach, or perhaps one of the many P!nk or Alanis Morissette songs that send me into a retrospective state with past people and places.
Abraham Maslow proposed a hierarchy of needs for human development. He believes that food, water, shelter, rest, etc. – those have to come first before people can ascend to higher orders of work. I get this – it makes sense. But I would interject “music” in those “basic” needs. That is how strongly I feel music is magic, or that music makes us human – it is one of the things that set us apart.
You can’t listen to music and not be affected in some way, even indifference or intolerance of the tune is an affect. No apocalypse would be complete with music still in the world. Keep that in mind script and story writers.
I see places in music. I see moments in time when music plays. I see people in the lyrics that wend through my ears. Without this magic, there may as well be nothing, and the world can end with a whimper.
And just to top it off, because I have always loved them despite the ohh-so-trendy need to hate them – give me Nickleback any day, anytime!