Other than music, I can’t think of many things that have as equal the capacity for miraculous greatness as they do stupendous tragedy. Maybe people– but isn’t that a given? Food has such capacities, but isn’t food just music for your stomach? I would say bowel movements, but that’s gross. And aren’t bowel movements really just music for… Well, you know what… Let’s just move along… No, music is definitely unique, yet profoundly shared.
We are bound to the inexorable vibrations that inhabit the sounds and rhythms all around us– or something like that. Music connects us. I’m not sure if you knew this, but I recently played a show, and while I’m relatively awful and nearly butchered half the obscure New Wave songs I attempted during my set, I was more than pleasantly surprised at how many people appreciated or knew the words to songs I thought would be head-scratchers. Even my beloved Spandau Ballet deep cuts were well received! It felt good to be reminded we are all linked in melodic ways we don’t often realize.
Even further back, I can remember the very first albums I bought on my own– a joyful recollection I’m sure you the reader can easily conjure. I got my parents to take me to the Turtle’s Records on Forsyth Road, where I excitedly spent my gift coin on three cassette tapes: Nirvana’s Nevermind, Pearl Jam’s Ten, and Stone Temple Pilots’ Core. It was right before a weekend-long class field trip, and those cassette tapes got passed around the bus like a porno mag. I don’t even remember where we went that trip, just the bus rides. It was an exciting time, though it probably explains my irritating sense of possessiveness over certain bands later in life.
I would assume this is how it works for everyone, but some of my strongest memories are tangled up around music and musically influenced experiences. My first real concert was when my parents took a group of us to Atlanta to see The Cardigans. My first real real concert– sans parents– was Primus at the Masquerade, where the speakers were so tall and loud that they swayed like screaming trees in the wind and a roadie had to run up and make sure they were securely stacked! My worst concert experience was an embarrassing display of ego and crowd baiting performed by Everclear at Music Midtown in Atlanta 1999. To be fair, we were only there waiting to see Iggy Pop play the next set. Also, OutKast was just as memorable that year, so it wasn’t all bad.
It might be hokey, but music truly is the soundtrack to your life. For the past several years that’s almost the only music my children want to listen to, so I know a lot about soundtracks– or children’s movie soundtracks anyways. But you have to let it go and try everything. Because even when it’s at its worst, music is awesome! And when it’s at its best, you can’t stop the feeling. But seriously, do make it stop. I did “the floss” to Baby Shark the other day. I need help.