Friday, May 3, 2013

Sharing My "Name"

This doesn't happen to me very often any more, but on occasion, I am thrown into a bubble, away from reality, by music. Almost a trance. I was jotting down notes about it when it happened the other day, and thought I would share. If you get it, you get it on a really core level. If you don't, I'm afraid I sound far crazier than you'd previously imagined. And if you're in the latter camp, I'm at least kind of on your side.

I spent almost an hour thinking about how much I don't like the band Iron and Wine. Somewhat inexplicably. I don't dislike the artist as a person or dislike the music on some principal level, but I feel like it is the most generic indie folk music that you could possibly create. The words are fine, but the arrangements and the droniness of his voice just bug me to such a degree that I think that if I was at a party and an Iron and Wine song came on, I would want to smash my punch cup to smithereens on the ground (or crumple the paper cup, more likely). I can't think of any other band that I so dislike.

Usually, I have that intense of a reaction to a song or band because I love it. Sometimes I love a song so much that I become jealous of other people hearing it. It means so much to me for one reason or another that I don't want someone who does not fully appreciate it to mar it by playing it with the wrong attitude or devalue it by overplaying it or do anything but fall into a grave of love for 3 minutes and 39 seconds. I know that sounds really pretentious, but maybe it makes sense if you've ever felt that reverent connection with a piece of music too. In my review of April post, I mentioned this song, which is the first in a while to push me into that "grave of love", and brought many of these old feelings of connection with music to the surface. It does pain me a little bit to share it here, but I'll explain in a minute why I do share it. But please, try and be in appropriate awe. Listening on headphones is best.

I used to work myself into a very dark mood when I would hear my sister Annelise playing something on repeat that I held dear. Somehow I felt like she couldn't love it the way that I did, and I didn't want to share intimacy I had found with a song, even though it was by no means mine, in any literal sense. Once, I heard the Goo Goo Doll's song "Name" over the store speakers while shopping at Ross and just about lost my mind over the injustice of any old person off the street being able to hear that song, thereby defiling a section of my soul. Somehow I'd thought that it was just for me and I was so tied to it that probably no one else even knew about it. It was just one of those small (by which I mean huge) injustices of the human existence.
Equal in the level of heinousness as taking the most incredible pastry you've ever eaten and having it decorated birthday-cake style at Walmart or something. If such a thing exists. Sorry if that's totally offensive and/or doesn't make any sense.

I used to feel the same way about seeing a particularly stunning view of the ocean or a patch of starry sky or some other such gem that I could either choose to cherish in my own private moment of awe, or, as I came to realize, share with someone I love. As I've grown older (and maybe marriage has something to do with it too), I almost always choose to share things now instead of keep them to myself. Even if someone is irreverent toward a piece of art that I value highly, my own experience with it is still my possession and I don't have to be upset with someone else not seeing it's full value - I am still appreciating its worthiness enough to confirm how extraordinary it is.

Back in the day, making a mix tape for someone was an act of sincere love on my part, which took me hours, and I would write out what I loved about each song to share with my loved one. In my mind, it became as precious as the wisemen's gifts to Jesus. How can I even describe the intensity of that kind of connection to a song? It reminds me of the manic scratching of a phantom itch to the point of rawness. It is ingrained deep in your veins, and you're its captive until the song and its aura have ended, the cloud has passed over, and the spell is broken.

While I was at work the other day, listening to "Name" and thinking all of these thoughts, I wrote, "If I got fired from my job right now for not being able to hear anything people are saying to me because I'm listening to the Goo Goo Dolls with both earphones in, I wouldn't even care. 'Cause Jonas and Ishmael and I would be fine on the streets as long as our iPod was charged." It makes me reckless to my core. I'm built on these songs in corners of my life.

I've become so boring and stable since high school. Jonas kind of looks at me skeptically when I tell him I was kinda-goth, definitely-emo. But I am worlds happier now, and I'd rather share what I love and run the risk of someone dismissing it than keep it all to myself and spiral into insane cat-lady-dom, humming popular songs to myself and attacking anyone else who happens to know the same song .

If you're willing to share, what songs have affected you deeply? Do you have your own theme song?


  1. I have a visceral hate reaction to Jack Johnson. I can't tell you why, specifically, but as soon as I hear those twanging noises and plaintant whisper voice I want to pull out my hair and punch something.

    Sometimes I seem to fall into the well of a song and get lost in it and it's all I can listen to over and over for two weeks. It comes up on shuffle and no matter what comes up next it just isn't good enough and I end up hitting the back button several times in a row.

    Only One by Yellowcard was my obsession in the summer of 2008. Fall 2011 it was (belatedly) Coldplay's Viva la Vida. Last summer it was Awake My Soul by Mumford and Sons (again, belatedly).

    I remember being back in Australia one time and the song Shadow of the Day, one of my fav tracks off Linkin Park's minutes to midnight played on the radio while I was driving and I was STUNNED - it just didn't seem right that a song that felt small and mine, not popular and everyone's, be on the radio.

    In short, I totally get what you're saying and I love that we are both nutso like this :)

    1. Oooh I forgot some older ones! Gaelle's Give It Back in 2006, My Chemical Romance's Ghost of You in 2007. Collide by Howie Day in 2008. (Yellowcard was 2007). I LOVE MY MUSIC!!!


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