Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Fifteen Days of Gratitude 15.10: MUSIC
For me, it's like the chorus to Boston's "More Than A Feeling," which I used to lose my mind for in high school. It was like a frenzy when that song came on. Heads banging, windows shaking, people mildly concussing. Or there's Christine McVie's haunting (it's about witches so I get to say haunting) piano intro in the live performance of Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon." It gives me chills, even though it lasts for maybe 5 seconds, tops. I'll never forget hearing "Paradise" by Coldplay when I was driving through a mountain pass over the borderline from Cork into Kerry. The song began, and as though I were in a music video, suddenly I topped the hill and before me was a panoramic chorus of color and landscape that was more beautiful because of that soaring symphonic arrangement that yanks your breath out of your chest, almost like the moment after a swimmer jumps off the starters block in a heat, but right before they hit the water; or when you fly over the crest of a rollercoaster and your stomach and your lungs and your heart bang around like fireworks in a telephone booth.
I still have those playlists... they're like time capsules. Isn't it astonishing, the way music transports you? "Select... play... BAM!" The soundtrack to Garden State is also known as the soundtrack to my first breakup. I couldn't hear it without getting wistful, which really pissed me off because I liked that album. So one night I sat in my car, in the dark, and forced myself to listen to it over and over and over, and I squeezed out that reserve of tears and sentimental associations, until I didn't associate it with anything but the dashboard of my car, the pink lei hanging from my rear-view mirror, and the bright lights of the football field across the street. (7 years later, I can still see it) If you were to put my heart on puppet strings for this week, you could make one string Adele, one string Florence + the Machine, and one the Epilogue from the Les Miserables soundtrack. I once sat in a parking lot, waiting for my car to get towed and listening to that song, openly crying. When the tow truck operator arrived, he looked at me and said "What happened?!" I shook my head and smiled bashfully and said "I was just listening to the Les Mis soundtrack." He looked at me blankly and said "...no, what happened to your car?"