thank me for not including Bright Eyes

March 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’ve been sitting awkwardly cross-legged for hours, dumping my many CDs into iTunes so that more work mixes can be created. One thing I’ve learned is that I need more furniture and way better lighting. One thought I’ve been less awkwardly pondering while pounding feeling back into my lower half is how subjective and combative we can become about music. Much moreso than books, at least for me. If I pass along a book that I love to someone I think will love it equally, and the person is “meh” about it, I take that response and break it down into chunks, parse it for educational background, personal taste, timing, etc., and try to do better at recommending a book the next time. If I pass along a CD that I love to someone I think will love it equally, and the person is “meh” about it, we might not be friends anymore.

What is the emotional connection to music that is more immediate than to the written word? I mean, it is music, right? We wouldn’t connect more to an audiobook than a paperback simply due to the addition of sound. Something about a voice, a chord, a harmony makes an immediate impact in our brains and cements a relationship with whatever’s going on around us at the time. I include Arthur Russell above as an example – the instant I hear the cello I am flooded with the feeling, the insane sense memory of falling in love for the first time, really falling hard, of needing no food or drink or any sustenance but the physical presence of this person one more time. And if I hand this music over to you, and you go “It was okay, kind of poor production value, and his voice is a little whiny, and doesn’t he look like a wasting version of that guy from Sideways?”, I will slit your throat.

One of my best friends holds a precious spot in my life because we’ve known each other so long and so musically intimately (while also not knowing each other well at all in many ways) that we can hold entire email conversations whose sole content is song titles and lyrics. It’s our shorthand, and I know where he is and how he feels line by line, and he knows the same about me, and it means something. Wanna know what it feels like to fall out of love with me? Here, and I will slit your throat if you disagree…

M

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§ One Response to thank me for not including Bright Eyes

  • J. says:

    It’s like you read my mind! I was thinking about this–mostly thanks to your inclusion of the Get Up Kids on the work mix. (This also sort of relates to your previous post, as I loved ‘Songs to Write Home About’ when I was 14, and shit, I was 14 almost 10 years ago.) Reading is a solitary thing, but music is so readily shared. Maybe it’s because we (or just I) associate certain songs or albums with experiences more so than I do with literature. If you tell me you think ‘The Basement Tapes’ sucks, it’s like you’re denying a whole part of my existence. That hurts. Heck, there’s even a Bright Eyes song or two that takes me back. I’m in shorts and sitting on a sloping hill in that late summer light that’s just-so. Yeah, it’s nice. You got me, Conor Oberst.

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