This should be obvious, and it’s been pointed out recently, but a little over a hundred years ago, if you wanted to hear music, you went to the symphony. You might have heard one great piece once and then never heard it again. Contrast that with today. We carry our own personalized symphony in our pockets. A song that could be heard only once in 1880 can now go with us no matter where we go. Technology has enabled us to make music an everyday part of the human experience. More than that, music is something that connects us. How many times as a teenager did you seek out someone with “similar music preferences” as a friend or romantic companion? Did you ever dance with someone to “our song”? Did you ever have a song that got you through a breakup?
The emotional drama of music pulls something out of us that we may not be able to speak or word. But we’re able to hear it in the sounds shared by others. We can play it so many times through our headphones that we bore ourselves with it, tire ourselves of it. That’s pretty fascinating, you know, that we can essentially carve a song into our lives.
And so, as we live those lives, our musical tastes and preferences change with us. What we listened to in high school is something that can hear to conjure up nostalgia – throw us back to a specific place or a specific time. I can’t listen to REM’s “Night Swimming” and not think about working as a camp director where I would lifeguard at night always playing that song for my camp. I can’t hear “Christmas in the Room” and not think about the year I fell in love with Christmas spending a cold, snowy few days in the heart of America with the first girl I really loved. That’s what music is about to me. It does more than just provide background noise to our lives; it tells our history. I could catalog my life in song. And in a way that’s what these last two blogs have been about.
And yet, I couldn’t even really begin to do that. In Part One of this post, I set out to highlight some of the really meaningful songs of my life, but as I started to do it, I realized that list was too long. There’s just too much music that has spoken to and moved me to the core of who I am.
But I figured to close this blog out, I‘d pick three songs that have deeply affected me in the last few years – a song that had a hand in propelling me to Morocco, a song that, in so many ways defined my experience in Morocco, and a song for where I am now. The first is a song I obsessed over in the wake of my grandfather’s death. The second is a song that defined life living in a desert. And the final documents what the last few months of the job search have been to me. Of course, if you’d like to hear all the music from both blogs, here is a link to that, too.
So, here ya go. I hope some of this music will touch you as much as it has me: