There is the old cliche that music can change your mood in an instant. Oftentimes, I am the cliche. Driving in my car a song on the radio will put in the mood for shopping, reading a book, or dancing within the span of 8 minutes. The emotional hills and valleys that I go through listening to music come up as quickly as the mileposts on the highway. On Saturdays, when there is work to be done in my apartment, I open the blinds or windows, turn up the radio on an upbeat (usually hip hop) station and get busy. Choosing one CD to listen during one period of productive time is more difficult.

I have a habit of listening to an album until it is worn out and tired. I get a new album and listen to it over and over. I've been known to put certain songs or even the whole CD on repeat for hours. Because of this, I know every word to albums of bands like U2, Sarah Mclachlan, James, Harry Connick Jr., Billy Brag and Wilco, Michelle Shocked, David Wilcox, Jimmy Buffet, and show tunes like Les Mis and Phantom. So much useless information floating around my brain taking up space for real knowledge like whom all of my government representatives are and how they vote in their various arenas. I know that this mind hoarding of information happens to everybody to some degree, but not only do lyrics hide in my long-term memory, but with those lyrics and melodies are visual, olfactory, and textural memories. Songs, and especially whole albums can bring back days, events, and sometimes-whole years. Like James "Laid" CD evokes the memory or Camp Morehead where I was a (non-sailing) counselor for one summer in high school. I had brought the only CD player for the cabin so I forced the 12-13 year old girls to listen to my brooding British music. Camp Morehead was dismantled a few years ago and the land sold to people building their dream second homes on the shores of many peoples childhood summers. I actually hated camp, but every once in a while when I listen to "Laid" I wish for the slow breeze coming off the Bogue Sound and all the little SunFish sailing in the wind. There is another CD in my collection that I bought in the Dominican Republic on spring break my last year in college. A resident of the house my friend and I stayed in played a native Dominican's CD everyday so it became the soundtrack to our visit. The music is poorly produced and there are barking dogs used as part of the beat on one song, but that CD is probably the best souvenir I've ever gotten from a trip. Sometimes, in summer, I'll put it on in my car; roll all the windows down and just drive, thinking of the Dominican. There are many more CDs and even more recollections.

And so all these memories attached to my music cause the choosing of music to listen to at a particular time quite difficult. There are rows and rows of CDs in my collection that I just can't bring myself to play because friends and trips and times in my life are gone and can't be reclaimed. Nostalgia is sad state for me and one I only visit when I really miss someone or someplace. And I'm so thankful when sometimes; somehow with new places and good friends I have the opportunity to attach new memories to the music.

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com Blingo Self-Portrait Day
  • flickr!
  • ~ © Anna ~ it ain't Shakespeare, but it ain't yours either ~