Music is ridiculous. To a real music lover* few things hold a power comparable to what can be unleashed by a couple of chunky riffs harking back to one’s hip-shaking youth. Or a single soul-puncturing solo dropped from the heavens. Or that one towering chorus you used to sing along to with your friends on the way to the show you’d waited months to attend.
If you’ll forgive the metaphors, music is like a whiff from a passing perfume instantaneously returning you to a love lost long ago; something dwelling deep, tucked away and forgotten, until it’s rediscovered and reemerges from those depths and you feel fucking flattened.
I suppose that’s where the metaphor ends. The destruction is real. Those memories happened and those feelings? That loss and that sadness…that’s all real.
Sometimes I’ll pass a restaurant’s exhaust fan and remember when I used to deliver pizzas. Or I’ll catch of whiff off the vacuum and remember that time when I thought I’d hit it rich sellin those things for a living. Other times, I’ll hear a song on the radio and just about crash the goddamned minivan because where (when?) the hell am I anyway?
Life is really mysterious. All of it. Well, except for music, that is. What’s mysterious about the way you felt the first time you thought you really understood the Doors? What remains unknown about the summer you discovered the Grateful Dead or that other band that changed your life forever?
Sure…you’re amazed that you even survived any of that, but the music and how it moved you and how it catalyzed your relationships with your friends and your place in those moments – all of that is as clear as glass when you’re cruising down the highway with the windows rolled down and for a single beautiful flash….
….you find yourself back there in that time. A place where everything seemed possible. Youth and life, the past and the future and, well…everything…was infinite. Amazing, isn’t it?
I feel for the poor soul who’d struggle when asked to find his or her place in music history. Unless they’re not there yet, of course, in which case, I’m really fucking envious of their journey that lies ahead.
* An insufferable type, really. Constantly comparing and discussing and deconstructing; making list upon list of the best from this genre from that decade; an obnoxious asshole to the uninitiated, I’m sure.