Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Your Heart Is Big Enough For Two

Song: Cross My Heart
Artist: The Rocket Summer


It's a beautiful thing. It's one of my passions. Which is a strange thing to say when you consider that I don't play a single instrument, I can't read a lick of music, and the closest i've come to performing was a community theatre production of The Wizard of Oz when I was in 5th grade. But if you've been in the same room as me for more than 20 minutes, you've probably heard me sing or hum or whistle.

My sister Kristi once taught me and my friend the cure for the blues pretty early in my high school career. She said that when you need to be, to just exist and think, this is what you do. And the first step is optional depending on if you feel like spending money. But here it is.

Step 1: Go to McDonalds and purchase ice cream.
Step 2: Roll the windows down in your car.
Step 3: Turn up your music.
Step 4: Drive.

I never forgot that lesson. My favorite place on earth to follow those steps is in Logan, taking the long way home along 1st Dam from the Lundstrom Park area to Cliffside.

If you want to know the quantity of music in my life, here you go. You can even ask my roommates. If i'm doing the dishes: there's music. If i'm waiting for water to boil: music. What does my alarm clock do to wake me up in the morning? Plays music. It is constant. If i've ever posted something you don't quite understand or doesn't seem applicable on Facebook or Twitter, it's more than likely lyrics to whatever song i'm listening to at the moment. Where does the name of my blog come from? Lyrics from a song. What does every single one of my blog posts contain? Each title is from a song, and there's usually a link so you can listen to it. What is taking up half of one of the two drawers I have? Band t-shirts. I've made it a point to get a t-shirt at every concert I go to. What do I write at the bottom of every entry in my journal? The name of my favorite song for that day.

It's gotten to the point that I sometimes don't even realize that i'm doing these things.

Yesterday when I was riding the elevator up to my apartment, I noticed the other two girls in the elevator were kind of shooting me confused looks and that's when I realized I was singing out loud.

 Last week one of my roommates said she thought she recognized "that song." I said "What song?" She said "The one you're humming."

I can't tell you how many times i'll be having a conversation with someone and i'll pause and say, "That reminds me of a song." Needless to say, music is a fairly prominent part of my life.

I once had an experience with music that was the closest i've ever felt to transcendent. I won't attempt to describe it because I honestly know that the inadequacy of my words compared to what was felt would be disgraceful. I legitimately do not think the words exist in the English language to be able to adequately portray the experience. I think the friend that was with me will be the only human being i'll ever be able to try and discuss it with. There is one song in particular from that experience that I still can't bring myself to listen to. That is undeniably the most infinite moment that music has ever brought to my life.

The funny thing about music is that it can help you feel so many things. And I choose my words carefully because I don't think music is forceful. Powerful, yes. But not forceful. It can't MAKE you feel anything, it can only amplify what is already in you.

I don't think "that one song" that reminds you of your high school prom MAKES you nostalgic or teary-eyed, it's just a pathway for those memories to flow through. And I don't think my favorite hymn is in and of itself a monolith of spirituality, but what it directs my thoughts and feelings towards, that is what makes it so powerful. 

Don't get me wrong, I realize that not all music is rainbows and butterflies. I think music is one of the most powerful influences in existence, for both good and bad, but that's all it is. An influence. Individuals are still responsible for their actions. And to go one step further, we are responsible for what we let influence us. If I don't like the direction a song is directing me , I am fully capable of using the on/off switch or clicking fast forward to the next song. Don't praise the music for the good, don't blame it for the bad. It's still people making choices when it comes down to it.

That felt a little soapbox-y. Sorry.

The reason I started writing this post in the first place is that one of my favorite songs of all time came on shuffle. (Don't you love when that happens? It's like iTunes is giving you a hi-five.) And now that i'm to this point in the post, I realize that i'm going to need more than one post if I want to truly chronicle everything I feel about music. So i'll cut to the chase here of why I started this one.

The title-song for this post, as mentioned above, is Cross My Heart by a band named The Rocket Summer. I could do an entire post on TRS itself, and come to think of it, I never did write about that concert back in September. I'll save that one for another day though. Anyways, this song is just...amazing to me. The Rocket Summer is one of those bands that is definitely not for everyone. His voice is quite unique and i'll even admit that the first time I heard one of his songs, I was not a fan. I thought his voice was annoying and not that good. And even now i'll admit that he probably is not the most technically sound singer, but I choose to look past that. So many of his songs are just chock full of incredible lyrics. And the story behind his band is just so great if you ask me.

Okay i'm sorry, i'm getting carried away. Back to the point.

Cross My Heart is one of those songs that I could listen to 30 times in a row and never get tired of it. I know this for a fact because after I went to his concert, I did just that. Probably more than 30 actually. Something about the rhythm and how ridiculously upbeat it is and how honest the words are and how intimate the sound is and the way it builds from the simple strums at the beginning to the full blown "If I listen to this song anywhere but my locked bedroom or my car, people will think i'm insane because of how I dance and scream along to the lyrics." and then back to the softer but still upbeat bridge-thing (I don't know what it actually is called). I don't know.  It's just one of those songs that I think could help me smile no matter what kind of day i'm having. 

And my point in writing this post is to ask: do you guys have a song like that for you? If so, I want to know what it is. Comment or write your own post and tell me what song is your Happy Song. When did you first hear it? What memories are tied to it that make it so great for you? What's your favorite line? Tell me YOUR story :)

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." -Aldous Huxley

1 comment:

  1. My absolute favorite song ever is Stand Too Close by Motion City Soundtrack. It makes me feel better about failure. When I'm listening to that song I feel invincible. Not because I feel like nothing can go wrong, but because I feel totally fine about whatever mishaps may happen. Most of the good things that have happened to me in the last two years have been because of that song, and most of the bad things that have happened to me have been made easily bearable by that song. I love Motion City's ability to take something nonsensical (The line "I have apologized a million times when I've gone off the wall like Busta Rhymes" is a good example) and make it come across as something that's still meaningful and emotional.