Friday, November 12, 2010

Music Time Travel

Last night Dave and I both got home late but didn't feel like heading to bed so we put on some music. I'm not sure how it started but the music selection spiraled into an emotional trip down memory lane. We listened with nostalgic feelings to songs we hadn't heard in years and reminisced about what they meant to us. Most of what we listened to, if not all, had special meaning to us before we even knew each other. Songs that helped us through hard times, that gave us an escape at one point or another, and reminded us of exact moments in time.

Music is such a huge part of our lives. We listen to it at home, in the car, in the grocery store, the doctor's office, restaurants, in the teenager's car as he drives by proudly at two in the afternoon. We can't escape it, nor should we want to. Music has a powerful way of capturing an emotion, sometimes even immobilizing us where we just have to stop and say, "wow." Sometimes that emotion is caught so well that it stays with us for the rest of our lives. Think back to senior year of high school or freshmen year of college. Think of your first love, your first fight. What song did you put on? I can still remember driving around when I was 17 years old listening to certain songs over and over again, wondering how the world could be so big and so small at the same time. Remember that?

I remember when I received my first CD for my 11th birthday: TLC's "Crazy, Sexy, Cool." I popped it into my little CD player in my room, (actually it was huge! CD players were the size of mini fridges back then,) and listening to it for hours just dancing around my room. Never mind the lyrics were about drugs, abusive relationships, and "scrubs." (Or maybe that was the next genius album?) Regardless, I didn't care what the lyrics were about. It was more about the feeling of being connected to other people who were listening to this music, about being a part of something, and about being able to move.

Jump ahead seven years to the end of high school. Emo and punk music had taken off so Dashboard Confessional was up there with NOFX, The Postal Service, Blink 182, and anything else that you can hate the world and dance to. A year or two later, Outkast took over the radio with "Hey Ya" along with The Darkness's "I Believe In A Thing Called Love." Some of my greatest memories are from freshmen year in the cafeteria when "Hey Ya" would come on. Everyone would stop eating, hop up on the tables, and start dancing, swinging their arms around, shaking their fingers without a care in the world. In addition to the wonderful high I got from some music, that same year I was introduced to music that forced introspection and even a little pain as I thought about what I was doing with myself. Freshmen year is quite the transitional period in a young person's life and music certainly enhances the highs and lows.

Now, seven years later we are submerged into the ocean of Lady Gaga, The Black Eyed Peas, and Beyonce. Will we look back in ten years and have memories of the music today? Probably, although I find it hard that I will one day reminisce about "balls to the wall" or some other crappy rap song. But who knows? I would be naiive to predict my future emotions.

As Dave and I sat last night listening to music, not needing to exchange words, I felt like I was in a surreal, latent dream. People say we can't time travel, but I want to disagree. Put on Dashboard Confessional's "Saints and Sailors" or The Postal Service's "Such Great Heights" and think back to when you first heard those songs. You will be transported back to a different time in your life with different people, different happiness and troubles, different goals and aspirations.

Ponder this as you listen to some of your old favorites: music can take us back, but can it also bring us forward?

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