I enjoy music. It’s incredibly versatile: it keeps me company when I’m cooking dinner, it gives me an extra bit of inspiration when I’m working, it keeps me calmer when I’m sitting in another traffic jam on the 401, and it makes house cleaning almost bearable.
Music holds great nostalgia as we associate certain songs or bands with specific times of our lives. Led Zeppelin’s overplayed “Stairway to Heaven” was the “last dance” song of choice at my high school dances (that Jimmy Page solo guitar interlude was always a bit awkward).
More recently, music now holds strong associations with certain events or locations. Every time I hear “One” by U2, I think of my wedding day as it was our first dance. Evanescence’s “My Immortal” just happened to be playing on the radio on the way to my father’s funeral; I can’t listen to this now without sobbing.
When we first stayed in Prince Edward County, the owner of the house we stayed in had a nice collection of great classic CDs, and for some reason, we would play Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising” over and over again and we’ve done it every year we go back there. Every time I listen to “Empty Sky” or “Lonesome Day”, it puts me back in that wonderful house, listening to the waves in the lake, with the morning sun glistening through the large windows, lighting up the whole kitchen, as my husband whipped up one of his famous breakfasts.
I never would have had reason to listen to Jack Johnson. Never even heard of the guy, until my husband was compelled to borrow a CD from the library because the CD jacket had Curious George on it, and he thought our daugther would enjoy it. We took it with us when we drove up north to Muskoka one summer, and wouldn’t you know it: our little girl quite liked it. We played it while driving into town to indulge in some ice cream at Kawartha Dairy. The drive at sunset was through a long winding road and somehow, songs like “Broken” and “Upside Down” seemed so perfect for that moment in time.
Earlier this summer, our daughter watched a movie at her caregiver’s home called “Gnomeo and Juliet” and in her 4-year-old way, raved about the movie (that is to say, she talked incessantly about the story and recited all her favourite lines). My husband happened to find the movie soundtrack CD at the library (yes, we go there a lot), and incredulously and to my delight, the soundtrack consisted almost entirely of Elton John original songs! “I could live with this!”, I thought, remembering how many times we had to listen to “Kidz Bop 19” ad nauseum. Our daughter loved the music! When we drove to and from Vermont last month, this became our go-to CD to keep her distracted on the drive. It seemed perfectly fitting to be listening to “Your Song” and “Tiny Dancer” while driving through the beautiful mountains and winding roads of Vermont or the Adirondacks. And by the way, didn’t Elton John have just the most beautiful voice in the 70s? Damn vocal chord surgery!
I’ve gone on long enough. I hope the sound of music brings you inspiration and connects you to emotions as much as it does for me.