Music has always been a huge part of my life. From a young age I noticed music on the radio quickly and would constantly hum it. When I was 11 I started walking around with a walkman everywhere I went. When I was 14, I got my first portable CD player. When I turned 16, I got my first MP3 player and, it was at that point that the floodgates of my musical love busted wide open. I remember that MP3 player vividly, it was a Dell Digital Jukebox 15. It was a 15 GB MP3 player which by today’s standards is pretty small but, in 2004 it was a huge deal. Being able to carry a growing library of CDs around with me totally blew my mind. Unfortunately it broke a year later and it was the most depressing thing ever. I just remember being in a shitty mood for a very long time because I had no means of carrying my collection with me. The CD player was simply a small band aid on an open gash. I wouldn’t get another MP3 player again until the following year but, it paled in comparison to my beloved Dell Jukebox. I wouldn’t get another high capacity MP3 player until 2008 when I used the money I saved during a summer job to get an 80 GB iPod Classic. My music collection increased exponentially between then and the end of my senior year of college. Eventually my music collection would out grow that iPod and, I would have to buy an 160 GB iPod Classic. I’ve sadly out grown that iPod too and often have to rotate out music based on what I’m listening to. You’re probably wondering how one fills an 160 GB iPod Classic; Well, I listen to pretty much everything except for country and, I have full cataloges for all the artists I have on there. I also have a ton of video game soundtracks and, music from a lot of international artists. Those who see me on a regular basis will know I never leave my house without my headphones. I wear my headphones everywhere I go, even in places it’s not socially acceptable to like in church. Now you’re probably wondering what music has to do with tonight’s blog. Over the years, there have been a few songs that have spoken to me in a way that not many have. They’re also songs tied to very critical points in my life or, have helped me to convey pretty complex emotions. In no particular order, here are the songs/albums.
1. Planet Telex/Radiohead: I discovered Radiohead in college during the latter half of my Freshman year. Around this time frame, a girl who I had been actively pursuing just didn’t quite pan out the way things were supposed to. I fell for this woman pretty harder than Homer Simpson when he tried to jump the Springfield Gorge. I got pretty depressed because it was a painful reminder at the time of how rough dating was for me. As I was listening through Radiohead’s catalog, I eventually got to their album The Bends and man was I floored. The album opens with the song Planet Telex which is a pretty accurate description of what it’s like to feel down some. Listening to the song provided me with much comfort. It wasn’t necessarily an excuse to stay sad but, in an environment where everything was laughter and cheerfulness this song met me where I was at. I was like an auditory hug that said “we’re in this together”. Sometimes when you’re sad you don’t necessarily need a pic me up, you just need someone to say “let’s be sad together”.
2. Fields of Joy (Reprise)*/Lenny Kravitz: During my sophomore year of college, a friend of mine lost her battle with cancer and it rattled me to the core for a very long time. I felt uneasy for a very long time and, I think one of the things that hurt the most was that I never got to say goodbye. A year later around the one year anniversary of her death, I had a dream/message from the beyond where I was in a green grassy field with a nice breeze. We were walking together and next to her was a very tall male who was playful yet protective, sort of like a guardian. It wasn’t until I woke up that I realized exactly what I just woke up from. This has stayed with me for years and is probably one of the most vivid dreams I’ve had. Several years later, I was listening to an online radio station I used to intern for when this song came on the radio. That dream/message was the first thing that came to mind when I heard this track. I now always reminded of that dream every time I hear that song. It’s comforting because it’s the only reminder I have that she’s in good hands.
*:Make sure you listen to the (Reprise) version, that’s the version that invokes the very trippy feeling that sparked memories of that dream. I’m pretty sure this song is actually about an acid trip.
3. Rubber Soul/The Beatles: Two years ago I decided to listen to the entire Beatles catalog. One of the albums that stuck out was Rubber Soul. Rubber Soul drew me in because I felt as if it was an accurate description of my love life and, all the struggles I’ve had in relationships in general. Every track is a smash hit but, the songs that have left their mark are “When You Won’t See Me”, “Nowhere Man”, “What Goes On” and, “In My Life”.
Fun Fact: “In My Life” was used in a mixtape I gave to an ex on our three month anniversary. I found it to be a pretty fitting song to describe all the people I’ve met and how none of them ever compared.
4. In The Fade/Queens Of The Stone Age: The winter of 2011 was a pretty depressing one. I had been struggling to get a job and was three months unemployed. I felt so defeated and broken and felt that I just lost all control of my life. I was also three months removed from college and missed my friends dearly. My man cave was pretty cluttered at the time because it was also my mother’s junk storage for things that should’ve been thrown away ages ago but, just sat there. One night I decided I wanted the entire room to myself and from there I started just trashing anything in that room that wasn’t mine. Slowly through the night, I started clearing it of junk that had been in there since we moved. It was pretty liberating and, it was the first time in a while that I felt like I was truly in control. This song just happened to be playing in the background as I started the job. I digged the song so much that I put it on repeat as I cleaned.
5. I Remember When I Loved Her/The Zombies: I discovered these guys quite some time ago but, this song carried some serious weight when I got dumped last summer. I was listening through that album when I got to that track. That song accurately conveyed how I was feeling. I kind of hated her but, I also still loved her. It was a confusing whirlwind of emotions that just didn’t belong in the same place. I was so angry and hurt yet, all I could think about were the good times, cuddling in her arms, eating together, our long walks and, our car rides. It was a tough summer that just involved me being trapped in a prison with emotions I didn’t want to face. This song has since always been a reminder of good times, a time when it all still felt very real.
6. Cubicles/My Checmical Romance: There are multiple interpretations of this song’s meaning depending on where you look. The vibe I got from the album is a guy who falls in love with a woman, gets excited and creates this idea in his head of how things could be when they’re together. She never truly notices him and eventually, he realizes she’s just not that in to him and that it won’t work. He then has to get rid of all the fantasies he had in his head of their life together until it’s an empty cubicle where she used to sit, that cubicle being a metaphor for his heart. This song accurately conveys a bitter cycle I go through every time I have a crush on a woman. I get excited and, due to the way my mind works; My head goes into over drive and I start populating my head with ideas of how a relationship between us would be. I would get so wrapped up in this fantasy that I don’t even stop for a moment to wonder if it will even work. 9 times out of 10 it would usually fail, leaving a vacancy in my head and my heart.
7. I Want You Back/N’sync: I grew up listening to these guys like crazy. This song carried the most weight during the fateful summer of 2012. I was in my first relationship and, all was well until one night. I drank way too much and ended up giving one girl a peck on the lips and, made out with another in the back seat of a shuttle van on our way back from a bar. Nothing sexual came out of it but, it didn’t look good. Now making out drunk is a gray area depending to the person you’re dating. For the record yes, I did technically cheat on her (it really depends on how you look at it). It was the first time I cheated on anyone, something I told myself I would never do. I felt pretty shitty so I told her the truth and needless to say, it didn’t end well. You know you’ve got it bad when her friend is texting you instead of her and man was she livid. The moment I opened that text and read “Cheaters are fucking scum”, I knew I was fucked. My now first ex texted me later saying that we needed a break and that she was still pretty upset. It was the longest week of my life. I sent lyrics from this song via text in an effort to try to patch things up. The relationship was never quite the same afterwards. I don’t think she ever truly forgave afterwards because two years later when I told her there was someone else and that I met her at camp (there was a brief period where we were working towards getting back together), the first question she ask was if she was the person I cheated on her with at camp. I honestly don’t think her brothers truly forgave me either and I don’t blame them. A lot of people around her just didn’t quite like me afterwards. I personally think that bridge is torched, it’s as crispy as Terry Crews when you leave him out in the sun for too long.
8. Going Through Changes/Eminem: This song from his 2010 album Recovery chronicles the deep depression he endured as a result of the death of his fellow rapper/best friend Proof. The song follows his relapse into prescription drugs and his overdose. This song came out during the fateful summer of 2010, the summer where I heavily contemplated suicide. This song was soothing because it perfectly mirrored the pain and self loathing I endured at the time. The song was about getting out of a dark place which is where I felt pretty stuck at around that time frame.
9. Voices/Matchbook Romance: This was the ultimate “I’m super depressed” album. This song had some pretty moody and dark tracks. Every time I was in a shitty mood, listening to this gloomy album about heartbreak and, betrayal soothed my cold dead heart in a way no other person could.
These tracks only scratch the surface and if I were to get deeper than this, I’d have enough material to write a damn book. There are tons more tracks and will probably being doing a volume two of this because I have many more tracks and albums to write about. Until next time world.