Soundtracks

18 Jul

Ok, I’ll admit it: sometimes I just really like to wallow. To reach deep down for whatever sad sad mood or wretched emotion I can find, clutch onto it, and milk it for all it’s worth. In times like these, I like to draw upon the help of musical accompaniment to really get me good and depressed, you know, so I can really feeeeeel it, like in my core (this is a little bit emotionally masochistic, but don’t discount the cathartic value inherent in such practices). I find that the Counting Crows is (are?) particularly effective in inducing such a state of desolate despair. But last week early on, I kind of noticed Adam Duritz and crew having the opposite effect. Like, I would listen to “Time and Time Again” (mildly disturbing), or say, “Colorblind” (rip-your-guts-out-heartwrenching) on the subway on the way to work, and then, as I was ascending the escalator to my office, I would take my headphones off and think, “Hey, my life if pretty good. At least I’m not as depressed as that guy. Things are really looking up!” And thus, I started my day, relying on the “I might feel bad but he feels worse so I feel better that I’m not that bad” game to do the trick.

I was really excited about my new discovery but then everything turned, and it seemed as if my daily repetition of the Counting Crows was having some sort of subconscious, cumulative effect, and I was feeling myself, at first comfortably, initially quietly, settle into this gnawing despair that grew exponentially as the week progressed.

By Sunday night it was clear that I had to do something to aggressively reverse this situation, and the sad state of affairs of my musical selections. I mean, I was listening to Annie Lennox (whom I love, but hello, not the most uplifting choice) to take a break from the Counting Crows, as a mood-elevator.

Sometimes, when I’m walking down the street, or riding in a train, I pretend I’m in a movie and what I am listening to is the Soundtrack of My Life. I do this a lot with the Rent soundtrack, and then burst, up the stairs from the subway and out in the bright bright day, understanding, and further knowing, to the depths of my being that there is truly, No Day But To-Dayyyyyyyyy! (except that, if this were really true, and I was living every single day to the fullest, occupying the very-center of each and every present-moment, I would have to seriously call into question several of my choices) with a (little would be an understatement) spring to my step. (And oh, in case you were wondering, my cinematography is breathtakingly outstanding, featuring sweeping cityscapes and intimate, dramatically poignant-yet-subtle close-ups.) But somehow, I knew that after all that “I wanted so badly/Somebody other than me/
Staring back at me/But you were gone, gone, gone” (note how the three-times repetition of the word ‘gone’ creates a mood of complete and utter hopelessness), I needed something stronger than Rent, I needed something more, more…Janet. Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty.

Listening to Janet Jackson makes me feel like a powerful, incredibly fabulous I-Can-Do-Anything sex-goddess of a woman. So I put myself on a strict audio diet of all Janet, all the time. Except when I take breaks from her, and then I am listening to Natasha Bedingfield, who is super-poppy yet oddly deep and surprisingly philosophical. I am starting to turn this thing around, and I feel better, way better, but just in case, as an added precaution, I am staying away from the Counting Crows, at least until this heat wave passes.

To (somewhat) quote Natasha: “Drench yourself in words unspoken/Live your life with arms wide open/Today is where my blog begins/The rest is still unwritten…”

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