Music Saves

By , June 28, 2005

I’ve been through many times when I thought I might lose it
The only thing to save me has always been music

– Mike D

At one point in time it would have been difficult to imagine a Beastie Boy lyric being used as the epigram for any bit of serious prose, but there you have it. Today I turn to Michael Diamond for inspiration. The above couplet resonated with me when I first heard it, and it has never rang true so clearly as of late. A while back, a groom’s request of Fifty Cent prompted me to write in semi-jest about the power of music, but in all seriousness– music has always been integral to my life (which I’m sure it is to many people’s lives), and a never-ending source of solace when circumstance deals an unexpected or difficult blow.

I think it was also Mike D. who rapped:

Life ain’t nothing but a good groove
A good mix tape can put you in the right mood

Of course, mix tapes gave way to the mix CD, which has in turn been replaced by the iTunes playlist. I’ve concocted a fair number of playlists since the advent of the mp3, and lately I’ve put together a new one. At the risk of appearing old-fashioned, I will confess that mp3 playlists always feel more than a little bit sterile to me. I’m not a hardcore vinyl purist, but I still prefer whenever possible to listen to an actual record. I often consider selling my vinyl collection– after all, most of it is languishing in storage– but I reconsider whenever I play one. A song feels so much more alive on vinyl, whether it be from the physical act of dropping the needle into the groove, or the faint crackle of dust in the background… Tangent aside, I’m here to talk playlists. The title of this one says it all– Melancholy. And before anyone chimes in with a comment advising me to avoid playing sad songs when I’m sad, let me offer this bit of, well, for a lack of a better word, wisdom.

There seems to be two general ways that one can deal with great sorrow– either hide from it, i.e. bottle it up, push it deep down inside of yourself, and try to forget about it, or embrace it and let it take you places within your psyche that you would otherwise never dare go. I am a big proponent of the latter method. It has always been the saddest times in my life that have taught me who I really am, and allowed me opportunities to improve myself. Often it seems that only by listening to my darkest emotions and visiting the farthest reaches of my soul can I get to the bottom of what ails me. Sure, my method is not a happy one. You’ll visit dark places, and you’ll suffer, but when you emerge from mourning, you are a better person for the experience. Conversely, I think the people who ignore or bury the sad feelings find those feelings cropping up to haunt them later in life, usually in altered, unrecognizable forms which take years of therapy to identify and conquer.

What does this all mean? It means that lately I’ve been listening to a lot of sad songs. This trend has not been the result of a conscious effort; I haven’t trawled my iTunes folders on a quest for unhappiness. It was more of an organic process, but the resultant playlist, which I’ll share below, definitely has a consistent vibe to it, hence the aforementioned name I assigned to it. For me, music and poetry have long been my main access points to my inner self. I frequently find myself aware of an attitude or emotion I didn’t realize I had, or at least had been unable to crystallize into coherent thought, after hearing a similar sentiment expressed in a song.

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15 Responses to “Music Saves”

  1. well alright…you say you read poems sir…do you have a list of your favorites??

    [Reply]

    Peasprout Reply:

    @crappitydoodah, I have a list of favorite songs and movies here, but not poems… yet! Off the top of my head– Blake, Poe, Frost, Plath, Kipling, Pound, Sandburg, and Dickinson.

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  2. I love making mix CDs.

    I love listening to other people’s mix CDs even more.

    Thus I love tinymixtapes.com.

    Touching your tongue to your nose will suffice in lieu of rolling it.

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  3. mc2vh says:

    Great selection of songs. I don’t know alot of them but they set a mood. Feel better soon.

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  4. Brent says:

    It is obvious that you are a DJ. Not only did you choose amazing tracks you ordered them well. The mix spans genres but does so gracefully. This is one of the better sad song mixes I have heard. Most are so cheezey but yours is not at all. Now go cheer up!!!

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  5. rittachu says:

    wuts up? after listening your songs, I start wondering “what is mine sad songs”.

    [Reply]

  6. the smiths- gorgeous.

    [Reply]

    Peasprout Reply:

    @Fret for Your Figure, If I sell my vinyl I will set my Smiths records aside for you.

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    Fret for Your Figure Reply:

    @Peasprout, !!don’t sell your record collection!! you’re going to make the vinyl gods cry.

    [Reply]

  7. I also love The Smiths. I’ve had “I Want the One I Can’t Have… and it’s driving me mad” stuck in my head all day today.

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  8. anglestar23 says:

    okay over half these r new to me but i am loving it all. favorites so far r the black cab song, the do you realize song, and the i didn’t realize song. i need to find those… good post! :)

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  9. Le sigh. What about The Girl From Ipanema? I can be in the foulest mood ever and then listen to that song and before I know it I am sashaying about the room smiling. When I am pining all I ever want to listen to is bossa nova.

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  10. AfroLeft says:

    Now THIS is a serious mix.

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  11. Ditto! :D

    I made a mix tape in 2001, never having heard that it is such an 80’s phenomenon. Yeah, I live under a rock. LOL :P

    [Reply]

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