I’ve been writing this one and off for a while. It isn’t about testing.
I should put a mild trigger warning of weddings, funerals, Spotify playlists and Bob Dylan.
Music is very important to me. It has always been there to calm, rejoice, distract, empathise, amplify and reduce me. As well as reading, it is a method of escape and a place of solace. I’ve been thinking about how music is tethered to life events.
Early life is scattered with lullabies to help us sleep, songs to learn by and jingles for timetables. My earliest memories of music is bad jazz, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy theme (I found out much later is by The Eagles) and Tracy Chapman on repeat blaring through my headphones while I consumed endless Goosebumps books.
For our wedding, we had to pick just 6 songs to play during. Specific ones for the walk down the aisle, for during the signing part and for the end. There is usually a first dance song which is the running joke traditionally, but we eloped so were gratefully spared that awkward spotlight.
It was a beautiful day and those songs always bring me back to that perfect joy. Any of them I can put on and it’s like shaking a snow globe and watching the glitter swirl.
I’ve been to two funerals in my life. One of which I had to pick the music for. I was already battling with the realisation that I didn’t know my grandmother at all and now I had to decide final music for her too? The music I picked, if I hear any of it these days, I’m right back there. Those songs are twinged with regret, self-recrimination and remorse.
The 2nd funeral was for my biological father, whom I didn’t know. Two of the song choices were mildly laughable and generic, but the last song made me feel an unexpected kinship. After almost 30 years, I felt the smallest of bonds. That caught me off guard, even though I knew about it in advance. It brought about this blog post.
“When you know as well as me, you’d rather see me paralysed. Why don’t you just come out once and scream it”Positively 4th Street – Bob Dylan
Connections and connecting at the end is I guess what music is all about. We pick our songs for weddings, we have songs that are just our songs for our first dances. We have our favourites, ones that make us feel 15 again, ones that take us back to places and times we thought we had forgotten all about.
How do we decide our final three? How do we define ourselves in three last songs? Ones that will stay with our loved ones forever? How do we commit to these last ballads before Valhalla?
I have so many playlists and Spotify creates me a list each year of my most listen to and it is always fairly different. I am constantly finding new bands and new songs to listen to and love.
I wouldn’t want to subject people to my varied, eclectic, sometimes appalling taste. For example, Visions of Johanna or Bob Dylan in general. I do exist within the lyrics:
“Louise, she’s all right, she’s just near
She’s delicate and seems like the mirror
But she just makes it all too concise and too clear
That Johanna’s not here”Visions of Johanna – Bob Dylan
I guess my final me is hard to define at this stage. The choices seem like such a time capsule. Picking songs now means in 50 years they just won’t fit but they sound good for next week. So the option is to pick things timeless or vague or the ones that have always been around. The eternal earworms of your life and existence.
Reforming and freezing ourselves within sounds and words to bind memories. A melodic placeholder to ease the absence.
“We are home nowOut Of This World – Bush
Out of our heads
Out of our minds
Out of this world
Out of this time”