“The problem with reality is the lack of background music.” Anon
Okay, maybe the title overstates it a wee bit, but let me ask a question. When you hear a song, doesn’t it take you down memory lane? Can you picture exactly where you were or what you were doing when you first heard it? I thought so. That’s why, whether you rewind or fast forward, whether a song is happy or sad, music is the soundtrack of life.
I can still hear my high school friend, Patty, and I singing “He’s so fine, wish he was mine . . . doo lang, doo lang, doo lang” but can’t remember for the life of me, which awkward heartthrob we pined for when we sang it. My single days saw me rocking with gal pals and gusto to my fave, Don Henley’s song “All She wants to do is Dance”. Through the years there were many “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant”. I ‘Played That Funky Music” and wasn’t “Desperado” to jump into marriage again, yet somehow someone snuck in the side door, who loved music as much as I do. I was the lyrics fanatic; he was jazzed by the tune, but we both had music in our blood. From opening night on, we blissfully sang our hearts out. Our bittersweet musical would need all the harmony we could muster and boy, we gave it all we had.
“Once there was a time,
Like no other time before,
Hope was still an open door”
Jekyll & Hyde
While finding music in everything may not change anything but it can certainly help, no matter how the rhythm changes. It can calm anxiety, help lull you to sleep, express emotions and fuel creativity. Like music, life is a series of high and low notes and it needs both to be a complete composition. Songs reflect the pieces of your life and give them context. Songs that have touched me most, the music that made me dance, cry and sing, they are the playlist of my life.
“Didn’t we come together, didn’t we live together
Didn’t we cry together
Didn’t we play together, didn’t we love together
And together we lit up the world”
Lest you think only lyrics that were deep and meaningful ignited us, we both were also hardwired with nutty. Our offbeat humor and sense of fun was not only something that drew us together but kept us sane through thick and thin. (well, kinda sane) I can’t count how many times I snuck up on my guy, especially in low moments, trilling Billy Joel (my all time fav) to make him laugh.
“You may be right, I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.”
After my music man died, I found an audio clip that captured him singing “Lovin’ nobody but you” in a silly falsetto. Barely 2 seconds long, it still makes me grin every time I hear it, which, as my computer mail alert, is pretty often. (I said I was odd, right?) Anyway, no matter how big or small, happy or sad the soundbyte, the remembrance of moments music stitched together in our lives will always be priceless.
Broadway was a special and almost non-negotiable must-do for both of us. The guy who sat next to me through so many forays to the theater, wasn’t just pacifying a wife’s yen; he became alive in it. I’d often look over at him to see again and again, the sheer beauty of the music on his face. I suspect that many times he pictured himself, community theater performer that he was, in many of the roles. That would also explain why those songs found their way into his shower arias.
Music is the language of the universe — and of love. It’s ancient, can be sacred and is what feelings sound like. It brings people together, soothes the mind, creates mood and makes you feel emotion. Why else would our hearts have beats? Our iTunes, Spotify, Sirius playlist tells a story of who we are and what makes us tick. It can be our escape or salvation, carry us back in time or incite us to dance in the moment. We each have our own diversely flavored muzak track that surprises, inspires and accompanies the ups and downs of our lives.
They say that when words fail, music speaks. It’s also been said that music can make you forget everything, but I prefer to remember everything, even when the noise of the missing can drown out the notes. Especially then. We lived in that music — and always will. Even when the notes, the lyrics bring tears, more often it’s the sweetness of the memories that sing to us.
Play it again, Sam.