The only thing I really buy for myself that is not a basic need, is music. My CD collection now contains well over 700 albums, not including the several hundreds of songs I’ve “traded” with friends via laptop swap or the “borrowing and burning” of each other’s CD collections. The one material thing that I actually spend money on (though I often buy at a much discounted price at Unclaimed Baggage) is music.
My stereo speakers are never silent as long as I’m the only one in the car. There are times when I actually get tired of my own massive music library, but even then, I turn the radio to a classic rock station (“I want to know what love is, I need you to show me…”) or an alternative station where I get introduced to current bands like The Avett Brothers (“In January, we’re getting married…”).
Music is therapy. It’s invisible. But music has a way of ministering to the soul and to the emotions. It enhances the mood and the moment. Music makes sad times sadder and good times greater. And when I don’t know how I feel, I listen to the abstract vagueness of ‘90’s alternative bands like Stone Temple Pilots, Live, and Foo Fighters.
Music is euphoric. It’s not tangible. But music has a way of lifting a person’s spirits or helping them to connect and relate to the pain they are feeling at the moment.
Music is a drug. Teenagers use it to “express themselves” (or the idea of who they think they want to be) and to get in touch with their out of control emotions. Adults use it to relax, to escape, to take a trip to an easier time in their lives. And yes, music is an addictive drug.
I can not hear Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and not be affected. Or Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”. Or my newest obsession, the Scottish one-hit wonder from 1983, “In a Big Country” by Big Country, with its piercing lead guitar riffs reminiscent of a bagpipe: “In a big country dreams stay with you like a lover’s voice…”
Music is engrained into our pop culture. It freezes a year, a moment, a memory forever. Listening to a song can be like time travel. It stays with us.
And it’s amazing to me how music can make nonsense words and phrases acceptable by the mainstream. Because seriously, everybody should wang chang tonight.
I can’t imagine a world where the words “I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller” meant nothing to me.