Day#23 – The Music Thing

Got some Ben Folds in my head this morning.

He’s so talented! I love his music because he writes clever lyrics and does amazing jazz-y piano-y things. Also I saw him perform last weekend with Ken, Tracy, and Terry. We were at Edgefield, which, if you don’t know, is an outdoor venue. Also it pretty much rained the entire show, from when we were filing in to when we were wandering back to the car. But the weather did not dampen our spirits and did not detract from enjoying the show.

CAKE (they capitalize their band name, so I do, too) played as well, and they are always a delight. The show seemed a little short; Mr. Folds and CAKE each only had about an hour-long set. Maybe that’s normal with two headliners? Who knows, man.

Music gets down in our brains and complements and encourages complex emotions and reactions. I watched a great video about music this morning before work, from Evan Puschak, a.k.a., NerdWriter, called “Why Sergio Leone Played Music On Set”, that made this exact point. Puschak talked about how sometimes people listen to music to soundtrack their life, to make it more cinematic and to heighten the experiences they are living through.

That could not be more true for me, and it’s an experience that technology has really delivered for me, from the little AM/FM radios I listened to as a kid, to the giant component stereo system my dad bought and then I took over, to the Walkmans and Discmans and Rio 500s and iPods, and iPhones.

I can think of countless times in my life where music, specific songs, bled into what I was going through.

I remember a walk at night, in the rain, through the warehouses and factories of Central Eastside, long before gentrification, when I was brokenhearted and angry and feeling betrayed by (of course) a woman who did not feel for me the way I (thought) I felt for her. The song playing on my Walkman, over and over again, which somehow captured the moment, was Richie Sambora’s “Stranger In This Town”, a lost rock-blues classic from the guitarist better known in his role in Bon Jovi.

Of course, of course, immortalized in the very title of the post about it, when I think about my Thanksgiving Day crash on the lonely highways of the Oregon Coastal Range, and feel the stomach-clenching lack of control as the car spun around and around, bouncing off the guard rails twice, I hear Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Long As I Can See The Light”. Still happy to be here.

I can remember a windy, partly-sunny day in downtown Portland. I felt good, and happy, and content (happiness is not the same as contentment), and as I recall being bundled against the autumn chill, and missing the summer warmth, and the feeling of knowing everything is going to be alright, I can hear Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place” begin, with it’s background buzzing, the electronic notes bouncing higher and higher, and Thom Yorke’s thin, nasaly voice both reassuring and, somehow, anxious-making at the same time.

…I could go on. I imagine, so could you.