Friday 13 May 2016
Sometimes I forget how much I love music. By ‘love’, I mean the scream it from the rooftops kinda love. I have done since forever. Like so many other people, everyday and musicians, music has always been a sort of saviour for me. It says everything I want to say only better, more eloquently, more powerfully, perfectly. I’ve got a song for every occasion, for every emotion, for every single thing I’ve ever felt. Some of those pieces are uplifting, empowering, others are for the days when I need to wallow in heartbreak or self-pity, and there are some that are just pieces that I really need to play when I’m being silly and pretending that my life took a different course and I ended up a multi-million album selling muso. Yeah, I still have that dream.
When I was a kid I was assessed for a gifted and talented programme that would have seen me leave town and go to school in the big city in order to receive the best tuition in Music, Drama, and Academia. My mama was obviously terrified of sending me away from home, and the cost at the time was astronomical so I can’t blame my parents for keeping me close by. I was accepted into the instrumental music programme in primary school, and got lumbered with a baritone. A lil squirt like me gets given, what was to me, a massive brass instrument when all I really wanted was a trumpet. I eventually did get the trumpet, but by then I hated the music programme and wanted out, and no amount of bribing me with my originally desired instrument was going to win me over. That programme crushed my joy of learning music, and as result, I still despise learning to play the bass clef parts of music.
After years of trying to convince me that I should have been taking private music lessons to learn the keyboard or piano, at 13 I decided I wanted exactly that. I had the most amazing keyboard and piano teacher, Julie Uren, who indulged my love of rock and pop music, allowing me to learn to play music by Roxette, Europe, Bon Jovi, Debbie Gibson, film and TV scores like Twin Peaks, and anything else I wanted to have a go at –Beethoven’s 5th and Moonlight Sonata, Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and, Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor – God I love that piece, and I love playing it as fast as I can which is, incidentally, really quite fast), anything I wanted. I studied with her for five years, and learning music became a joy again – the way it always should be. Out of that, I taught myself to play rhythm guitar, and had a number of violin lessons. Now, I’m in no way suggesting that I am brilliant at either the guitar or violin, but I can get a reasonable sound out of them. And my violin playing doesn’t sound like I’m strangling a cat. Got myself am Irish tin whistle in Ireland – can’t play that very well – and a djembe just because it’s awesome to bang the cr@p outta something when you feel like sh!t. 🙂
All the while, however, I still loved listening and singing to music. My record and cassette collection (look that one up, kids, if you’re at a loss as to what cassette tapes or records are) was huge. My music video collection matched my cassette collection – I love concert videos, and video clips for singles, anything to do with watching my favourite artists. My CD collection today is still increasing, and as much as I fought against digital downloads, my collection of digital music is ever growing.
The thing is, for a while, even though the collections were increasing, I’d stopped listening to music as a recreational pursuit. The only time I’d put something on was in the car when I’d head out of town. For all of my driving life I’ve always had cassettes or CDs in the car, and blasted those suckers out so that the whole world could hear me as I drove by. But then something changed and the CDs stopped being played even in the car. I can’t put my finger on the exact moment, or say exactly why that happened; I simply know that I stopped playing music. Often at night when I had trouble shutting off my overactive brain, I’d put my earphones in, put my iPod on shuffle, and fall asleep to whatever the iPod sent my way. That stopped too.
But then something else happened. Something almost magical. A couple of newer songs came my way that I wanted to play on repeat, and my love of all things music was reawakened. I’m now wondering how I could have let something that I loved so much fall by the wayside, and it saddens me that it happened. Back to the song that made me wanna play it on repeat for hours every day . . . ‘Unconditionally’ by Katy Perry. Yeah, yeah, I know – Katy Perry’s considered to release music for tweens. I don’t give a rat’s bum because the song is exceptional, you just have to give it a good listen or two. It’s on a couple of my On-The-Go playlists. It’s a pop power ballad, and who doesn’t love a power ballad whether it’s pop or rock? OK, there are probably a few people who don’t, but they’re just weirdos. 😉
Then my people, Roxette, released a new song a couple of weeks ago, and that’s on repeat. ‘It Just Happens’ just happened for me. Everything about pop music that I loved so much was injected into one new song. I do love my Roxette. And tonight I finally got around to adding a lil more Adele to my collection. I’d been meaning to download ‘Hello’ since it’s release, but had never actually followed through. Guess what’s been on repeat for the last four hours? Yes, I’m serious – I have been listening to same same song for four hours. What? It’s a great song. I love a heartbreak song. Mind you, I also love a victim song – y’know, the ones where the singer is the victim in a love gone wrong scenario? Streisand coined the phrase, and she’s freakin’ awesome at delivering a victim song. Back to Adele: the woman has a killer voice, and how she uses that instrument to get her message across is enviable. Power, emotion . . . she’s damned expert at heartbreak songs. And to be honest, I haven’t heard a song in a long while that has made me teary, but ‘Hello’ has had me weeping because it’s a f@$king beautiful piece, lyrics and music, and most of all, her delivery of the song. Just perfect.
God I’ve missed music. I’ve missed collecting music that punctuates moments in my life. I’ve missed listening to music that makes me feel, that makes me wanna sing out loud, that breaks my heart, that helps me sleep, or wakes me up, that shuts out the world, that makes me remember, and helps me forget, that fuels my anger, that makes me smile, that reminds me I’m alive. I must remember not to let that go again.
I know tonight that as I’m drifting off to sleep, I’ll have Katy Perry, Roxette, and Adele on repeated rotation . . . ‘Hello’, ‘It Just Happens’, ‘Unconditionally’ . . .