Thursday, November 29, 2012

Musical Revertigo

Every once in awhile, a song will play or I will reread a book or even think about a time in my life and that action will connect in my brain to something else. And I will begin thinking about that something else. If you’ve seen most of How I Met Your Mother, you’ve probably seen the episode in which they discuss revertigo-named by Marshall as such it is the experience of someone acting like their old self around someone from the past. Lily sees her high school friend Michelle and becomes more ghetto. Ted sees his high school friend Adam “Punchy” Punchiarello and he becomes more pushy and violent. Robin sees her old high school flame and she is transformed into a googly-eyed teen. I have somehow in my brain transformed this phenom to attach itself to music.

Senior year of high school can be a very magical time, as well as a stressor for a need of caffeine. That was the year I started drinking coffee regularly. And unfortunately for my wallet, there was a coffee place on the way to school that had a drive thru. Of course, I was just starting with coffee so I couldn’t actually drink real coffee. I had to get the froofy drinks. My poor wallet! This was the same time I had gotten the How to Save a Life album from the Fray. The distance to school was short so I only really listened to the first few songs. But to this day, that album reminds me of driving to school in the dark and sipping overly priced “coffee.”

Freshman year of college, I had not gotten an ipod yet and was using a dinky mp3 with minimal space on it, which limited my musical selections. The few albums I had installed became what I listened to over and over again, until I got sick of it and switched out albums. Two albums stick out that which when I hear them, immediately throw me back to Freshman year. I can remember walking to class, having lunch in Fresh Foods, and spending ample time curled up in bed reading. Paolo Nutini’s These Streets immediately makes me think of fall. His soft sounds and slightly raspy voice call to mind changing leaves and comfy blankets. The other album is the Transformers soundtrack. The eclectic group of artists on that album offered a more aggressive tune than the smooth sounds of Paolo. It was my “I’m frustrated with my professors” music.

Also Freshman year was two significant discoveries, strangely enough offered to me by the same person. Almost at the same time was I introduced to the artist Breaking Benjamin and the book series Twilight, by none other than Rachel DeWitt. To this day, their album Phobia has distinct lines that make me think of scenes from Twilight. And whenever I reread the series, I get serious hankerings to listen to Breaking Benjamin.

Sophomore year of college I started watching the show Supernatural, and the show has a music base of classic rock. I was already a fan of AC/DC, but the show’s love of the band increased my love for them as well. I ended up going through episodes and picking out classic rock songs that I either owned or wanted to own and created a Supernatural playlist. Now, whenever I hear those songs, I immediately think of the specific episode they are played in and how much I would love to run around the country hunting ghosties.

Lastly, one album and one specific song remind me of one of my favorite trips I’ve ever taken. On the airplane on the way to Ireland, I fell asleep listening to Civil Twilight’s debut album. I had already listened to it repeatedly, and finally just let myself wear out. Sadly enough, I still didn’t get much sleep on the plane. Not enough room + children behind me + children across from me + not much sleep = cranky Alex. Later on in my adventures around the emerald isle, the group of us took a bus ride to Cork (heehee, in Ireland when they say it, it sounds like cock). From Cork we went to Blarney, where I kissed the stone. But on that bus ride, I practically listened to Tom Petty’s Last Dance with MaryJane on repeat. So to this day, hearing that song puts me back on that miserable bus ride (is there any long bus ride that isn’t miserable?) and I’m back in Ireland for a spell. That song still has the power to make me hit repeat and play it over and over again, like no other song does.

These instances, though there are more (Miles Davis reminds me of my dad; Huey Lewis and the News reminds me of cleaning), are ones that happen every time one or the other comes up. These memories or sentiment are almost interchangeable in my brain now; they are so attached to each other. And myself being so attached to these attachments has made the memories somehow stronger in my mind. Music has weird powers, I don’t dare question. Only enjoy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Allure of Christmas Music

I’ll admit, I’m one of those people who loves Christmas music to a fault. I’ve been listening to it since the beginning of November. As evidence of Facebook and Twitter, my cousin Colette (also a huge fan of Christmas) and I have already purchased a tree and decorated it in our room. It is adorable. And now has presents underneath it :)

If you’re a Christmas music purist, as most people are, you can’t stand that stations start playing it in November, and you believe decorations should wait until after Thanksgiving. And in some ways, I understand that. Holidays go in a specific order, so decorations should as well, right? But here’s where I disagree a bit.

Society as a whole has dubbed this the “holiday season.” Meaning all holidays. And the reason I cherish Christmas above all else is the meaning it carries with me. Christmas to me is the epitome of love and family. I enjoy spending the time I have on this planet with the people I love. And I love spoiling them. Seriously. There are fewer joys to me than to see someone I care about open a present into which I put thought and care. People know when someone has put effort into their presents. So for me to be blasting “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” while I’m driving is my way of celebrating that I can’t wait until I get to see the people I love and spend time with them.

So maybe, other people feel the same way I do. That Christmas music to them is an excitement for the time coming. Maybe people think Thanksgiving is just about eating a lot and buying things on sale, with a little bit of thanks on the side. And some football. Or maybe this anticipatory playing of Christmas music is a way for commercialism to push people into buying more presents for people. But personally, give me The Beach Boys Christmas album and a glass of peppermint hot cocoa any day. Because there is nothing more awesome than celebrating my favorite holiday with the people I love.