Sunday, October 10, 2010

No Music? No Thanks.

In my first piece of posted fiction, I imagined a scenario in which music is unwittingly traded away by my protagonist. I called it horror because a life without music sounds pretty darn horrible to me. It got me thinking about what I would lose if I made that bargain.

Without music, I would not have sung Eminem's "Lose Yourself" with one of my former students at a karaoke party last week. He's all grown up now, a college graduate and contributing member of society (Yeah, I've been teaching that long), but there was definitely an "Oh, Snap!" moment when I agreed to be his hype, woman on stage. How many people get to rap in public with their ninth grade English teacher? The crowd, of course, went, Chad, Eminem...why wouldn't they?

A high moment. A good night. Music was at the center of it.

Without music, I would not be addicted to working out. I would still be carrying around extra pounds and huffing and puffing when I climbed more than one flight of stairs. Jazzercise is exercise choreographed to music, and I love it. Most of the time it feels more like fun than work, and when it does get tough, I sing to distract myself from the pain. Subsequently, I know every word to Lady Gaga and Beyonce's "Telephone".

Sometimes, I sing for the sheer joy of endorphins kicking and oxygen hitting my brain like a drug. And that's my excuse for knowing every word to Christina's "Candyman." Why wouldn't you want to know lyrics that include "He's a one stop shop. He makes my cherry pop?"I like singing along to that one because the music sounds so 1940s wholesome, and the lyrics are...not.

I've discovered new songs I love at Jazzercise....Madonna's newer stuff, Melanie Fiona's "Bang Bang," Idina Menzel's "I Stand," One Eskimo's "Kandi"...and so on and so on. Today, we did new routines to covers of two old songs. LeAnn Rimes' version of "Swingin" is fun. The remake of Jefferson Airplane's "Don't You Want Somebody to Love" is strange. The link is to the original. Some songs should just be left alone.

Without music, sports would lose something. "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Back in Black" will always make me think about football. Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" came out one summer when I was driving Eldest all over the state to baseball games, so it's a baseball song in my head.

Bruce and his colleagues have XM radio in the football offices. Not surprisingly, they listen to the headbanger channel on game day. What did surprise me (and cracked me up) was finding out they listen to the reggae channel during the week. According to Bruce, the Jamaican vibe chills everybody out. Whatever works, right?

Without music, driving wouldn't be nearly as much fun. Who among us doesn't like to roll down the windows and crank the stereo on a beautiful sunny day. I tested the speakers on my new car today with the Foo Fighters' "Let it Die." While not on par with my son's massive subs, I found them sufficient to my needs. :)

Ironically, the one thing I cannot do to music is write. I follow many writers who say they use music as a way into their stories. I find that music almost always pulls me out of my story. The story of the song is usually pervasive enough that it interferes with the plot thread in my head. I do use music during non-writing activities to get me started when I sit down later to write. A song can solidify a character in my head or help me establish the mood of a scene. So without music, my writing would suffer.

I can think of situations where I might be tempted to make a deal with Erebus. To magically attain those things that seem very far out of reach, I might give up something. The problem with those deals is that you always lose something precious. In a classic deal with the devil, you lose your soul. Losing music might seem tame by comparison, but I wonder. What kind of soul would you have without it?

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