July 29, 2009

Music that Moves

I have an excess of emotion and feeling. I like to call this passion, but sometimes it comes out as anger. Especially when it involves an opinion.

This excess of emotion (let's just call it passion) is often most prevalent in three areas: music, books/stories and movies. I cry when I read certain short stories and I even cried like a baby during the final chapters of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I had a long piece of toilet tissue I used as a Kleenex and it was pulp by the time I finished the epilogue.

Movies are similar to books because they both tell stories. But added to movies are the beautiful visuals. Like the breathtaking shots in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. It's a slow movie without a lot of "on the edge of your seat with excitement," but the movie is so well-made it makes my skin crawl. But the thing that makes me breathless at the same time as excited--the thing that makes me cry and remember times of happiness or sorrow--is music. Few things evoke as much emotion in me as music.

I've been called a music snob because I steer clear of the radio as often as possible (Don't even get me started on modern country music). I just don't think the radio is a good place to find real talent (most of the time). I went to a wine tasting a couple weeks ago and my friend was telling me that at a previous wine tasting he was taught that you should taste three sips of wine because each sip tastes different. Each time you notice something new about the wine and notice different flavors. Good music is the same way. During the first listen you're just becoming familiar with the general music. Then each time after you're noticing something different--the poetry of the lyrics (if there are any), the background instruments that enhance the major instruments, or the way your mood changes during the song.

I was actually inspired to write this blog while listening to the soundtrack to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Such a great movie that is enhanced by great music. But perhaps my absolute favorite theme song of all time is the Forrest Gump Suite. Just hearing those first few notes reminds me of the great movie and the whole atmosphere of the film and its main character. The rise and fall of the music--the way it builds to a climax and then comes back down for quiet moments.

Just as soundtrack music reminds me of the way a movie makes me feel, albums or musicians I listen to repeatedly during a season of my life will inevitably take me back to the time later. Sometimes these pairings make sense, while other times it just happens to be whatever CD I'm listening to while reading a book. Listening to 100 Portraits will forever remind me of driving in the mountains to pick up river tubers at summer camp. Radiohead's OK Computer will take me back to the time I worked at a sing company because that's the first time I ever heard that album. And I'm sure that a few years from now, any time I hear Fleet Foxes, I'll be reminded of this past spring.

Here are some of my favorites that remind me of different times of my life.

- Enter the Worship Circle: Any summer at TVR Christian Camp
- Dive by Steven Curtis Chapman: Summer 2000 (Go Deep!)
- Mmmbop by Hanson: The summer before 8th grade when Amanda and I would spend whole days in the pool (don't hate on Hanson!)
- Joanna Newsom: Late summer and fall of 2007 while I was living in Cary, NC
- John Denver: When I was on my Lori Wick fiction phase in high school
- Smalltown Poets and OC Supertones: Riding in the car with Amanda and her mom in high school. Especially when we would go pick up Holly (Amanda's sister) from school.

What I'm listening to now, that will surely some day remind me of this past year:

- The Weepies: Hideaway
- The Joy Formidable: A Balloon Called Moaning
- Anathallo: Floating World
- Department of Eagles: In Ear Park
- She & Him: Volume 1
- The Welcome Wagon: Welcome to the Welcome Wagon

I'm sure the above list would be longer if I hadn't placed a moratorium on buying music right now. I miss buying music...So
what moves you? What music reminds you of a time in your life--happy or sad?

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