Something that’s been on my mind for a while is a comment from music YouTuber Adam Neely. “Music makes you feel thoughts.” I want to unpack that and also examine what it means for me personally.
The first thing that I think of are the times I’ve gone clubbing or to concerts. The music is so loud you literally feel it. It hits you in your heart, spreading all throughout your body. So, most obviously, feelings are visceral; something physical that’s expressed by way of listening to music. (Side note: I really miss going out dancing.)
Anyway, on a deeper level, feelings are emotional. (Yes, yes, chorus in the back: duh.) It’s like a post I wrote but I’m not sure I ever shared – or, if I did, it’s something that’s been lost to time in my archives. In it, I talked about an “oof” playlist I have on my personal, non-clarascassettes Spotify. It’s one of my longest playlists, if not the longest one I have. The playlist is a collection of songs that speak to some sort of ache. They might be melancholy or wistful; many are in a minor key. None of them are truly sad, I don’t think – they just capture a kind of introspective loneliness and an intensity of feeling.
And again, music is that conduit, that access point for either expressing or (if you dare) revisiting those feelings. That might be why I love music so much. I’m an introvert at heart (though I’ve gotten better over time) and so expressing myself doesn’t always come naturally. With music, I can turn it up, share it, and with that, say, this is what I meant.
Last week I was working on a post about The Replacements. It was going to focus on their status as one of my favorite bands and explore the reason why. As part of the writing process, I looked through my archives to see what I’d already written about the band. Turns out there was a Favorite Bands post on The Replacements already – from 6 years ago.
That got me thinking: that’s a long time for them to be a favorite. Are they on the same level for me, though, as The Mary Chain or The Limousines, bands I’ve name-dropped and written about much more extensively?
And if not, why?
I think it comes down to lyrics. Their sound is literally note-perfect for me; I love the grungy guitar and echoing hum of “Can’t Hardly Wait”; I love the slow evocativeness of “Here Comes a Regular.” It’s that rough-hewn feel that made them a favorite in the first place. Yet lyrics are often what seals the deal when I’m falling in love with a band, and I’m not sure I’m always the target audience. “Achin’ to Be” and, of course, “Darlin’ One” are very much “story of my life” types of songs, so it’s little wonder that I love them. A girl thinking about being creative and maybe being hesitant about it at the same time. Those songs explore a tenderness that the rest of The Replacements’ catalogue is…somewhat lacking. See: “Waitress in the Sky.”
I guess that frat rock, or its progeny, just isn’t something I natively reach for.
I don’t know what it is, but lately I’ve been nostalgic for college – specifically, my time doing radio. It was an opportunity to, cheesily enough, find my voice. I remember that I was so nervous before every show, even though no one could see my face. Then the top of the hour would arrive, and I’d start the show by reminding everyone of what station they were listening to. With those few simple words, something shifted. I settled into my DJ persona, where every few songs I was perfectly comfortable sharing stories, talking about what we’d just heard, and getting the audience excited for what was about to play.
The other people who did radio just added to the experience. Some were the late-night crew who just wanted to spin Led Zeppelin IV; others were indie-pop girls who always seemed to know the latest remix. I made some great friends – when you do radio, you bond over that shared weirdness, that obsession with music.
This blog has provided a great opportunity to revisit that feeling: the comfort of my favorite songs and bands, the excitement of learning about something new. It’s a lot of fun, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading along with me.