Sunday, August 1, 2010

music (in my ears)

I've had my eye out for some good music because I'm not fond of air travel, and when I climb onto an airplane in a few weeks, I want something to drown my ears in. I'm really fascinated by Dark Night of the Soul (think: David Lynch + Sparklehorse + Danger Mouse) because it's strange and because it's title makes me think, not of Catholic mystics, but of Douglas Adams. The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul is one of my favorite titles, ever.

I'm also listening to Amanda Palmer Performs the Popular Hits of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukulele. "High and Dry" is gorgeous. I think I missed the initial boat on the Radiohead craze, though I remember that my roommate on the first summer I went away from home alternated between bouts of Radiohead and bouts of the Smashing Pumpkins played at volumes so high that I felt like our dorm room was a shivering gondola hurtling through the city's fog.

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It's funny. I've known so many people who have an intense memory for music. It's like the songs are a card catalogue, and on each one is written a memory, compactly and stealthily stored for future resurrection, momentary resuscitation. I find myself lacking in this particular skill of nostalgia. I don't remember the first song I danced with a boy to. I don't remember the first piece I learned on the piano. I don't have songs that dredge up kisses or birthday parties or miseries or joys. I could (theoretically) still dance for you the Bluebird Pas de Deux (the first real and glittering classical partnering piece I ever did), but hearing Tchaikovsky's score doesn't bring me back to that day when my teacher coached me into such tears that I couldn't see straight.

It's not that music leaves me cold. I love music. I love to move to it. There are some pieces that have a direct and unfairly swift line to my heart. But I don't get that visceral dislocation. I miss out on the instant of time travel that leaves people all moist around the eyes when they hear that song.

I feel like I've been cheated. Where is my nostalgic soundtrack? Where are the songs that I'll play to wallow in my life? Maybe I'll have to artificially inject them. All moments carefully scored. All significant characters allotted a fitting theme song. I should hum them when they appear.

"What? That? Oh, it's just a little song that's going to make me think of you."

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My friend, the lovely Mlle. X, is posting some glorious photographs on her blog. Look, admire. I dare you to resist the stories that come bleeding through them.

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