I love music. Classical, blues, jazz, rock, classic rock, metal, punk, early rap and even some gospel, but I've never been a fan of pop music. I don’t know why, well, that is a lie. I do know why I don’t like pop music, my reason is simple, it doesn't really speak to me nor do I think it really holds up over time. Just my opinion, I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.
Now, being an offspring of the 1960’s, raised in the 70’s, became a man in the 80’s and matured in the 90’s I know I am now in my middle age. Yes, I believe that 46 is middle age, for me at least. Because to me middle age is your halfway point in life and if I live to 92 then I am correct, although I don’t think I will. The odds are against it. Besides, by the time I’m 92 I’m sure my brain will have more holes in it than a piece of nice Swiss cheese.
So, you can see from my decades how I was around for some very interesting changes in the musical industry, to me Dylan was always electric but I knew about his acoustic stage, I was around to understand why Kiss shows were so amazing, and I knew firsthand about stadium rock and the insanity it brought with it whenever a kick ass band came to town. During all of that though, I was learning how to play classical music in school as well as jazz and I fell in love with those styles of music and appreciate what they represented.
One of the most interesting things that music has done for me is that it always seems to speak to me. Seriously, when I feel like crap I turn on the radio and it seems the DJ is playing just the right song I need to hear to make me feel less craptastic. When I’m angry, good metal always seems to drown out the screams of frustration and revenge that rage inside my head. When I’m down, blues and jazz soothe my soul and make me feel less lonely and when I just need to be mellow, jazz is always the cure with a spattering of Mozart.
Today was one of those days. I’ve been living deep inside my head for the past 48 hours and for the life of me I couldn’t find anything in my Zune to play, even though I have over one thousand songs and four hundred artists loaded into the high tech piece of plastic, glass and microchips. I couldn’t pull the trigger on what would soothe my inner maniac. So I lived with it.
That is, until I arrived at my part time job. Well to be honest, for the first hour there, during set up, I listened to the Thomas Jefferson podcast. But once we opened for business and the customers started to roll in I was not in a position to listen to my ear buds. However, the chef in the kitchen listens to a local classic rock station and over the course of twenty minutes here are the songs that spoke to me:
1. Limelight by Rush
2. Under Pressure by Queen featuring David Bowie
3. Jack and Diane by John Cougar Mellencamp
4. Walk this Way by Aerosmith
5. No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature by The Guess Who
6. Jesus is Just Alright by The Doobie Brothers
Now each of these songs has specific lyrics that spoke to me and the shit I have been dealing with on a level that I’m sure most adults eventually have to deal with. No, I wont go into specifics here but know that those six songs, yes, I listed them in the order they came on the radio, seemed to give me certain balance.
A balance that I lost not just a short time ago.
I suppose I could explain it like this:
I’m sure you know the story of Pandora’s Box. In case you don’t know, Pandora, in Greek mythos, was the first human woman, she was married to a man named Epimetheus and the box was a wedding gift from Zeus. The box came with a warning label telling the newlywed couple to never open the box. But Pandora didn’t heed the warning and as soon as she was alone she cut the seal and all the evil inside was released into the world but the last thing that left the box wasn’t evil, it was good… it was Hope.
So, that is what I’m trying to read into the lyrics of the songs that spoke to me. Oh? You want examples? Sure, I’ll give you some in order:
1. Cast in this unlikely role, Ill equipped to act, With insufficient tact, One must put up barriers to keep oneself intact.
2. Cause love’s such an old fashioned word and love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night and love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves
3. Jacky say, “Hey Diane lets run off behind a shady tree, dribble off those Bobby Brooks and do what I please”
4. See-saw swingin’ with the boys in the school, with your feet flyin’ up in the air, Singin’ hey-diddle-diddle with the kitty in the middle, you be swingin’ like you just don’t care.
5. Lonely feelin’ deep inside, Find a corner where I can hide, Silent footsteps crowdin’ me, Sudden darkness but I can see.
6. Jesus, he’s my friend, Jesus, he’s my friend, He took me by the hand; led me far from this land, Jesus, he’s my friend.
Yup, it’s a strange life and somewhere out in the great and unseen ether there are strange and incomprehensible machinations afoot. I don’t think I will ever understand it and I to tell the truth, I don’t want to. In other words, the void I’ve been staring into as I stand on the crusty and crumbling edge as all the evil stares back at me with its dark gleaming, mesmerizing eyes there seems to be a hint, nay a glint of shining hope deep within the void.
That glint, seems to act as a mirror to me. A mirror that shows not just what is within all of us and the evils we feel in the dark recesses of our ID, but also, the hope that hides there. Like a ninja the evil can’t see. Because evil can’t truly look upon hope and goodness because then it’s own existence would cease to exist.
In some strange way, I want to thank Zeus and Pandora. For the hope that was released into our lives, the hope that acts as an unseen and unknown barrier to the human race because the evil will not only never see it, it will never understand it.
Have a great week.