Monday, November 15, 2010

The Soundtrack In My Head

I'm sure you all can relate, Gentle Readers, to hearing a song on the radio that you haven't heard in years, and having it instantly transport you back to a time in your life when you first heard that song. Maybe it was a song that was all over the airwaves that summer, when you spent every waking minute at the pool or the beach.  Maybe it was the song they played at your high school dance.  Maybe it was just you, alone in your room, enveloped by the sound. I love music, and I love those moments and the memories it creates.  Who says time travel is impossible?

For me, not only can music be a reminder of fond memories and different times and places in my life, but some music really resonates with me. Like a tuning fork humming in sympathetic harmony, I can hear certain music and it's as if my spine hums; it resonates with my core being and feels right. Some of my most favorite musicians are the ones whose music takes me to that imaginary world in my mind. It's as if they've crawled inside my head and written a soundtrack for my thoughts and dreams and when I listen to their music, I feel like I’m home. Queensryche is one of those bands.

I remember where I was when I heard Queensryche for the first time.  A friend of mine kept telling me about this new band and insisted I listen to them. He made me a copy of the album, Empire, and I went home and popped it in, curious to see what had him all wound up.  I can still remember sitting on the floor in my room in front of my stereo and listening, spellbound, as that musical door opened up, and I felt like I was home. The soaring vocals and harmonies,the intelligent well-crafted lyrics, the intricate guitar-playing, the dark, layered, complex compositions, the hints of classical music and orchestration - this was not the heavy metal I knew, but a new subgenre called progressive metal, and I was hooked.  Queensryche's songs also told stories. Stories that, in a way, felt like they'd walked right out of my own head.  Not that I fancy myself a lyric writer or musician. Far from it.  But these stories resonated with me, and reflected back to me how I saw life.  (Oh yeah, and they rocked too.)

I must admit, I probably knew my then-boyfriend (now-husband) was "the one" when the new Queensryche album came out a few years later. We went out and bought it as soon as it came out, went back to his apartment, sat down in front of his stereo and listened to it from beginning to end.  Most of my friends drove me nuts, when I wanted them to listen to some new musical find of mine, they'd want to chitchat and visit while the music played on in the background, while all I wanted was for them to shut up and listen to the magic that was coming out of the speakers. That was not the case here.  When my future husband and I sat down to listen to that album, we took it all in, volume cranked high, sitting side by side, not saying a single word.

Turns out he was from my strange little world too, and my heart resonated with that, just like it did with the music.

Anybody Listening?
by Queensryche
You and I
long to live like the wind upon the water.
If we close our eyes, we'll maybe realize
there's more to life than what we have known.
And I can't believe I've spent so long
living lies I knew were wrong inside,
I've just begun to see the light.

Long ago there was a dream,

had to make a choice or two.
Leaving all I loved behind,
for what nobody knew.
Stepped out on the stage of life
under lights and judging eyes.
Now the applause has died and I
can dream again...

Is there anybody listening?

Is there anyone that sees what's going on?
Read between the lines,
criticize the words they're selling.
Think for yourself and feel the walls
become sand beneath your feet

Feel the breeze?

Time's so near you can almost taste the freedom.
There's a warm wind from the south.
Hoist the sail and we'll be gone,
by morning this will all seem like a dream.
And if I don't return to sing the song,
maybe just as well.
I've seen the news and there's
not much I can do...alone

Is there anybody listening?

Is there anyone who smiles without a mask?
What's behind the words--images
they know will please us?
I'll take what's real. Bring up the lights.

Is there anybody listening?

Is there anyone that sees what's going on?
Read between the lines,
criticize the words they're selling.
Think for yourself and feel the walls...
become sand beneath your feet.


chandy said...

I really enjoyed this post! Even though we don't always have the same musical interests (except for U2 of course!) I can totally identify with the way music can transport you to another place and time. I liked your tuning fork reference :) I feel like you took the time to write this piece well.

D.L. White said...

I love it that there is such variety in people and in music - it's what makes life interesting. :-)

Thanks for the comment - this post was a long time in the works - I'm glad it shows. :-)

Jessie said...

I'm touched by your sweet sweet story.