Saturday, October 14, 2006

Musical Memories

As I may have previously mentioned, I've been feeling rather old lately. I've decided it's not because I actually am old, but because things in my life's proximity are making me feel that way. Today, music has made me feel old.

I was introduced to music at a young age. When I was growing up, my mother always had the radio on while she got ready for work and I ready for school. She also had it on while driving to our destination. I didn't have any specific tastes, I just liked whatever came on the radio, though I do specially remember not liking 'Don't Worry, Be Happy'.

I've always enjoyed music and my growing up "around" it certainly helped spur that love; the idea that there exist people who don't enjoy music at all has only recently been introduced to me and it's a thought my mind keeps trying to reject like a body might a baboon heart. Also, since I grew up in the 80's, I have a rather disturbing amount of songs from that time forever burned into my brain. Those of you who have ever taken a road trip with me or been on the phone with me when I zone out and start singing to myself know this all too well.

I have been going through the tedious task of converting all of my CDs to digital format so that I would have my entire collection instantly at my fingertips. Many of you have been through the same no doubt, and likely you remember well the horror of the process. It does however hold a few pleasant surprises such as discovering forgotten music. Among my collection I found not only a depressing number of CDs I can't believe I ever listened to, let alone purchased, but I also found some old CDs that, while not truly forgotten, I had not listened to in years upon years. There's nothing else quite like rediscovering a song you used to love.

Like most people - or so I imagine - I didn't really develop real musical preference until I was in my early teens. It used to be that it came on the radio, I was happy with it (which is most certainly not the case now). I remember the very day, the very album, I got that first started my interest in exploring music on my own and began the evolution of my own musical palette. Like probably many people my age, that album (or at least band) of influence was:

This was the first CD I ever owned, and it was for my 13th birthday. And this very disk is rather what has made me feel old. As I put this album tracks onto my computer, it is automatically updated with the track titles, band name, and year released. To my horror, "Bleach" is nearly 20 years old! The day I got this CD does not seem distant at all and when it was given to me it was only a few years old. How can it be 20 years old? I remember vividly things said on that day, and things done on that day. The memory is still so fresh. The day I purchased their new album, "In Utero", seems almost as recent, and of course the unfortunate loss of Kurt also feels quite near.

Speaking of "In Utero", I ran across it as well and had an urge to listen to it. It is the first time I've listened to the original copy since high school and the first time listening to it at all in at least 8 years. It seems amazing to me that I can have not listened to "In Utero" in over 8 years as I think it will always feel like a new release to me for some reason.

I'm constantly amazed at the ways music can move a person, and I learned some new ways today. First off, I noticed that the cover of the album was turned around so that it was facing the inside of the CD case. For a split-second I was curious about this until I suddenly recalled one of my best friends back then had turned it around because he did not care for the cover and liked the inside of the jacket more. I'd never switched it back I suppose. I haven't seen that person in many years and this unexpected reminder of him made me miss my friend. It was almost like being able to touch the past.

The second thing was that when I opened the case, what was left of a Fruit Roll-Up wrapper fell out. This might seem an odd thing to you, but to me it was a memory that felt very fresh. My girlfriend at the time used to buy these for me and sneak them into my school bag so I'd randomly find them during the day which, at the time, made the day pretty awesome. What was more special about this is that she used to open them and carve the words, "I love you," out of the gummy surface and then reseal the package. She did it so well that, had I not known better, I would have thought they always came that way. What a pleasant surprise this was the first time she did this, and it wasn't much less special the following times. It never grew old, in fact. To this day I can no longer eat them because opening the package to not find that message waiting for me would wound my soul. The part of me that I keep hidden which still cherishes the memories of the long departed love wants to believe that every package has this sort of message and isn't willing to risk that it might not. Part of me needs to believe it is true. The world seems all the better for the possibility that it could be.

I wonder how nostalgic all this will be when I'm actually old? I'm not sure if I look forward to finding out or if I dread it.


Ali said...

Ooohhh, you're funny. I love the way you write. I will definitely be back to read more.
P.S. I LIKE your hair all excited (or retarted).

Azure said...

I really don't understand the people that don't like music much, let alone those who don't like it at all. My online brother-type person is that way. He listens to some music, but doesn't really go out of his way for it, and isn't remotely passionate about any of it. This boggles my mind, as music is one of those top 5 things I live for.

In conclusion, Nirvana rocks. ^_^