Music as a Mirror

We love music because it can transport us to a time or place that makes us happy or sad, in the past or present. It can mirror how we are feeling right now, which must be a basic human need, to receive feedback on how your life is going, today.

Need an example? Listen to “Groovin (on a Sunday afternoon),” the Young Rascals’ version. Every time I have ever listened to this song, from childhood to now, the song puts me in just the best mood. It reminds me of summer Sunday afternoons, spent in my hometown of Hillsborough, NC, when I had no worries, no responsibilities, and plenty of family and good friends around me at all times. If you don’t have those same remembrances, just the beat should get your toe tappin.’

This summer wasn’t so hot. It wasn’t bad; it just wasn’t “Groovin (on a Sunday Afternoon). Last night, at midnight, listening to my Sansa MP3 player, pleading with myself to go to sleep, I found my song of summer 2008! About time, as summer is over in 2 weeks as the calendar goes.

The song is Ryan Adams’ “I Taught Myself How to Grow Old,” from his album, “Easy Tiger.” Should have known that troubled young tarheel would provide my summer soundtrack.

The whole, slow, almost acoustic, song is just brilliant; lyrics and music, but the middle of the song, it sums up my feelings, or lack thereof, the past few months. Listening is like looking into a mirror. I hope that mirror leaves me soon, autumn is always such a great, “look to the future, not to the past” kind of time for me.

The “middle” of “I taught myself” is:

“Most of the time I got nothing to say
When I do it’s nothing and nobody’s there to listen anyway
I know I’m probably better off this way
I just listen to the voices on the TV ’til I’m tired
My eyes grow heavy and I fade away…”


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