Music Means Nothing

Music didn’t abandon me. I left it by the side of the road, telling it I’d be back when I’m good and ready. For pets/people/plants, that’d be horrible treatment, but for music it was just fine. Since the road was only metaphorical, it wasn’t even littering. Even then, I came back, brought it home and dusted it off. Yesterday, I even listened to it, hearing the sounds of “Pinhole Camera” by the awkwardly named … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. From that song came tears, which is odd, because there is nothing sappy, sweet, or melancholy about it. It’s just music, good visceral music. It’s just music that once again found a place in my life and, once again, matched my own mood. I missed that.

For a while, music itself seemed irrelevant. It was both too specific and too vague. Songs seemed about specific moments that bore no resemblance to what I felt or knew. When they were like my life, they were too vague, talking about things and stuff, rather than just that feeling when one door closes and the next one, due to open (mandated by the law of cliches), gets stuck on the baggage, mine and others, behind the door. I needed perfect music and that can’t always happen.

I didn’t hate music. I just listened to podcasts about music rather than music itself. I meta-listened and the music meta-played. I heard snippets and discussions, stories and techniques. The language was familiar, but it was about the creation of music, not about how music (mist-)fit my life. Sure, it was sometimes dull. Do I really care which garage it was where the band first discovered their sound? I do not. Does it matter how Berlioz informed the band’s pseudo-punk sound? Nope. But it was good to hear about how music connected people, musicians and listeners, to each other. I couldn’t be connected, but I could hear how others could.

Meanwhile, my life changed. I’ll talk about it here or in other places, in the open or in code. Let’s just say that I moved from a victim of myself* to the best person I’ve ever been.* Now, right now in fact, I find myself looking back on the various mistakes I’ve made, even mistakes I couldn’t have not made. I see ways in which I was hurt and how said it was that people, including me, couldn’t help but hurt me. There is no blame attached, just the pain that it happened and had to happen, even though it would have been really easy for slightly different choices to lead to who-knows-what better place.

Then, yesterday, while playing with my little Roku hocky puck (hockey pucks are square, aren’t they?), I played music from my iPhone, to the network, to the Roku, to the the TV, and then to the stereo. I heard it, not through headphones or traffic, but through a system designed to play music. I heard the visceral sincerity of an angry-flavored song about … well … whatever. Maybe it was about a pinhole camera. Maybe not. It doesn’t matter. It just felt right: wistful, blameless, passionate, and raw. Music is back. Now, what’s new that I have to listen to? What have I missed?


*Yeah, it’s more complicated than that, but come on! The re-seduction of readers can’t start with instant nudity!

10 thoughts on “Music Means Nothing

  1. Oh please no with the instant nudity thing – but I’m glad you are back. Have missed the wry view of life – now, doubtless tempered with even more wisdom. But I’m pretty sure you haven’t missed anything. Music would wait for you :)

    • Music did come by, once in awhile, and knocked on the door. I wasn’t home, but it didn’t leave any nasty notes. Music is good like that!

      • David! It has been forever, but I am wondering if you are still out there in the blogosphere…which sounds rather like a real place, perhaps a great plastic bubble ball pit where you can play as long as you like and only go into a panic when you discover that the escape door has been locked, the lights are off, and everyone has gone home. It feels like that about now. Hope to hear from you!

        • I am still out here somewhere. I’m just dropping in and out of the blogosphere, mostly out. It’s nothing personal, but I’ve just found this oddly satisfying thing to occupy my attention: real life. Not that the blog world is unreal. In fact, it’s doing just fine without me, I think.

          [insert more babbling aimless responses that assure you that this is really me]

  2. Orange is back! Sorry for the late comment- took me a few days to remember my password :) I’m so far out of the blogosphere I can’t even think of anything to comment. However, it’s nice to be exposed to yet another band that I never heard of (And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead? Really?).

    • I’m back! Really, I’m just not silent anymore!

      You might like that band, but it might also remind you of some of your favorite NJ bands (Bon Hovi? Jon Canoli? Something like that) if they were taken over by the serious and angry artsy types. On the other hand, it’s probably just my taste, not yours.

Am I wrong?