Posts Tagged ‘soundtrack’

Internal Music

15 September 2010

Dear J-

I’m waking up this morning with the Beatles’ Mother Nature’s Son on my internal radio for some reason; it’s not as though I’ve listened to it recently, though. So of course I check the various devices littering my bag to see if one of those, maybe, has the song on it, but no luck (given that I only last week figured out how to create playlists, it’s a minor miracle that there’s any music at all). It’s not about what I have with me (I settled on Dance Hall Crashers instead) but the intensely personal nature of music: theVet and I generally agree on the movies we’d like to see (musicals and romantic comedies, which has led to discussions on how I’ve finally entered puberty as a thirteen-year-old girl) and television shows, but there is her music and mine with a great yawning gulf in between.

Part of it has to do with what you associate with those songs: for instance, I have memories of listening to Tripping the Live Fantastic (one of McCartney’s later live concert albums) as the first thing I spun up in my own stereo on headphones — that album’s now inextricably linked with that pride of ownership and privacy. Likewise, I got the Trainspotting soundtrack* album from my brother just before I left for grad school — it’s lumped in with those feelings of loneliness and alienation, being in Boston while the rest of my life remained on the West Coast, struggling with homework and research in those first few months, but filled with a roaring, defiant bravado: hey, I’m just as smart and able as the rest of these punks, damnit.

I wonder if that’s why mixtapes never seem to work as well as you’d imagine: there’s all kinds of emotions that dredge up for me when I play songs and without a shared context, say, the live cover that Dance Hall Crashers did of Tom Petty’s American Girl doesn’t make sense to anyone else in the world but you and me, J-. I don’t trust most reviews, as there’s no way to tell, really, what the reviewer’s personal biases are, but for music? Forget about it; there’s no way the sum of my experiences matches theirs.


* I love soundtrack albums, especially when they’re well-done compilations. It’s the reason that I regard Pretty in Pink as far superior to Sixteen Candles: that Pretty in Pink soundtrack is the best slice of 80s music I’ve ever invested in (and with that said, I’ve been eyeing the Some Kind of Wonderful soundtrack, another John Hughes-penned, Howard Deutch-directed effort). They’ve exposed me to artists I never would have otherwise have an opportunity to hear, like Sleeper (thanks, Trainspotting!), Dance Hall Crashers (Angus), and Save Ferris (10 Things I Hate About You).