So I’ve just gotten my youngest daughter to bed and while I was waiting to make sure she was really down for the night or just faking it (she is apparently faking it by the way, I’ve been interrupted 3 times while trying to write this.), I started watching American Idol which I had recorded on the DVR. I’ve watched this show off and on for several years and tonight while watching Casey James perform it really got me thinking about the wonderful power of music. Now, I do not have a single musical bone in my body, except, perhaps an appreciation bone. I love music. I appreciate the power of it. Some of my fondest memories are based on music, some of my worst memories can be evoked by a few notes of a single song.
I remember as a young girl sitting upstairs in my pink room with pink carpet, turning on my boom box and waiting, just waiting for that song that one song, you know the one. The song that you feel like you could have written yourself, the song with just the right melody that strikes something, some chord deep inside you somewhere? These were years before the internet and instant music. These were the years of FM only radio, no satellites beaming me music genres of my choice. These were the impressionable years, shaped by a handful of mediocre-at best radio stations in South Dakota (yes South Dakota has radio stations). And you might wait all afternoon for one song but if you heard it, THE song, it was all worth it. And hopefully you had a blank tape in the cassette player so you could record it.
I also remember driving home from law school hours after I found out my sister was killed in a car accident and having a newly downloaded CD in the player and surviving that 7 hour drive in the blizzard with that music and maybe because of that music. I think the album was roughly an hour long and I listened to it the entire drive home. I was afraid to turn on the radio, it was if hearing voices from the outside world, live on the radio would have somehow made everything more real, it might have brought me out of my shock and I wasn’t ready for that yet. If you’re curious, that CD was an Australian band called Powderfinger and the album was Vulture Street. There is a lot I could write about that long drive, too much for tonight, but I’ll leave you with this; that album will be dear to me forever, although even now, 5.5 years later it evokes memories so painful that I cannot bear to listen to more than a few moments of any one song on it and yet somehow it will probably always be my favorite album ever.
So back to American Idol. Something struck a chord, so to speak, in me with Casey James’ performance of Jealous Guy by John Lennon. Can I pin point what it was exactly? No. The words to the song are extremely simple, my favorite line is “I’m shivering inside.” I mean can’t you just feel the emotion behind that? The first sentence into this performance my heart is aching, memories from my own past are flooding in and I’m there, I’m right there with the singer and the song writer. That is what music is about I suppose, evoking emotion. Whether it was the words or the performance or Casey’s lovely hair, it brought me here to write about music, something I know very little about except that I love it.