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Some days are made for this type of music, and some days are made for that type of music. Some days you need to rock hard, and some days you need to soothe your soul. The thing is you never really know until you're up and moving about. Is your head heavy from the night before? Did you stub your toe at 3am getting up to pee? Is there stress on the horizon at your job? Do you still HAVE a job? Does your car start? Did you dribble toothpaste on your new shirt? Is the weather ominous, or soothing? Did the dog shit on the rug? If so, did you step in it? All of these things coalesce in your brain, which does some sort of wild calculations, as quick as the 6 Keith Moon pistol shots he fires off before the "Can't explain....I think it's love" bit in that song....and comes up with your playlist for the day. The brain is quite remarkable that way.
Over the last year things have gone wild. The synapses firing during a pandemic are probably why Spotify, those soulless greedy bastards, just raised its prices. Even my old Ipod with its 30,000 songs couldn't keep up with my 7 day a week Manic Monday’s. I hate everything about Spotify, but cannot live without it...which means I hate myself....which of course only encourages crazed playlists. Which require Spotify.
Self-loathing. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
But still.....it saves my life. Daily.
So it was the mid 80s……and it was the summer. That summer between high school and college....so special because you just knew it was the last one that wouldn't cause your back to bend. It was the last one when you didn't age.
Beer and girls and bon-fires and boom boxes, 4 of the greatest things in the universe. On magical weekend nights they’d all converge and time seemed to stand still. We laughed and sang and cried and thought things were gonna be like this forever….friends and warm summer nights and music and the water from the creek rolling by….promising eternal youth. And at the end of the night we’d break into groups….finding our way home….always on foot. Giddy from the beer, holding hands….with the free one clutching the boom box as we danced our way down the street that curved like an S past the police station and the projects, singing John Cafferty’s Tough All Over….over and over again. We’d have to stop dancing and rewind the tape…..and then we’d be off again. Another 3 minutes plus of pure bliss. There was nothing special about that night….it was like 100 others…..except the memory is tied to that particular song. It’s a good song…..not groundbreaking…..but a solid bar-band song with a great chorus…..and I’ll forever be grateful that it exists because without it those special nights might have disappeared into the ether. For those few hours….or those few minutes….I don’t think I ever felt more alive.
Some days are made for this type of music. And some days are made for that type of music. But all days need music.
Gimme the beat boys / and free my soul / I wanna get lost in your rock and roll / and drift away
A few decades later. My Dad had just passed. He'd had a long battle....and there was a sense of relief that latched onto the pain. I was leaving my Mom's house.....and with no warning all my brain craved was Irish traditional music. My Pop was a titanic Irishman, and my car was stuck in park until I pulled something up. It was "The Kinnitty Sessions" by Lúnasa. And from then on, I was able to drive. It was a gorgeous spring day. The flowers had beaten back winter, and the windows were open as I drove to and fro.....past the seemingly endless locations in my world that I associate with my Father. For that time, our blood was co-mingled, and if you could draw it, it would come out as the Irish tricolor. It's hard to explain the feelings I had that day, but maybe you'd understand if you heard the music…..and felt the same breezes…that conjured up the memories.
Fast forward some years later. My sister's and I had just left the funeral home where we were making arrangements for my Mom. She had finally succumbed to her broken heart. We were on our way to pick out a casket. We each had our own cars....so we followed each other. My radio was on. "Champagne Supernova" from Oasis. It was the first time I cried for my Mom.
Someday you will find me / Caught beneath the landslide / In a champagne supernova in the sky
The song didn't make any more sense then than it does now.....just how fucking fast is a cannonball really?...but now it's forever linked to my longing to once again feel protected by this extraordinary woman. Not sure how Noel Gallagher would feel about this, but I’m sure he’s heard weirder shit.
Each of these days was made for the music that I remember them by.
Drift away. It helps.
In a bit..