"There are places I remember, all my life though some have changed.
Some forever not for better; Some have gone and some remain.
All these places have their moments with lovers and friends, I still can recall.
Some are dead and some are living. In my life, I've loved them all."
Some people listen to music for the beat. I have never been one of those people. I have always listened to music to hear the poetry in the lyrics. Each word a piece of a story that would capture me. I used to sit at my cassette player with a notepad for hours, pressing play/stop/rewind over and over to learn lyrics. I had notepads full of different song lyrics that spoke to me and made me feel. Music was never about tapping my toes or swaying to the beat, it was a language that I understood on a different level than other people.
The first album I wore into oblivion was The Beatles Rubber Soul. I can remember rifling through my brother's cassettes and seeing this one. Having heard most of the songs many times due to the wonderful musical education of my mom and dad, I listened so intently. Scribbling every lyric and thinking my life had some connection to the words. Hands down, my favorite Beatles song is "In My Life." And playing Rubber Soul upwards of a thousand times helped to solidify that. I cannot hear it today without nostalgia soaring through me and my eyes welling with tears.
To this day, I still connect moments of my life to songs. I can't remember what I did yesterday or the day before, but I can remember 3 months ago sitting on a bench in the rain with my best friend listening to Sara Bareilles "She Used To Be Mine." I can remember driving to Lansing to an Army base listening to Eminem's Marshall Mather's LP, rapping our brains out and thinking we were invincible. Or driving to a deli in Miami, Florida with a childhood friend while her dad played Jay and The Americans; I can still remember every word. Sitting in a bowling alley parking lot while OneRepublic's "Stop and Stare" came on. Or reading the lyrics to my therapist of Bob Dylan's To Make You Feel My Love when I was 15 and thought my love for a boy was endless. Or even the first time I heard City and Colour, which is now one of my all-time favorite artists. Music has left it's mark on so many moments.
Music is so much more than something to listen to for me. Music is the basis of my existence and is behind every single thing I have done. It speaks to me in ways I cannot explain and it makes me feel...well... everything. Do I drum to the beat of songs? Sure. I also sing them, harmonize them, and do background vocals. I adore music for all it has to offer.
So now I will circle back to my story about The Beatles:
A friend of mine and I tried dating for a while. We flirted a lot at work and one day he finally asked me out. We didn't date very long as we were in very different places in our life, but we never held our failed relationship against each other. I was I was 26 with a 6 year old at home and he was 22 and living the life that most 22-year olds live: wild abandon. We didn't have a lot in common in regard to life and leisure, but what we lacked in commonality, we made up for in a general respect for each other.
One night, after working a seemingly endless shift, we decided to sit in the empty parking lot at our work for a while and just talk. We smoked cigarettes and played loud music. And then a song came on: In My Life. He reached over and grabbed my hand, "This is one of the ultimates right here." I recognized the look on his face, which took him to another place, because when I heard the song, it did the same to me. We had both been through a lot in our lives, but in many different ways. Yet somehow, this song brought us together. He proceeded after to play Don McLean's American Pie and tell me how much that song meant to him as well. Another night I will never forget.
My friend passed away yesterday. And as I sift through the emotions I cannot fully understand, I have to listen to the song that takes me back to that night in his car in the Lowe's parking lot. While life was still moving outside, life inside that car slowed as we enjoyed a wonderful song. I will always love my friend for giving me a nickname I adored, for keeping me from fighting a girl at a party one drunken night, for giving me awful Valentine's Day memories, for understanding my love of music, and for always being himself around me.
"Though I know I'll never lose affection for people and things that went before,
I know I'll often stop and think about them.
In my life, I love you more."