Saturday, February 9, 2008

Mobile Melodies

One of the Farmgirls asked a question the other day that got me thinking. What music are you listening to in your car? Or van, or SUV, or truck?
The answers were as varied as the women on the forum. My answer to the question was this- Paul Potts and the sountrack from "Juno". As I wrote- "Talk about polar opposites!"
My musical taste varies as much as the weather. One day I could listen to James Taylor, the next time, Tracy Chapman and the next would find me listening to Vivaldi or Bach.
My children have developed a broad taste in music as well. That is evidenced by the long lists on their iPods. Hours and hours of endless listening pleasure. Well, some of it. They will attest that they like it all. Me, not so much. I am not a big fan of what I call "screaming music." It may start out harmless enough, but then all of a sudden, the inner angst of the musician comes out in what can only be described as a sound of someone being attacked by wild animals. No. It is not pleasant to the ear, or the spirit.
For Christmas, my son gave me a mixed cd of some of his favorites that he thought would appeal to me. He made one for his dad also, and said that one was much easier to put together.
From this cd, interspersed among talents like the Beach Boys, I have been introduced to the likes of Iron and Wine, Coldplay, Elliot Smith, Regina Spektor and my son's own composition
titled after his mom. (Isn't that sweet?)
I have to say that I like what he chose for me. It shows a soft side to the music that he listens to.
Even the song he wrote for me, with its electronic robot sounds that remind me of the sounds computers made in old movies, has its charm.
One song in particular has drawn me into its depths. By Elliot Smith, "Twilight" is soulful and haunting. It is a song about relationships and unrequited love, and there is a line in the chorus that touches my heart- "I'm already somebody's baby." It could mean a myriad of things. A friend, a spouse, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a child. I tend to think of it in the latter term. The reason I do is because of his story.
Incredibly talented but riddled with inner struggles, this young man committed suicide in 2003. How can someone with such a connection to life, deeply connected to it, end his own so quickly? Did he know that he would break the hearts of his parents and friends? He was somebody's baby. He was his mother's.
Clearly he forgot that, as he complicated his life with drugs and alcohol, looking for the things that would bring him peace. You can hear the longing in his songs. A search with no end, he opted out, leaving an empty space in his wake.
I think sometimes we forget that artists- musicians, actors, sculptors- are expressing and baring their most intimate selves. That fact seems to be clouded with all of the romance and drama of their lives. It is usually in retrospective that we can see things clearly.
The words to describe such people is as varied as their talents; confident, shy, fragile, sensitive, faithful, open, sweet. Playing to both sides, the public and the private, can prove to be too much for some.
I think that is why my children appreciate such a wide variety of music. They take the time to learn the story behind the words and the musician that sings them. In turn, I have learned from them, and for that I am grateful. I rather like learning things from my children.
That is why I have Paul Potts and "Juno" in my cd player.


lindaharre said...

Isn't Paul Potts' story remarkable? He had me with the first note.....LOL

Nan - said...

This was beautifully written. I think it is so hard for anyone in the public eye because they get all this acclaim, but they know inside they are just regular people, with insecurities, sadnesses, etc. They are idolized and inside may wonder why. Again, a wonderful blog entry.

windycorner said...

Hi Karin,
I heard a song from Juno on the radio Sunday and really liked it. It's probably by your guy, Paul Potts. Two bands that are now my favorites thanks to hearing my son listening to them: Juliana Theory and Jimmy Eat World.