Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Missing Music

It would be writerish of me to suggest that I lost the music at the same time that I lost everything else, but it wouldn't be true. This actually happened a few years before.

As the CD became the dominant form of delivering music, I stubbornly clung to vinyl. I liked everything about vinyl better, even the occasional ticks and pops. But soon enough it was phased out more or less completely, and I stopped buying music altogether. Friends sometimes made tapes for me when they discovered something that they thought I would like, but I didn't break down and buy a single CD until years later when I needed to research Goth music for a short story.

About eight or nine years ago, my stereo started going a bit wonky. Rasping, scratchy sounds from the speakers. I tried changing the needle, but that didn't help. Eventually, fearing that I was ruining my records by playing them, I gave up, and that was the end of music for me, done, finished, caput.

After my mother's death and the attack of the auctioneers I was faced with an empty, too-quiet house. Something needed to fill the space, and suddenly I had cravings to listen to my old music again. I broke down and ordered some CDs by Melanie and Herb Alpert, but it wasn't until I got to the new house and was forced to buy a better, faster computer that I began to replace my vinyl in a serious way.

And it wasn't until this past week that I realized something was missing. The stuff that I grew up with, the stuff that's in my bones, that was easy to remember. But the bands and music that got added on later in life, they were gone. How long had it been since I listened to Pat Benatar? Long enough that I'd forgotten she even existed.

I happily replaced what I needed of Pat, but there was something else I was drawing a blank on: a band. A band I used to listen to all the time. I couldn't remember their name. I couldn't remember any of their songs. They had been completely erased from my memory banks.

It turned out that I was actually thinking of two separate and unrelated bands. I had to google on things that I associated with them in my mind. It was odd. I kept feeling like I was getting closer, but I still couldn't say their names to save my soul.

Then the names appeared in the search results, and like anything that can't be remembered this one made me feel so stupid. Of course: 10,000 Maniacs! Natalie Merchant! The Cranberries! Delores O'Reardon! How could I possibly have forgotten them?

Remembering them triggered the memory of two other singers that I'd admired long ago, and also forgotten: Jane Olivor and Sinead O'Connor.

Listening to their music again after so many years is pleasing and strange. I'd forgotten what a great album In My Tribe is. I'd forgotten that The Cranberries, being Irish, are tortured, depressed and gloomy, which means they won't be getting much play in my house for the time being.

The years I spent without music were not happy ones, but getting it back after so long is a happy feeling. I don't think the quats know what to make of it. They've gotten used to a quiet house and to me being sedentary. Now that's changing, just a bit, they look at me with puzzlement.

-- Freder.

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