Once upon a time, I was five years old and sitting on my living room floor with a pile of tapes and a multicolored walk-man playing a Phil Collins mixtape on repeat. The fire place was roaring, and my favorite orange cat was sitting on my stomach, jamming with me. It goes without saying that, I wouldn’t mind being there right now. There’s nothing like laying down in the middle of the floor without a care in the world. Phil kept the world out and the headphones kept the music in. How convenient.
Contrary to even my own initial belief, it is not that intense five second, thrill inducing solo performed by the extensively popular drum machine from Collins’ first single, “In the Air Tonight” (Now of Mike Tyson and Hangover fame), that has me attached to this ridiculously old memory. In fact, I’m probably remembering the moment entirely incorrectly, as it seems a bit too peacefully indulgent for reality. The intrigue is in that I have realized that I hardly ever enjoy music to the same extent, or for the same reasons, any more.
When you’re young, naive and bored and sitting on the floor with nothing else to do but maybe color, draw or make fun of your little sister, you’re not trying to impress anyone. Five year old Wendy didn’t sit on the floor of her parent’s suburban town house with anxiety in her bones, hoping that handsome little Johnny from down the street would walk in the door, sit down beside her, and be impressed by which tape happened to be reeling at the time. No, she put those headphones on simply because she wanted to.
How many times have you told someone you liked a song that you hate enough to get visibly upset when it comes on the radio? How many times have you driven down main street of your hometown with the windows rolled down and the volume all the way up, wondering which song would perpetuate which image of you?
We have all done it. And if you haven’t, you should get back in bed because you can’t lie here! This quasi mid-mid-life crisis prompts tons of questions. What type of music did I once genuinely enjoy? Why wouldn’t I enjoy it as much now? Where was I the last time I really listened to a song, and why did I? How do I jump over this sky-scraper-esque wall built directly on my path to happiness?
I’ll tell you how. Stop listening to music because it’s cool, or because you’re bored. Listen to music like it’s a sport. Listen to music because you have a reason to. Listen to the first song that you ever loved. Don’t remember? Discover a new one. Listen to your parent’s favorite band from their childhood, from their college years, or from right this second. Find a song to give to your boyfriend for his birthday and burn it to its own CD. And then do it all again. Don’t leave one headphone in during Astronomy class while you’re listening to a lecture. Don’t listen to 102.7 while you’re doing your homework.
I’ll even give ya’ll a little push. There is only one band which can truly, madly, and deeply stick in your mind for eternity. That band is Savage Garden, the greatest band to ever hit the 90’s airwaves. Not to be confused with the Goo-Goo Dolls, who have a completely different sound, Savage Garden can be your first step to rediscovering fabulous music.
Would you go to a museum to lie down, face first on the marble floor, not able to see a single work of art? No. So don’t put in your earbuds while your ears are turned off, multitasking, or distracted. Now I’m nineteen, and sitting on my parents couch, listening to “Face Value” on vinyl. Everything is so different, yet rediscovering the music which once made me happy reminds me it’s really just the same..
Contact Wendy Sivik at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.