Music: A Time Machine

The beautiful thing is, music can be like a time machine. One song – the lyrics, the melody, the mood  – can take you back to a moment in time like nothing else can. Unknown author

Our two young adults have been reminding Mom and Dad to get with the times. To drop the free Pandora we have been using with annoying ads and repetitive songs and to begin music streaming and to jump into Spotify.  We hemmed and hawed.  Really, you mean add yet another streaming bill on top of the already cumulative ones.  

Finally, last week we jumped in.  Oh my!  What an amazing tool. No, not just a tool.  A time machine.  Our Duo account in Spotify allows two people who live at the same address to each have a solo account and then one shared.  The joy that first day to realize that an utterly never-ending catalog of songs from every year of my life was at my fingertips. With no interruptions, no ads, no commercials.

Music is a marker of time and place, of mood, of friends and family criss crossing over my whole life. I have no doubt that if I ever begin to lose my memory, I’ve instructed my family to place music from my childhood, teen years and young adult years inside of my ears. And those songs will ignite memories in fine-tune detail.

A couple of winters ago, while enduring a very long commute, my husband and I clearly needed something to stay sane as we traversed the roadways en route towards Boston. Music was our partner on the ride up and back. The 6:30 in the morning selections streamed from the Windham Hill/George Winston Station on Pandora, music to ease into the day. The ride home music 70s & 80s-Journey, Eagles, Genesis, Chicago, EWF. Layla, The Guitar Man, Hello It’s Me, Stayin’ Alive, Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.

Sometimes to keep us from not talking about work or to-do lists we often launched into playing Name That Tune which was generally pretty easy so we added: What year did it come out? Who were you with? Where were you listening? What were you wearing?  Now that added depth and texture to the ride home!

In the early 90’s before streaming, when it was still necessary to buy CDs, we were living large in the movie soundtracks from Disney: Toy Story, Pocahontas, The Lion King, and Shrek for the kiddos. While in tandem to all those Disney Productions was the new music we were missing. Disney everywhere.  So now readily on Spotify, music that is a faint whisper from decades ago: Goo Goo Dolls, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Third Eye Blind. 

My younger brother received a turntable for Christmas.  The photo of him admiring his new Christmas gift said it all.  Sheer joy! I am certain he is restarting his vinyl collection little by little. Thinking about all of the record albums we carried with us in milk crates back and forth to college, apartments and beyond.  While clunky 8 tracks and slimmer cassettes offered music to our ears, still the record was rich with visuals and lyrics and a story, even. We listened to an album from song number one and flipped after song five or six and then actually listened to the whole other side.  A lost art my older brother said. Indeed. Music connects us. Soothes us. Inspires us. Heals us. 

Finishing this post while watching the Super Bowl and the Halftime Show.  Who is that? That voice!  Wait, those dance moves.  Those hundreds of dancers in line. Text to daughter:  Who is that?  She writes: The Weeknd. LOL. He is VERY famous. I reply: Makes me want to go dancing.  She writes: Makes sense. One of his idols is Michael Jacksonthat last song was the biggest one of 2020.  So, we cannot go dancing tonight for a long list of reasons.  Snow, Sunday, Pandemic.  But…I can head to Spotify, throw on some Michael Jackson and time travel back to 1985. Or maybe stay in 2021 and select The Weeknd. 

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