music and me

“I hate music, especially when it’s played.”
– Jimmy Durante

I have to say when I first saw that quote, I was floored; those words just went right through me. “Huh?!” didn’t even come close to how I felt. Then again, I’ve heard people say they never listen to music. :boggle: How can you go through life without music? I can’t imagine life without music. I remember when I was little flipping through Sandhi’s collection of 45s – there were some gems in there, including The Beatles Yesterday and Simon and Garfunkel’s Homeward Bound.

Music can be as annoying as it is moving, though. I’m not saying all music is good by any means. lol I can’t stand hiphop or most rap; some country (the newer “new country” like from the early 90s forward) I can stomach on occasion when I have to. Rock music started going downhill sometime in the mid-90s, and honestly, I didn’t listen to a lot of radio from the time just before I moved up here until within the last couple of years. Then again, it’s hard as fuck to get radio in Harlan County – mountains block the signal, even the local signal, and what selection their local “rock” station had blew hairy chunks, so we didn’t really miss anything, anyway. What music we listened to down there, we got from tapes and cds.

But then Breaking Benjamin, Staind, Static-X, Three Days Grace, A Perfect Circle, Thousand Foot Krutch, Nickelback, Dark New Day, Cold, Saliva, Hinder, Trapt, and others started popping out of the woodwork, and I started listening to the radio again. Since then, I’ve amassed quite an mp3 and cd collection as well. My boys and I listen to a lot of the same music, too. Thomas was as on edge as I was waiting for the new Breaking Benjamin cd to come out in early August, and Tayler’s on this big hang-up with both AC/DC and Pantera lately. In fact, I saw Breaking Benjamin in concert last Fall at the Kentucky downtown. I felt like the oldest fogie in the crowd, but damn – I’d pay double to go see them again and am praying they come back on this current tour.

But as I referred to above, music can be moving. In fact, it’s possible for music to pull a person through a gamut of emotions. I’ve had songs leave me in tears and others leave me rolling in the floor – thank you, Weird Al! […Baby, I love rocky road! So weren’t you gonna buy half a gallon, baby? I love rocky road! So have another triple scoop with me. Ow!] There are some songs out there that I just can’t listen to without tears rolling down my face. Some may just be on the overall “corny” factor list – odd memories, etc – but others are just that evocative, that emotional to me. Others get me into some serious “dancing where I sit”, while others bring me to my feet – such as Thousand Foot Krutch’s Move:

…Move and show me what you can do
When you step into the circle and shake like we do
And move when you just can’t take it
And move if you just feel like breaking it…

There are songs that I know and can sing all the way through and songs I only know parts of here and there and have to Eddie Izzard my way through. There are songs that I love to crank up and sing at the top of my lungs when I’m out driving in the car – or in the shower – Meatloaf’s Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back or Blue October’s Hate Me, for example. There are songs that move me to dance, as I’ve mentioned before, and the cat hates that sometimes. Sometimes I pick her up and make her my dance partner. She looks so indignant – but she does a mean Hustle!

And gods only know how much music W and I listened to while we were driving aimlessly or sitting around remote spots while we were in Harlan together, especially back when we first met. Queen, Nirvana, Metallica (Master of Puppets Metallica), Stone Temple Pilots, Concrete Blonde (Jonette!), Alice in Chains, Live, Tonic…And Styx. I was flipping through albums in his room one night and found a Styx LP and put it on the stereo. (I miss records – but that’s a whole ‘nuther post all by itself!) But we pretty much had a “Harlan Soundtrack” that we lived by back then. It’s that music I listened to while I was writing Midnight.

Which leads me to writing with music in the background. I actually created a soundtrack for Heir when I started writing it. With Midnight, I had a playlist on winAmp and several “writing cds”. With Heir, I created something more specific – akin to a movie soundtrack, but stacked; it has something like 30 songs on it, and my cd player hates it (it’s older (from April ’99) and doesn’t handle mp3s or cds with more than 16 trackswell). Anyone can flip through my cd collection and find several mixed cds called “vampire music”. I use those to write by, as well. They evoke a mood – and mood is important with the Harlan Vampires! 😉 I have noticed that when I’m writing certain characters, I want certain music on; it helps me get and stay in touch with their particular idioms. Sami is more Stone Temple Pilots and Destiny is more Staind, while Mick is more Hurt and Laurel is more Breaking Benjamin, for example.

And, last but not least, here are some of my favorite lyrics, regardless of mood or reason:

Stand up
I have had enough
Walk away before I finish what you started
Face to face I will put you in your place
End this game before I finish what you started
Face to face everything will change

[Stand Up, Trapt]

Can you feel pain inside?
Can you love?
Can you cry?
I wanna run through your wicked garden
Heard that’s the place to find you
Cause I’m alive
So alive now
I know the darkness blinds you

[Wicked Garden, Stone Temple Pilots]

I’ll show you how to take me
Go down go down
And I’ll show you how to turn me
Right on right on
And I’ll show you how to touch me
Right on right on right on
Right on right on right on

[Independent Love Song, Scarlet]

I alone love you
I alone tempt you
I alone love you

[I Alone, Live]

Run away
Make hate
And get laid
And get laid
You tie me up
I’ve had enough
So medicate
Medicate

[Medicate, Breaking Benjamin]

How do you cool your lips
After a summer’s kiss
How do you rid the sweat
After the body bliss
How do you turn your eyes
From the romantic glare
How do you block the sound
Of a voice you’d know anywhere

[Insensitive, Jann Arden]

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Author: Mari Adkins

Appalachian gothic fiction writer - my works reflect a love of literature flavored by the darkness and magic residing in these ancient mountains. In my spare time, I'm a Simmer, I tumbl, I journal, but I always have a very strange sense of humor. I have lived away from the mountains and lived deep in the mountains. I currently live in Central Kentucky with my lifepartner and his cat. The mountains, their culture, their superstitions, their particular magics, will always be in my blood.