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Friday, July 5, 2013

Take a Look at Me Now

Okay, I'll admit it, I love Phil Collins' music. I found a 45-minute clip of his ballads on YouTube and I'm in seventh heaven! I have a Pandora station and anytime I feel like being melancholy (which ironically can be quite often for a sanguine) I switch from my Disney station to Phil Collins and lose myself in soul music. I just Googled online to see if he still tours but it appears he doesn't. How sad!

I've gone through quite a number of phases with my music. Growing up, my parents wouldn't let us have walkmans with radios so they could monitor to a degree what we listened to. A good friend of ours lent us a contraband tape (yes, the kind with ribbon!) and we kept it well hidden in a drawer of clothes. Or so we thought, until our mother discovered it and made us return it. We were allowed to listen only to Heritage Singers, Maranatha Singers, Carpenters, Nana Mouskouri, and classical music.

Once we reached our teen years we were allowed to get radios on our walkmans. By then, though, I was already quite familiar with secular music, having listened to it on the tape player I took to my dad's office to practice typing lessons or on my friend's tapes they'd recorded from the radio. Our cousin had sent us a tape of country songs, "Don't it make my brown eyes blue" and "Talking in your sleep" by Crystal Gayle. I loved Ace of Base, All 4 One, Boyz II Men, and other R&B groups.

It was around this time that I started listening to Radio Delilah. Delilah was a Christian DJ and her radio station was dedicated to soft rock and songs that spoke to the heart. People would call in to dedicate a song to someone close to them and I marveled at how she was able to always pick the perfect song. I thought about calling in one night, but never got the courage to.

My boyfriend at the time was really into Babyface, I discovered Trey Lorenz, and continued listening to the soul music I had grown up with. Then I went through another phase. This one involved gaining acceptance by my peers, so out went all the music that had comforted my soul through the years to be replaced by Dollar Store "Best of Vivaldi" CDs and such. I couldn't bring myself to throw out my Steve Green tapes that I'd carefully hoarded my piasters to buy at the Christian bookstore, unaware they were pirated copies (though that was all that was available anyhow). So those stayed.

Music has always been an important part of my life, perhaps because I feel things deeply and sometimes I am unable to express how I'm feeling, so I turn to music that can better convey my emotion at the time. Music expresses the melancholy moment, frees me to sing with joy, brings a toe-tapping beat, or simply keeps me company on long road trips.

After I went through my "sacred" phase, I returned once again to the familiar. This time I added country, ballads, kept the R&B and soul music, the soft rock. I was happy. I loved driving down the road singing along with Shania Twain at the top of my lungs, dancing about in my seat. I was learning to let go of the thought that any music other than religious was of the devil. When I thought about the music I was listening to, I realized it was just like poetry, or conversation. People sharing their hearts, their struggles, their joys, in words set to music.

Now when I listen to music I listen for the experience, the moment, the emotion. I immerse myself in the sound and absorb the words, allowing the music to speak for me when I cannot. Music is a language of the heart and though we may speak it inadequately, we can still thrill in the connection it provides. I no longer attempt to adapt to a culture, a peer group, or my parents' expectations for me. Instead I simply listen and as I listen I search for me in the song. I always find a snapshot.

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