I keep thinking about the music in my brain–and keep remembering songs (because they’ve pushed themselves to the front of my consciousness again) that I meant to list in my earlier post, Singin’ in the Brain; what good’s a list if it’s not comprehensive? So, herewith further thoughts:
I’ve had one or another of the songs from Les Miserables meandering through my head for a couple of weeks now. This has nothing in particular to do with the quality of the movie or of the show (I’m fond of it. I once heard the director of the professional theater program here at Pretty Good U dismiss it as manipulative minor-chord drivel. Apparently I don’t feel the need to agree with him about everything. Crow was miscast, everybody else was really good.) Les Miz isn’t the issue here, though. The soundtrack in my head is.
I’d really love it to be meaningful. I’d love to be able to use it as a sort of constant diviner of my spiritual/emotional/situational state, but I have concluded, sadly, that it is an imperfect guide, at best. Some of it is so clearly a product of What’s Going On. Otherwise we’d have to search really hard to find meaning in the fact that I spent several insomniac nights in December waking up every hour with the theme song to Doc McStuffins stuck in my head. Just as in October, when I was haunted day and night by the theme song to Thomas the Tank Engine, Doc McStuffins was a clear function of my grandson’s video-obsession-du-jour. The song from Daniel Tiger’s World is currently worming its way into my brain. Glrrrphhh.
Other songs have somewhat more idiosyncratic connections. There is something about the rhythm of playing Spider Solitaire that, for years now, pulls up “Ease on Down the Road” from The Wiz and I hum it helplessly when I play, which I have, by times, done way too much of.
But much of the music running through my head is pretty easily predictable–at least in terms of what makes sense as part of my internal music library–melodies from Bach or Handel or Purcell, hymns I’m fond of (or loathe), and a longish list of charmingly random pop and folk songs from the 60s and 70s. But mostly I suspect that there is some correlation between the rhythm of whatever I’m doing, if it involves movement, and whatever bit of music crops up–at least initially. Sometimes there’s a conversational key. Mostly not. I sing to myself in all kinds of emotional and situational weather–pretty normal human behavior. I have, now and again, used my mother’s assertion about my singing indicating happiness to convince myself to be less grumped: I’m singing, so I must not be as pissy as I thought. It works sometimes. Not bad.
Of course, I wouldn’t need the soundtrack-as-gauge if I were better at reading my own internal weather. That’s where my husband’s especially useful. Apparently my face is an open, neon-printed book to him. Meanwhile, I expect that I’ll have bits and pieces of Les Miserables making frequent appearances for a while longer. It’s never “I Dreamed a Dream,” thank heaven. It’s mostly “Do You Hear the People Sing.” I’ve always been a sucker for an anthem (especially of the non-national sort). Sometimes “Bring Him Home” tries to hold me for a while, but I tend to actively suppress that one, unless I need a good cry. Once the French pop-opera resettles back in the attic, I expect I’ll go back to random selections from the Brandenberg concerti and The Beach Boys. And Stan Rodgers. Why it’s almost never any of the small list of songs I have persuaded my ADD-ridden brain to retain (“A Maid that’s Deep in Love,” The Marvelous Toy,” “Twisted,” “Maddy Groves,” “Hard Times,”Punky’s Dilemma,” “Come My Way, My Truth, My Life,” “Jerusalem,”that’s pretty much the whole pathetic list) I will never understand.
Oh, yes, and for some reason one of the most frequent visitors along with the Daniel Boone song I mentioned before is the theme song (by George M. Cohan) from Harrigan & Son, which was a sitcom about a father and son team of lawyers that ran before The Flintstones (tv scheduling used to be even weirder…) in 1961. The elder Harrigan made jokes in Latin. That is probably my other most frequent soundtrack. Which is maybe a little weird. I was 7. Of course, I did end up married to a man who loves a good Latin joke. I suppose there might be some sort of line there…