Our lives seem to have soundtracks. Mine does. And different situations have their theme songs. I came of age during the renaissance of rock and roll, and that is still my emotional home. I like a song that says let’s party, dance, get stoned, make love, and fight the power. Soul and funk would be the exact middle of my taste. And I’ve always felt the Beatles were communicating directly with me.
So, I’m like millions of others. But that’s what makes art work, isn’t it, the sensation that the song is specifically about us. It’s my hand John Lennon wants to hold. And yours. And yours
I recently was going through a very difficult work related situation. I’d tell the cosmos—send me a message through the car radio. The gist of it was—pray we don’t get fooled again. Over and over. Let me just say I never ignore a cosmic message via rock and roll.
Now, in this current time of social crisis, I find my own sound track reassuring. I listen to Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” for the inspiration it gave me the first time I ever heard it. I’ve kept up with the times enough so that I hear Lady Gaga belting “Born This Way” when I need to stand up for myself. Coming of age in the sixties, love and sex and rebellion have always been entwined in my mind. Romantic love—erotic energy—is almost always opposed to totalitarianism. I was thirteen when I first heard a recording of Gracie Slick singing “Somebody to Love.” Literally every hair on my body stood up. Something…something…was out there calling to me. Turns out, it was freedom.
A few months ago I was thinking idly that if it wasn’t for the blues and soul and funk I don’t know how I could have stayed alive all these years, endured. You can’t really say thank you to something as big as music, but today might be the time to try.
And I found this recently scrawled in my handwriting on the last page of an otherwise blank notebook:
even the dumbest
songs of my youth.