(Broken record, geddit? Ha, because you know, I’ve been wallowing)
You know what sucks about relationships ending, you know besides the obvious, crying in the shower, the doubting, the crippling fear of being alone forever and ever…*ahem* yeah…erm…music. Or more specifically the music you can’t listen to anymore. We’ve all experienced it, well I’m fairly sure we all have, otherwise this post is going to be hard for you to relate to.
There is music that to listen to would bring back a host of memories, music has that ability, like a good book to transport you to a specific time, place or conversation. Sometimes that place and conversation is a happy one, you could be walking on sunshine one minute or plumbing the depths of a dark place the next. When you share with someone a mutual appreciation of music, you go to those places with them, or you can imagine seeing them there, because like you they’ve got great taste (obviously not that great since they let you go). In short, music has the power to inspire, thrill or break you.
When your mutual appreciation of good music isn’t enough to keep the ‘you and the other’ together, there is a whole host of music you can’t listen to. That little known indie album you found, from a little known, barely emerging group? Forget it. That amazing album that could not only epitomise, but in fact render the 70’s legendary? Bah..put it down. The bands and music you introduced each other too? Nah..pick up your records and retreat to your own respective corners. Because behind every song there’s a story, not just a story, but multiple stories, each that will in fact remind you of everything you don’t want to be reminded of. Like a mix tape from hell.
And then there’s the tendency to wallow, to indulge in misery, listening to the Smiths and LaMontagne (no Adele, never Adele), which only serves to keep the perpetual cycle of misery and music, music and misery going. Are you miserable because you’re listening to that music, or are you listening to that music because you’re miserable? Course there’s always the possibility you’ll swing the other way, overcompensate and go to the truly dark side that is ‘artificial pop’, dancing with your hairbrush, whooing loudly at the songs that proclaim your emerging singledom with all the energy of a teenager overdosing on sugar and cupcakes.
Stop. Put down the Gaga records and take a step back. You’ll thank me in the end.
Of course there’s going to be music that’ll be painful to listen to, no doubt about it. There’s a song from the 90’s I loved as a teenager and had forgotten about in the intervening years. The ‘other’ managed to dig up and dedicate that song to me through some fateful, (un?)happy coincidence. It’ll be a long time before I can even hear the name of that song and not be transported to a memory of that.
The solution is to find a comfortable medium, a mix of songs, it’s ok to skip through your music player, swallow that lump in your throat and quietly move on.
But above all learn that the time will come when you can listen to those songs, ‘that song’ and it won’t be a painful memory that jolts you, but a bittersweet dull sort of ache, where the memory has faded, and though a new one might not have taken its place just yet…but you can see…you can see that other memories, other songs, other lives can be attached to ‘that song’ (Woah, how deep is that?)
I don’t remember the first message ‘we’ exchanged, and I’m a little glad for that…but I remember the song…for now.
I like Eddie Vedder’s take on it all…the process has already started.