Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Reunited (and it sounds so good)

"Music is what feelings sound like."
 ~Author Unknown

Last night, in the spirit of independence day, I liberated myself from a task that's been haunting me for a long time. I sorted through my mix cds.

Remember mix cd's? We used to make them before mp3 players so that we could listen to different artists without changing the disk in the player. We used to make them to share our favorites with people in our lives who we wanted to share our music with. We made them for road trips, for plane rides, for fridays in the park. They were like mix tapes, only so much better... they held more songs.. some up to as many as 20! Remember when 20 songs was a lot?

Alas, the world has caught up to even me. I recently dwindled down to the "essentials" on my iphone- a playlist of only 1487 songs. That was improvement- I had almost double that before.

But I've got to tell you, last night, listening through my mix cds, I considered dumping my itunes library and starting again.

I should clarify. I didn't just sort through them- I labeled each cd on each song with each artist. I set up a numbers document to catalogue them. I imported all the ones missing from my library. I threw out the cds that wouldn't play anymore. Now you can see why this shindig took me six hours. What makes this even better is the fact that after all my listening, I found that I'd really only listened to the same 200 songs over and over again.

But each of those songs took me back, and each one held more memories than I was prepared for. Skillet's "Forsaken" took me back to Autumn Blaze, a concert that I went to regularly in high school. "Stranger to the Rain," a heart felt ballad from the broadway show "Children of Eden" brought me back to one of my first solos on stage. Closing my eyes, Howie Day's "Collide" took me back to my first boyfriend, and the time we went to catch the sunrise and got caught in the rain. And "Prayer of the children" brought back the activist in me... it was like watching my life rebuild in slow motion to it's own soundtrack.

Music has always been special to me- I don't share my favorites with many people at all- sharing your listening is sharing your soul, and criticism comes off very personally. But it amazes me that songs I didn't share with the people they brought back to my mind. I suppose music has the power to embody relationships, with or without their permission.

But today, there are 97 fresh favorites that have somehow slipped through the cracks in the past years. I'm reconnected with them. And with those they represent. And even though it's a little painful to think about what I've lost, the memories feel like a warm blanket, wrapping me in the faces of days gone by.

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