Thursday, January 24, 2008

 

Soundtrack

When I watch a movie, I pay special attention to the soundtrack. I love the idea of a soundtrack, music beneath what's going on in a movie. When done well, it can heighten the emotion of the scene and make it more memorable.

I often view my life as something of a movie. Part of it's the business I'm in, part of it is just the age I was born in. Whatever it is, there's been a definite soundtrack to my life. Sometimes songs were in the background, sometimes at the forefront, practically narrating what was going on in my life at the time.

An old girlfriend, let's call her 2C decided that we needed a song, an our song. I wasn't against having a song, I liked the idea. She wanted to pick one, though, and that seemed pretty stupid to me. You don't choose your song, your song just sort of happens. She insisted, so I started suggesting strange stuff like "A" by Barenaked Ladies.

She kept shooting down my suggestions as too obscure. She wanted something that we could possibly hear on the radio and think of each other when we heard it. It all seemed a little contrived to me. A song like that just sort of happens. It's really cool when it does, but you just can't force it.

She eventually chose Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight" to be our song. A song that I always sort of liked, but when we broke up, hearing "Wonderful Tonight" wouldn't bring me to tears. It being our song was completely artificial and it has no effect on me. The last time I heard it was when someone did a poor karaoke version of it. I laughed and kissed la G├╝era.

There is a song that always make me think of 2C though, it's "Labor of Love" by Robert Cray. I was alone and thinking of how she wasn't worth all of the trouble she was causing me. I was listening to Robert Cray and when "Labor of Love" came on, it was one of those movie moments, the one where it all comes together for the hero and he can suddenly see:

I'm awake late at night
An emotional fool
Making vows to myself that I can't keep

Another know it all, lonesome man of the world
Who can't stop crying himself to sleep

If push comes to shove
Seems like this labor of love
Is just too much work for me


It's amazing when the words of someone else's song dovetails so nicely with what your thinking at the time. It's pretty powerful, in this case it prompted me to action.

As much as I'd like to, I've never met Robert Cray. The closest I've ever been to him was at a blues festival. I don't know Robert Cray and he certainly doesn't know me. He's been in relationships and I've been in relationships, we have that in common. He's undoubtedly had some of the same feelings that I have.

I do know Shawn Bitz of Abby Someone who wrote one of my favorite relationship lyrics ever:

If it was easy everybody'd be hangin' out with love
Might seem simple but I gotta admit I messed it up enough
I feel like hiding away and I could really use a shove
I've been cut before


And maybe an even better lyric from the same song:

She ain't shy, but she's careful what she'll take
Got her foot on the gas, while she's tapping on the brake


"Diamond" was the first song I learned to play after moving to Cheyenne. I played it once at an open mic in Ft. Collins, but there was one time I played it for someone in my apartment. It was very fitting for her in her life at that moment. It was kind of fitting for myself as well. Let's call the woman TYA (updated from FYA and HBBA quite a bit before that) and try not to talk about her again.

I guess what inspired this post in particular was listening to the music of Joe Bucholz and realizing how two of his songs played a pivotal role in two of my relationships, but in different ways. "Next Girlfriend Song" eased me into my current relationship with [a woman], "It's a Little Complicated" reminded me how, well, how complicated relationships can be and I passed it on to the person causing the complication. Sometimes the soundtrack has an agenda.

As cool as it is when someone writes something that fits what's going on in your life, it's much cooler when you write your own soundtrack. Remember 2C? She was the subject of "Two Condoms":

All day long I wear two condoms
'Cuz your virtue is untrue
Then I whip one off and fell like a wild man
When I'm with you


BOJ

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