Good Fucking Music

When I work the closing shift at my store, I have the glorious distinction of being able to pick the music we play.

My store is 25,000 square feet big, split across two very open stories and replete with wide glass windows, mixed-media artwork, and a grand staircase, so it is kind of the highlight of my week. And if you’re judging me for that, clearly you’ve never gotten to throw together a playlist or pick your favorite album and blast it under such colossal, strangely deserted circumstances.

It’s pure gold.

This evening’s choice was the Lumineers album Cleopatra. One of my friends pointed out that I’m about a year behind on this one, but I’ll tell you one thing for sure – that’s not stopping this album from changing my life. I threw down the windows on my drive in on this blue skied, sixty-five degree Sunday afternoon and blasted Sleep on the Floor and my skin was on fire with feeling. It lit up just the same when the first few notes echoed across the sales floor promptly at close.

And it struck me in both those moments, so powerfully, just how goddamn grateful I am for good music.

Good music has brought a very necessary sense of surety to almost every major life decision I’ve ever made. The power of the songs of those moments was so naturally imbued, their presence so prescient, that I couldn’t even say how or when it started happening. Does a soul-moving song utterly validate whatever I’ve decided because that’s how the universe works? Or is it because I’ve been watching films perfect the very art form of emotional soundtrack-based crescendos since childhood? I mean, maybe Marie Antoinette and Elizabeth I did feel music the same bone-deep way I do. Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette certainly sways me that way: I passionately espouse the glories of that film on the regular, but my without-a-doubt favorite aspect of it is how accessible I found the eponymous, centuries past queen to be because of the soundtrack. (Even the disc is fucking relatable. It’s this stunning  splash of plugged-in pink that totally would have tracks from The Strokes, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Vivaldi on it.)  Yes, historically I don’t have a lot in common with Marie Antoinette – or Elizabeth I – but the vivid picture of either reigning queen looking out over a sunrise while listening to New Order or Windsor for the Derby lines my soul up right next to theirs.

Music, whether it’s being read or listened to (look at that handy little parallel), is the strongest universal language we’ve got, and I think that maybe that might be from where it draws so much of its power. But even though I will truly never understand why music singes my skin or makes my cares weightless in the most absolute way, I know that it is my favorite sensation in this entire world. Even now, I’m listening to that Lumineers album again, and I cannot help feeling perfect. Like life’s lining up. Like no matter what’s coming up next – this week, this month, whenever – I can handle it. Because that’s what music makes you feel: like you can do anything. If you’ve found that one song, you’re at least doing something right.

So that’s what I’ve got for you right now. If you don’t know what you’re doing – or even if you do – take the time to find a soundtrack for that moment. Ask your friends for suggestions. Dig around on the internet. Stretch your tastes. Because there’s one thing you can’t have too much of on this big old planet, and that, my friends, is good fucking music. 

 

 

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