The Universal Language

People who make music have always amazed me. I have wanted to be one of them for as long as I can remember. Alas, I do not have a lick of musical talent nor the patience to overcome the lack of talent. Over the years I have tried to learn five or six different instruments. From guitar to bass to trombone to ukulele and everything in between. These people that can pick up any instrument and just start playing seem like gods to me. They are usually long haired, smelly, hippie gods, but gods none the less. In my daily life I listen to music probably six to eight hours a day. You kids out there may not think that is much; but as an adult with a wife, kids, and a full time job, doing anything from six to eight hours a day could be deemed excessive.

To me, I don’t feel that my brain is functioning right if there is no music in the background, it sets the pace, the mood for whatever I am working on. Character development or storytelling? Put on alt-country or acoustic punk, something with soul and strings that tells a story.  Action scenes, 70s British punk or 80s/90s skate punk. World building? Classic Jazz. Spreadsheets for my day job? Just about anything to keep the brain from locking up. Financial Models or Work Orders? That needs a little faster mood. Maybe some red dirt country. Project Plans? Folk. There is a genre for everything, and if you are ever in doubt put on David Bowie, he can solve anything.

As I write this I am listening to Spotify’s Your Discover Weekly channel and have heard songs from The Lawrence Arms, John Hiatt, and the Reverend Horton Heat to name a few. So how did I get on this topic? A few weeks ago, I was reading in bed and had music on in the background. My wife came in and asked how I was able to read with music playing. Now, I was fast approaching sleep, so I made nothing of it at the time, but it stuck in the back of my brain. In the past few weeks I’ve noticed that she almost never listens to music. Some of my observations, cooking: she had NPR news playing on the Alexa. Cleaning: she had an audiobook on. Reading: silence, she had no background noise going at all. Help me, I am pretty sure I married an alien. She claims she likes music, but whenever she puts something on it’s either classic rock or a pop station. Classic rock is ok at times, but Pop? That is exactly what an alien spy would do, pick the most bland and generic genre possible to appeal to the masses, insidious.

I’m only joking about the alien part, however, that would explain a lot… Really, I don’t get how people can be ok without background noise of some kind. I know I tell my kids that I need quiet, but quiet means they aren’t yelling. True silence only seems to encourage my brain to bring up topics we are better off without discussing or reliving.

How about you readers? What are your music habits? What music inspires you?