Monday, November 05, 2012

Comfort Music

Sitting in a quiet cafe this morning, nearly lulled to sleep by the hum of the overhead flourescent lights, I put in a 70's music CD I had made several years ago. The soft rock music instantly changed the atmosphere in the cafe and improved my mood, wiping away the cobwebs from my mind. It dawned on me that this music from my childhood is as good as comfort food. Hence, I donned the term "comfort music."

Just like it's edible counterpart, the style of music depends on the individual. For me, it is the music that played on the car stereo, the transistor radio/Walkman or the intercomm system at our house while I was growing up. Yes, our house had a built-in intercomm system with an AM/FM radio tuner that we managed to break the first or second year we lived there. Still, that music, which ran the gamut from Motown to Folk to Rock, that provided the soundtrack to my adolescence is what I would call my "comfort music."




This morning it was "Summer Breeze" by Seals and Croft, "Listen To What The Man Says" by McCartney and "Old Days" by Chicago, just to name a few. Like I said, it was a homemade CD of 70's tunes that I either plucked from another CD of mine or from an MP3 download site. It is full of tunes, like the ones mentioned above, that take me back in time and make me feel at home. When played on a great sound system, they wrap me up like a warm, wooly blanket on a cold Indiana day. Some of them remind me of childhood trips to our cabin in Sullivan, IN. Others remind me of driving through downtown Indy on the way to Pee-Wee Football practice at Riverside Park, or through Broad Ripple and past the mansions on Meridian Street. Those are great memories and the radio hits of the 70's were my personal soundtrack.

Okay, before I start to sound like a late night Time-Life Music Collection infomercial, let me switch gears. I also love Smooth Jazz. That upbeat, modern "elevator music" serves as a great backdrop to any number of things from chores to making babies (not that I've ever actually helped in making one). The syncopated and groovy rhythms sometimes get me motivated or make me want to jump behind a drum kit. But when I'm really looking for inspiration, to do chores, projects or workout (not that I work out that often), I switch into what I call 99X gear, mixing up classic rock from the 70's-90's with some edgier, newer alternative rock. See, I'm a complex music lover. But back to my point, and the informercial, I find comfort in the music of my youth. Back in my days of innocence, it was Paul McCartney and Wings, Stevie Wonder. the Doobie Brothers and James Taylor who provided the soundtrack. I think what that music does today, besides transport me back in time, it reminds me of when life was a lot less complicated and anxiety-ridden. That's why I call it "comfort music."

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