Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Heavy on the Angst: Damn Pop Music

In high school, I ran across the video for Tori Amos' "Silent All These Years" on MTV (remember when they played music videos?) and I fell in love with the redheaded musician. To date she's the person I've seen most frequently in concert. Some of the concerts were way better than others. My opinion is that when it's just Tori and a piano, I leave happy. When there's a band, I hate it because they play so loudly I can't hear her. And lately she's been doing this screwy thing with her voice. I guess when you sing the same songs for 20 years, you'll do anything to make them different.

I remember working a Sunday alone at the North Suburban Library (it was closed on Sundays) and having that song on repeat while I danced around the library like some kind of Breakfast Club character when I needed a break from shelf reading (kind of like library inventory and spring cleaning).

"Sometimes I hear my voice, I hear my voice, and it's been here, silent all these years."

I have these moments when I get waist deep in considering the status quo of my existence. Is what I feel is good about my life really good, or is it settling? Have I become too comfortable in the life I've created? Am I being taken for granted? Am I living up to my potential? Is there really a connection between myself and the world around me and the people in my life? Is it real, or is it all my imagination? Why do I get so lonely, if I'm so social? Am I really social? Or do I just scratch the surface so I can point at the relationships as proof that I'm trying but not actually invest myself in them emotionally so it's easier to walk away? In other words, do I deliberately plant myself next to the door for a clean getaway? And really,  What is a friend?

And let's face it, John Cusack was right when he asked the question in High Fidelity, "Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"

I've never been any good at communicating negative emotion. Hell, I married someone so even keel that I knew confrontation was never going to be part of the equation. Sure we argue, but he never pushes those buttons. The ones that would drive me insane. It's a matter of trust that he knows what they are, but he stays clear. I'm always hoping he does it out of respect rather than fear. But it's a relationship based in reality and not in fantasy.

But listening to Tori always put things in perspective. Then along came LizFiona, Vanessa, and Sara... I'll even let Sarah McLachlan into the group, even though her interviews drive me crazy. The whole mess of them puts me in a kind of psychological funk.

Damn those amazing women and their pianos... But for the record that Ben Gibbard, he's not any help either.

This has to explain my leave of pop music for the last year in exchange for the loud noise that pumps through my iPod for workouts. It doesn't ask anything of me emotionally... It just helps me sweat a lot. But that probably makes me avoid-y on all kinds of fronts.

I think I need a Zach Braff break through.

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