21 September 2006

Slow Dancing, Swaying to the Music

Music. Although it is cliche, it really is the soundtrack of life. It has more power than it should, transporting you to a place in time, forever seared in your memory. When I hear Doo Wop (That Thing) by Lauryn Hill, I am immediately back in the cafe in Venice, Aussie boy by my side, other hostel mate swaying and singing aloud. I hear Duerme Conmigo by Jarabe del Palo, and boom, I am in Reyes' class, her yelling and me and Rafa for giggling while she is trying to talk. Humpty Dance? In Penny's rec room with my 8th grade class, actually doing the Humpty Dance in a big dance circle.

Music can also set the mood. It can set the party mood, the Celebration (Kool in the Gang- every A's win). Shout...gets the wedding going. Anything by Maxwell...well, that sets a different kind of mood.

I thought of this today while listening to Jeff Buckley. Talk about mood setting music. Listening to his "Grace" album, it was definitely put together in a way to set the pace for a dark encounter on a steamy night.

I never thought of music this way until college. Supposedly, a friend of a friend took a women's study class at Berzerkely. Supposedly, in this class, the teacher evaluated the song Satellite by Dave Matthews Band (the original version on the Remember Two Things album, not the remastered one). And, supposedly the teacher said this song is supposed to imitate a sexual encounter - the foreplay, the climax, the afterglow. (must be a very quick encounter, though...that song clicks in at less than 5 minutes)

So that theory popped into my head today as I was listening to Grace. The whole album is set in that same way. There is a kind of melodic intro, followed by a quickening of the pace, the beautiful climax in Hallelujah, the tender cuddle, then it starts again. It is a brilliant and completely dirty way of thinking of this album, which is at once beautiful and haunting. There is a big of melancholy in it, as well, a tinge of regret, a feeling of this is the last time. It is perfectly succinct, the perfect accompaniment.

Isn't that the way most encounters are? Even in the most stable of relationships, everything can be the last. And when you are in that moment, all you want to do is hang on to it; once it is over, there is the melancholy that follows feeling so good. And then soon, it passes, and you are left with the sweet memory and new possibilities. It is at once beautiful and haunting.

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