Sunday, August 31, 2014

Homework Assignment: Music that Inspires


The Professor's homework assignment for August is "...to show us how songs or music inspire your dress, mood, art, writing, etc. "

Music has an enormous impact on my mood.  When I feel melancholy or lethargic, listening to upbeat music makes me feel better. Sometimes it's the type of music played at goth clubs, such as Covenant or VNV Nation. Sometimes it's '80s pop/rock. Yes, '80s music was so cheesy it would melt on pizza, but it was, like, totally perky. If your pulse doesn't quicken (for whatever reason) when you listen to Katrina and the Waves' "Walking on Sunshine," you might need medical attention. ;)


On the flip side, I find country music terribly depressing. One of my favorite thrift stores occasionally plays country music, and on those days, I can't enjoy shopping. After just a few minutes, I start to feel horrible and I have to leave.

Music is part of my daily life. Even when I am not listening to music, there is a soundtrack in my head, and the DJ picks music based on my subconscious. I will find a song running through my head, and I'll realize that it's related to my current situation or what I've just been thinking about. For example:
  • My dog began to choke, and I had to give her a doggie Heimlich maneuver. After she was okay and my adrenaline died down, I realized that in my head was a line from "Omen" by i:Scintilla which says "Please keep breathing."
  • I saw a cabinet that I thought might work for a vanity in my bathroom. I opened it to discover that it had a record player inside. Later I found DJ Subconscious was playing "You Spin Me Round" (... like a record, baby...).
  • I work with an email system called Majordomo. When I needed to pick a password, "Mr. Roboto" (Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto) popped into my head.
  • And of course, DJ Subconscious played Ashbury Heights' "Spiders" (I can't stand the spiders) after I walked through a web.
Anyone else have this happen?

Sometimes the connection is really obscure. The other day, I saw a guy on a Segway. Shortly after, I realized I had Weird Al Yankovic's "Eat It" in my head. Huh? The Segway triggered a memory of a video in which Al rides a Segway for a few seconds. I saw the video who-knows-how-long ago, and I didn't remember the song or how it went. So DJ Subconscious pulled up a Weird Al video/song that I did know: "Eat It."  (YouTube research has revealed the video was for "White and Nerdy.")


More random facts about music and me:

I don't like poetry, but I do like meaningful song lyrics. I used to write them on large pieces of black paper on my wall, which you can see in this photo.  (You can also see some of the 200+ CDs I had.)

When I get in my car to go somewhere, I often realize that the song in my head is the one I was listening to when I last got out of the car. It's like DJ Subconscious is picking up where I left off. This can happen even when I haven't driven anywhere in two or three days.

I can't fall asleep with music on. My brain continues trying to actively listen to the music and keeps me awake. The only exceptions are new age meditation-type music, which has no words, and for unknown reasons, Alice in Chains' "Jar of Flies." I discovered the latter unintentionally while lying in bed listening to the album.

Another accidental discovery: At their slower speed, the windshield wipers in my car move to the beat of Depeche Mode's "I Feel You." :D


I love to sing, but my voice is horrible. Thus I sing in the car, where I can turn up the music loud enough to drown myself out. :P

If you saw me singing in the car recently, it might have been one of these current favorite "car songs":
"The Bells" by i:Scintilla
"Ritual Noise" by Covenant
"Tight Rope" by Lacuna Coil
"Joyride" by Roxette
"This Corrosion" by The Sisters of Mercy

16 comments:

  1. Great choices! Now the question is, why didn't you choose the record player bathroom vanity? You could play records while having a shower ;-P

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    1. I agonized over the record player cabinet for a long while. It was the perfect size and height. But in the end, I couldn't justify taking the electronic guts out of such a cool old piece of furniture to make it a vanity. Hopefully it will find a good home with a record collector who will make good use of it. :)

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  2. I am also very influenced by music. In German we call your inner DJ an "Ohrwurm" (ear worm) and I seem to have them constantly playing music. And Walking on sunshine is one of my dirty pleasures, I heard this in the lab today about 30 times! ^^

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    1. I've heard the term "ear worm" here as well, though with a slightly different meaning. It's usually used to describe a song that gets stuck in one's head.

      I can't be still when "Walking on Sunshine" plays. I have to at least move my head or tap my feet. I hope I never hear it in the grocery store or mall because I will probably make a fool of myself in front of everyone. ;)

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  3. Currently I have Weird Al's "Foil" start playing in my head every time I wrap something in aluminium foil :/ I like the song, but it's getting annoying!

    I get the most inappropriate metal songs start playing in my head at work sometimes, and I swear it's some attempt of my subconscious to start me absently singing violent lyrics at completely the wrong moment (something I have so far avoided!) - and it's not because I'm annoyed at work, because I actually really like my job.

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    1. I get MC Hammer saying "Stop! Hammer time!" every time I pick up a hammer. :P (Thankfully that's less often now that I have a pneumatic nailer.)

      Ha ha... your subconscious wants you to rock out at your rockin' job! :D

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  4. Oh I love this post! Great music choices by the way, I love Ritual Noise by Covenant! The first song I ever heard from them was Bullet.

    My girlfriend was a music theatre major and I was a band student for many years. We almost always have something playing and from all genres (except country- she doesn't like country and I seem to only like it in February, not sure why that is). Anyway, we are also aspiring novelists and use music as a tool to help us set a scene in our heads and then write it.
    We also sing a lot too and I love it when we happen to be on the same brain wave and end up singing the same thing at the same time.

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    1. I can't recall what Covenant song I heard first ("Dead Stars" maybe?), but they quickly became a favorite.

      Sounds like you and your girlfriend have a lot in common. :) I suppose if you have to like country music for one month, February is the best choice as it's the shortest month. ;)

      (Country music fans, please note the wink and don't take me too seriously here.)

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  5. Yes, things in life do sometimes make song lyrics pop into my head but I can't think of any examples. Also getting lyrics stuck in my head can make it hard to fall asleep.

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    1. When a song gets stuck in my head, sometimes it's just one line over and over... which of course keeps me awake.

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  6. Ah, "Walking on Sunshine." The other day I was making dinner and listening to an 80s "college radio" station on Live 365. The song came on and I started to sing ... and sing ... and sing. My voice is awful, but the spaghetti didn't care. The dog and cat probably did since their ears are so much more sensitive than ours. HA!

    I have the same kinds of associations with smells/tastes and everyday occurrences. A smell can produce a memory or an occurrence can produce a smell and/or taste. It's really weird.

    Thanks for participating!

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    1. Ha ha! At least the dog didn't howl at you. ;)

      I sometimes have memory associations with smells or tastes. Memory is a fascinating thing!

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  7. I, too, am a car singer for the same reasons as you! I can't sing AT ALL and in the car I can both drown myself out and be assured that no one else will be tortured by the sound of my voice!

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    1. Ha ha! I feel the same. Forget the rack or the thumbscrews... thirty seconds of my singing, and any bad guy will confess. ;)

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  8. It's funny seeing 'Joyride' on your list, it really take me back :)

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    1. Back to the days when MTV actually played music videos! The video for "Joyride" was so '80s! :)

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