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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Wipeout, Anybody?

No doubt because of some evolving difficult circumstances in my personal life, recent weeks have found me emotionally raw. The most noticeable manifestation of my rawness has been how easily I've found myself triggered by passages in books, scenes in films and especially, penetrating song lyrics. When you are feeling raw, what are some things that can trigger an outsized emotional response from you?

So it was on a recent drive - with a Pandora station I call "Tunesmiths" playing - that Dan Fogelberg's  moving tribute to his father, Leader of the Band, delivered the first blow. And I might have recovered from the mournful closing horn interlude in that tune had Jackson Browne's Sky Blue and Black not immediately followed. As Browne repeatedly wailed "...that's the way love is, that's the way love is...sky blue and black"  in the coda, my composure began slipping.

When the often cryptic Bob Dylan came next, I thought I'd escaped. Alas, I'd temporarily forgotten the evocative final rhyming couplet preceding Bob's refrain: "I'll see you in the skies above, in the tall grass, in the ones I love; you're gonna make me lonesome when you go." The moment Dylan warbled that lyric, I pulled off the road. 

Although long ago I reconciled myself to having an emotional temperament, recent events like what happened on that drive have persuaded me it might be wise to concentrate on instrumental music, at least, for a while anyway. 


6 comments:

  1. One hundred years to live does that to me every time.

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    1. Kim; Great song for a good cry; thanks for comment.

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  2. I find that I can get fairly emotional listening to music or watching certain films. And it usually takes greater effort to hold back the emotions. Which, for whatever the reason(s) is/are at the time, I do make the effort and not 'let it go' ... so to speak. But there is always the great feeling of relief when I do allow myself that 'emotional moment'.
    An interesting thing happened as I was writing this comment. I was also checking my e-mail and I received something from a theater site I subscribe to called 'All Arts'. And in this e-mail newsletter they sent a link to a list of Broadway show tunes for 'when you need a good cathartic cry'. It's like they were waiting for your blog post, Pat.

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  3. RRGRMG; Thanks (again) for your comment. I'm afraid I'm not as controlled as you are when these moments occur, and especially not these days with all that's going on in my life. Also, re the coincidence of you receiving that "...cathartic cry..." notice. This sort of thing happens quite often. Most recently, in a post I published on Aug 17 (called "Is It Safe?") I speculated about the potential tension George Conway's involvement in the Lincoln Project might be having on his marriage to Kellyanne Conway, one of the tweeter-in-chief's longtime advisers. Two or three days after I published that post, she resigned. I wondered at the time if perhaps George and Kellyanne had read my post just as you wondered above about that e-mail newsletter. Ha!

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  4. Good observation on the interplay between lyrical and musical material and emotional response. I often play a game of emotional chicken with myself where I dare myself to listen to songs that I know have a personal historical resonance which can involve a painful reliving of or longing for a time gone by which can never return. With a little luck and humility I usually make it through a listening with a renewed appreciation for the original artistry that made me love it the first time a long time ago. However sometimes, I will freely admit, I don't escape unscathed. Example: After John Prine's passing this year, I re-listened to "Sam Stone" from his first album and it brought me right back to that time in my life and with all of it's joys and pains. Yes, sometimes instrumentals are a blessing. Thank you Jeff Beck.

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    1. Steve; Interesting that you cited John Prine. His song "Hello in There" is an example of a song that literally changed the way I look at the world. Ever since I heard Bette Midler's cover of that tune (from her first album), I've made a point to say hello to people older than I.

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