Elster's World

Thursday, August 18, 2005

At the beginning of my frightfully long commute home from work this evening, I frantically pulled the ipod from out of my bag and mainlined it in my ears like heroin through the veins of a junkie. Tonight's selection, classic stuff. The Beatles. I mean, who doesn't like The Beatles, right?

But it got me thinking. Why do I listen to music? Why does anyone listen to music? What is it about the sounds, the harmonies and the lyrics that grabs us and keeps us coming back? Why do some people take the soothing sounds of Miles Davis while other prefer the harsh crunch of Metallica?

I started listening to music in earnest in high school. Started with bands like The Beatles and moved into Zeppelin, Floyd and a host of others pretty soon thereafter. For me, music is about how it makes me feel. How it makes me fly, makes me soar, makes me sad. How it lets me be someone else even for just a few moments. It might be a John Lennon lyric which takes me away, it might be Jimmy Page's guitar solo on Achille's Last Stand. It could be the words to Fat Old Sun, which to me sums up all that is great about summer.

It's also why I could never get into other types of music. It never made me feel the same way. Classical, jazz, Jewish music, to me simply don't stack up.

People's musical tastes are generally a reflection of who they are. When I was younger, if you were a disaffected youth worth your salt, you listened to Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam. I don't know the modern day equivlant because I'm stuck in a 70's time warp. To each their own I say.

But music is a gift. For me anyway. In it I can lose myself from the loan documents I was reviewing and from my a-hole bosses. I can listen to the sounds and let them transport me somewhere far away.

That's what music does for me.


  • My commute to high school was at least a 1:30 each way. I remember once, on the way home, the van was driving up the Palisades and I was sick of the music I had on. Fumbling across different FM stations, I landed on something that was so astounding, I couldn't move. My feet were stiff on the floor of the van and I'm fairly certain I couldn't even blink. This lasted the full five or so minutes that the song went on for. When it was over, I had to shut my radio because I needed to allow it to sink in.
    The song was Hotel California.
    When I got home, I collected all my father's cds (The Eagles' Hell Freezes Over included) and have yet to return them. :)

    By Blogger BrownsvilleGirl, at 12:20 PM  

  • I got hooked on The Beatles and Zeppelin IV. From there it was all over. I still think no one compares to the Beatles, Zeppelin Floyd three headed monster but that's just me. Either way, for everyone it's different.

    Side note on Hotel Cally. I think I over-listened to that song. I cannot stand it anymore. My favorite Eagles tunes are Victim of Love, Desperado and Life in the Fast Lane.

    By Blogger Elster, at 12:25 PM  

  • It sounds like you're saying music is an escape from the real world. If so, why not try and make an escape in the real world from whatever you're avoiding (work or whatever)?

    By Blogger Josh, at 4:02 PM  

  • I do. I listen to music and I dream...

    By Blogger Elster, at 6:21 PM  

  • music serves as a soundtrack for me. definitely associate certain songs with certain moments, and still listen to everything that comes out, as well as the oldies. I am going to be one of those 75 year old guys who still has his finger on the music pulse...

    By Blogger MC Aryeh, at 12:27 AM  

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