Music Plays Me


My kitty, Mei-Mei, is never far away and especially loves to help me with the computer late at night. Honestly, she has this thing about playing with the cord on the earphones.  Sigh…

I’ve been thinking a lot about music lately. Thinking about how I push the button to start it up, but the reality is –> the music plays me…especially listening through headphones.  It pushes deep and satisfying  places in my brain. It plugs directly into my nervous system through my ears overwhelming my entire consciousness. Not only does it shut out the auditory world and distractions around me, but it focuses my attention. It pushes on places in my brain that have the power to make me move and steers my emotions. Sometimes in the silence afterwards, there is even a transitory effect of calm and serenity that feels like brain chemicals moving more synchronously and shoving hard against depression.

I keep listening to this Skrillex song, “Make It Bun Dem” (, retrieved 1.14.14). There is something about it that keeps me listening to it over and over. Am I the only one who does this?  When I feel strong attraction to a song, I can’t get enough of it. Only the presence of others who can hear me playing it is enough to make me stop. That is one of the appealing things about headphones…and cars…and being home alone.

If anyone could see the counts in my iTunes lists, they might be appalled.  A quick check just now reveals these high players on my recent favorites list: Too Close by Alex Clare,  Hayling by FC Kahuma, I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry, Superman by Five for Fighing, Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, Sweet Child of Mine by Guns N Roses,  When the Night Kills the Day by Monochrome Hearts,  Waste by Smashmouth and  Satellite by Smashmouth… but I won’t continue…and just so you know I skipped a few in there, too.  And I have to further qualify the list by saying that this is only since I had to move exclusively onto my laptop after a serious crash on my PC. Only a small portion of my music actually showed up here when I reauthorized iTunes. This short list is just where I’ve been sticking lately.

Can’t remember ever not loving music. Mainly I listen, but I used to play piano and guitar. Even wrote some of my own music when I was in highschool. Had a gorgeous Alvarez Yairi 12-string.  It eventually fell on the sacrificial fire of practical need and once it was gone, the making-music part of me went with it… down for the count. I was also in choirs and groups in the earlier parts of my life…could sing first soprano, though my voice has much less range and is quite unpracticed these days.  Ultimately, the listening has been an affirming richness in my life.  Music is waaaay up there with things that I would have trouble living without.

I will leave you with a song that is high on my list of true favorites. Every night Robert and I fall asleep listening to the same album. It is a Windham Hill anthology called Celtic Christmas III.  We started the fall-asleep-to-music thing early in our marriage. We started out listening to Windham Hill’s Bach Variations album and graduated from there to Celtic Christmas II. When III came out, we switched to that and have been listening to it ever since…probably 16 or 18 years….every night, sometimes playing it more than once if one of us is having trouble sleeping….that’s a really big count right there!

But of all the songs on that album, my absolute favorite is – “Black is the Color” by James McNally. It begins with wavering, chirring sounds like night creatures and the plaintive calling of a flute that mellows to rich and sultry low flute. There is a gradual gathering of more musical accompaniment and drums, at first like heart beats, until it builds to this gorgeous, sensuous presence. It can bring tears to my eyes. And it is gentle. And it is soothing. And it could hold you in the steadfastness of its measures.

“Black is the Color” by James McNally (, retrieved 1.15.14)

Sweet Dreams…


One thought on “Music Plays Me

  1. Greatly enjoyed the Monochrome Hearts song! Also, you’re not the only one who falls asleep to music; though mine changes more often than you and your husband’s does, I always have to have it playing. For a while, I was falling asleep to the television instead, but now I’m back to music again (it’s Coldplay’s Ghost Stories album currently).

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