Music, recently

Girl singing

Female vocals is one of those things Pandora has learned to give me. It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

Music is not a big part of my life. By contemporary standards it probably never was – a lot of people seem to be really into music and consider it an important part of their life. Some have music running almost all the time, but this may be to drown the sound of the voices in their head (or heart). With me, it is more like the voices are already singing, so I don’t need exterior music. I know I played a lot more before, but it has tapered off gradually. I am not sure when and how this began.

But sometimes I have bouts of listening to music anyway. It could be to flush out an earworm, or to set the mood for a particular piece of writing. Music is great for setting moods. Often then my listening is playing the same song over and over several times, sometimes for hours.

As such, I appreciate the music streaming service Spotify. It lets me listen to a dozen different versions of Carrickfergus without having to buy a dozen CDs where I’d listen to only one of the tracks, and then put them in a plastic bag for the next 20 years. That’s not quite what I did before, but pretty close. There were many CDs that I bought for only one or two tracks. I have thrown away almost all my CDs now, as previously reported, keeping the Japanese but ridding myself of the American and European. I hope one day I will be able to stream Japanese (and preferably also Thai) music. Until then, there is YouTube.

Oh, and I am not kidding about Carrickfergus. It is not an exact representation of how I feel personally, obviously! But the nostalgia is very beautiful to me. I particularly love the version by Orla Fallon. Her beautiful voice soothes the pain in the lyrics. If you have Spotify, you can hear it here.

That was actually the version I discovered when listening to my Enya station on Pandora once. Pandora is far superior when it comes to find good songs for me. It seems that all the other “radio” style streaming services (where you can’t pick your own songs) uses association by crowdsourcing: “People who liked X, also liked Y”. This probably works fine for most humans, who are not very unique. But I am no longer like that. As Confucius said: “By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart.” That is to say, very different. As you can see, that has certainly happened to me. My tastes are, as they say these days, eclectic. Pandora instead uses qualities of the actual song: The type of harmonies, vocals, degrees of variation in pitch or loudness, speed. Therefore, since my brain is pretty much the same from day to day, I am likely to like the same type of music. (Although bad lyrics can ruin it and good lyrics can make it fantastic.)


Another song I discovered in the exact same way, listening to Pandora, has also seen a lot of playing over the last few days. As it happens, it is also kind of sad, or perhaps that is just in my mind. The lyrics certainly seem very optimistic, but there is just something about it that tells me “that is not how it actually ended”. Probably because the song supposedly was from the end of the movie Prince Caspian. Yes, The Call by Regina Spektor. Here it is on Spotify. Or you could watch it illegally on YouTube, I guess.

When I heard this song, I immediately thought not of Prince Caspian but of Dog Days, the anime I mentioned recently. It is about a boy who is summoned as a hero to a magical world where people have animal traits (dogs in the country he arrives in, thus the title). After he has become good friends (and perhaps a little more) with several of the people there, it is discovered that once he returns to Earth, he can never come back. In the end, however, a way is found around this because of his extraordinary generosity, that caused him to give away various of his belongings before leaving.

But as I listened to the song repeatedly, it grew into a story of its own, with only the most tangential similarity to Dog Days. The story turned out to be my second novel about Oktagonien, the imaginary “niece world” from last year’s NaNoWriMo. Well, I actually only wrote a few thousand words of it, since 1) I am writing a very different novel for JulNoWriMo, and 2) the squirrel was too sexy. (Don’t think too much about that.)

Anyway, that’s some of my music recently. It probably says something profound about me. Although I don’t feel as sad as these songs. That would be pretty sad, I guess. But they are still beautiful.


2 thoughts on “Music, recently

  1. Sorry . . . “flush out an earworm”?!?! Eek! I hope that is some Scandinavian idiom of which I’m not aware!

  2. Earworms are pieces of music stuck in the brain. It is, I believe, a German and English expression. We don’t actually have the same phrase in Norwegian as far as I know.

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