I read a blog post recently that left me pretty confused. The blogger was worrying that, by giving her friend her iPod to use, she was exposing too much of herself to her friend. The song lists she’d made (she felt) were too personal, too intimate.
I’m not sure how a song list could expose too much of yourself, since songs are largely written by other people and you’re using their words and music to cultivate certain feelings in yourself. Songwriters . . . yes, I can see how a song could be too intimate for them to let other people see it. If it’s a good song, though, they’re going to probably use it anyway. Artists are a subset of the “oldest profession” . . . if you know what I mean. 😉
I suppose that your feelings could be too secret to be exposed. If you’re listening to a playlist named after your spouse or significant other and it’s filled with the ANTI- VALENTINE’S DAY PLAYLIST songs, well . . . we’re going to get a pretty detailed picture of what we suppose your feelings are about that person. Maybe you love the songs for some ironic reason related to your courtship, but it seems pretty likely that you’re just REALLY pissed off at them right now.
The usual songs that we treasure as part of our courtships, though, are usually pretty mundane– the music that was playing on the radio at that time, music from a jukebox (for the older folks), the song that was playing at the dance or party, the cd you had playing non-stop in your car that month. The music that speaks to me about my husband is from the early 1990s as a simple result of that being the time period where we fell in love. I still can’t listen to Chris Isaak without thinking about my hubs. There are other songs layered on top of those, meaningful songs to us, but what would it say about me if you knew the titles? Knowing that he introduced me to Audioslave through “Be Yourself” doesn’t tell you what was happening at the time any more than knowing that I was often wearing those annoying little shrug sweaters that were so “in” in 2005.
So I make my playlists public, and I don’t usually worry that anyone will glean anything important from it. There are so many songs stuck in my head– my kids complain that I can sing a different song for every possible topic they mention. And I do, which is the annoying part.
But my life is marked by the musical boundaries of the time period I lived in. I’ve been singing the Paul McCartney/Michael Jackson duet “Say Say Say” over the past few days. I don’t like either artist, I don’t like the song, but the stupid thing wore a groove into my brain because my mom played it for a month straight when I was 10 and she was having her turning-30 crisis. I’m sure that my kids will have the same thing happen to them when they get older. Already, the baby thinks that Audioslave is lullaby music, not rock music. He hears the songs and ZONK, he’s asleep, because I listened to it constantly when he was a babe in arms.
I’m not afraid that I’m too transparent through my musical choices. My writing . . . now that’s a different matter. 🙂