Wednesday, June 27, 2012

In Your Wildest Dreams

Sometimes, even often, beautiful songs become so ubiquitous that we forget what they truly sound like, or have to tell us. I blame lite rock stations. With the overplay of easy listening, adult contemporary, lite sounds--whatever you want to call it--some gorgeous music gets turned to brain mush.

Think of Stevie Wonder. The Beach Boys. Elton John. Amazing songwriters and musicians whose music is harmless enough to play in the office, but still powerful enough to make you stop in your tracks as you ponder the creation of such heartbreaking harmonies and lyrics.

This morning I went for my run with O through the cemetery, and as we rounded a curve we caught up with our deer. And its fawn. They were literally scampering around the well-manicured lawns, chasing each other and playing tag. But then the adult saw me and stopped. So we stopped and just looked, waiting. The fawn was still scampering, darting towards its parent then darting back. The big deer wasn't so sure about us, so we started up again, saying our gentle goodbyes as it watched.

But then a convergence of music and placement and happenstance caught up with me.  Our deer. Right up the hill from Calla's spot. Pushing my big almost-20-month-old boy. Listening to a song that just made sense. A song that I would have been embarrassed to admit I liked in high school, that's how uncool it seemed. It all fit together just right. And as desperately as I'm trying to find the words to capture the beauty and pain and just perfection of that moment, I can't. But maybe if you listen to this relegated-to-lite-rock song you'll hear it.

Granted, not every word of this song applies. "Our bodies felt the morning dew?" Not so much. But. "I wonder if you know, I wonder if you think about me . . . " Magical thinking, yes. Nothing wrong with a little indulgence now and then.

(Just one more song that needs to be redeemed. Maybe it already has been, you know, from Garden State. But some of these songs need to be pulled out of soft-rock hell.)

**Full disclosure: while I do not, regularly, listen to soft-rock, I do like many of the songs on those stations. It's the Celine Dion that kills it for me, truth be told.


  1. Mary Beth... there's nothing wrong with "soft rock" or Adult contemporary or whatever other label one might with to attach to music that tells a story and expresses emotion. PLEASE however don't compare real heartfelt music like Stevie's or Moody Blues or any of the other past greats, to todays "factory produced" Amer-Idol sounds. It's just melodramatic imitations.

  2. Loved this and adding another "um, ok?" to the comment above!

  3. Music is funny like that. Sometimes it seems like it would be appropriate to have life soundtracks. I think it is all about timing. Hearing the right music at the right time. Sometimes the words, sometimes it is the music, sometimes it is the feeling that we get from hearing it or the memory it invokes.
    I know since Camille's death, words in songs seem to have much more meaning. At one point Soft rock was current and we grew up on it and it was part of the soundtrack to some of our lives. Regardless of if we had the album or not it can invoke feelings and thoughts and memories that need no explanation to outside individuals. Music can be so personal. thank you for sharing your moment. I love moments like that. Where you feel so filled by that moment with that music with that feeling. Those moments are kinda magical.

  4. Those moments of convergence can be really emotionally overwhelming when they happen unexpectedly like that. I have songs that I don't readily admit to that make me well up with emotion when I hear them. This song is not one of them. I unashamedly sing this loudly when it comes on the radio (not that I listen to soft rock stations either but, you know, at random times).

  5. Ah...Garden State...

    Music is a vista all its own, one I rather (very) obsessively coach the small people here to tune in, daily.

    No rest until, within a few notes, they can parse Geddy Lee from Elton from James Taylor from G&R from Simon & Garfunkel - and on. It's a favorite game - calling out the singer/song before anyone else nails it, no matter where we are.

    I love your stories and music-mingling life, Mary Beth.

    Cathy in Missouri

  6. I came here and read this post. Thought 'Um, OK? Mike?' Then I obviously never wrote anything further!

    'Extraordinary how potent cheap music is' as Noel Coward wrote. Many, many songs have been redeemed for me by the twins. Songs I would have hated (or said that I hated and only loved in secret) now seem acceptable. Sweet.

    And sometimes, to me, it isn't cheap. We've just heard some beautiful songs so often that they've been turned into brain mush. Sad.

    I'm glad that everything converged, I'm glad for the perfection and the beauty and I'm sorry for the pain x