For all that I have petulantly written about the death of music, whether it be a personal death inside of me or the death of the music industry as a whole, there are still so many things about music that I cannot deny – how it gets under your skin and you can feel it vibrating in your veins, how it roots you to the spot and wraps you up tight and keeps you warm, how it is the closest thing we have to something that is incontrovertibly mystical. I could say that certain things have moved me – love, or sadness, or being alive – but those are all a distillation of the same general feelings, and none can do what music does.
Can I explain it? Can anyone?
Of course, it has been explained. Scientifically, physiologically. I don’t want to know the details though.
Speaking of music’s magic just sounds trite but maybe that is because we have all felt it and balk at attempts to dissect it and classify it and file it away. But it is a magic we can feel every day and what a shame it is that sometimes we grow bored of it, as I have so many times. I do feel, though, that I need the boredom sometimes, that I need the reduction of music to some day-to-day minutiae born out of a years-long habit to have a melody playing in the background or something there to tell me the specifics of how I should be feeling.
I think that the main thing I am trying to say is this: Our sense of smell is our strongest tie to memory, but what has that brought me? The swirling of cigarette smoke on a chilly night and the golden waltz of shampoo particles in the air bring vivid memories of hurt, heartache, loss. Music has too, of course. But what I am saying is that certain smells do not conjure clear images of the profound quiet of a snowfall as it muffles the inconsequential sounds of our lives in white noise, and certain smells do not cause my nerves to sing out in unison of some unknown, indefatigable passion, and certain smells do not tug my heart alternately to the right and to the left.
Which is to say, I’d give up my definitive memories for the indefinite, sweeping nostalgia of music – my one great love, and yours too, I know.