New Wave Wednesdays will return next week at its regularly scheduled time. Today we bring you a special presentation…
Random Tunes – The Mind As A Musical Jukebox (Starring The Outfield Play Deep
How do our brains work? They can be loud when we want them to be quiet… and fuzzy when we need them to be sharp. We cram so much information into them, that sometimes it can be overwhelming.
As humans, we pride ourselves on the size and the complexity of our brains, but sometimes… don’t we wish that life was more basic… simpler?
I was watching a bird the other day, fascinated at the almost second nature of flying, gliding, soaring. I know it’s something that had to be learned, but still. A bird is born… it learns to eat… learns to find food and build a nest… but perhaps, somewhat magically, it learns to fly and it learns to sing. Walking outside and hearing nature’s orchestra is so soothing and remarkable… a symphony of chirps and whistles. And seeing a hawk catch a wave of wind and sail through the sky… effortlessly… majestically. No words.
How amazing would it be to dedicate so much of ourselves to flying and singing? I often think we should do more of that.
Thoughts… so many thoughts. The mind is an incredible thing, too. A file cabinet… a photography exhibit… a film house… and most definitely an mp3 player. Like a lot of things in my life right now, I have realized that my brain is cluttered. It is not coincidence that the same piles of papers and things that clutter my floors and tables, metaphorically do the same in my head.
So I am reading a lot. Not “self-help” books… I hate that term… But self-improvement… self empowerment. Books on Buddhism and meditation… philosophy and science. All designed to quiet my brain, make me more focused and present… and above all happier.
I honestly believe that things come to us when we need them most. Not physical things, necessarily… but a memory… an idea… someone randomly discussing a quote or a book they read, that in turn influences us immensely. There are no such things as coincidences… especially when our brain is putting out an SOS to the universe.
I was walking the dog the other day, when suddenly a tune started playing in my head. I knew it was The Outfield… but I was not 100% sure of the exact song. I mean, I heard the tune quite clearly, but only certain lyrics came to me, so I needed to get home and listen, to be sure which song it was that I was hearing.
“All The Love.” Not even their biggest hit. So how and why did that specific song… a tune I have not heard in a very long time, play so clearly and seemingly randomly on the musical jukebox that is very often my brain?
The opening lyrics are:
“I can’t believe
The things that happen to me
I guess that I should have seen
A long, long time ago.”
Okay… kind of profound. I can totally apply this to my life right now… but I don’t even remember listening to the lyrics that carefully even back in the day when I was pounding this record.
Songs pop into our heads all the time. Often there is a logical and explainable reason… Perhaps we walk by a house and overhear music playing… or a car sails by with its windows down and stereo on… giving us a little snippet… a sound byte that sets our mind on a musical journey. This wasn’t that. Not at all. This just came out of nowhere. So why this song, right now???
What tricks or trips the mind to pull something out that is so far in our past? Yes, I own the Play Deep CD. I still listen to a song from time to time, but I know it has been a while… and I would tend to hit the ones like “Your Love” and “Everytime You Cry” or even “61 Seconds.”
I have a few friends with photographic memory… It is a blessing and a curse… for them and me. I don’t have that gift or liability, depending on how you look at it. In fact, I have forgotten way too many things… and for that I am sad. Large chunks of some great times… are just gone. They come back in pieces, when someone triggers me with a story or a tale… but if I was asked on my own to describe certain things or events… Man. Not good.
I hope and pray that as I move towards a more peaceful brain and a happier place, that tensions will be released and memories will be restored. For me, it’s about clearing out the clutter… the grey… and getting back to the vibrant colors of Oz. No, I’m not tripping.
I know full well that certain songs can trigger memories… loves, lost and found… family… friends… good times, bad times… you know I’ve had my share…
I understand the need for songs to help us get through… or maybe even push us deeper. How a specific song soothes us… heals us… Musical therapy if you will. That all makes sense to me.
But a truly random selection… a song coming almost out of nowhere fascinates me… and yes, okay, perhaps frustrates me, too. I want to understand it more… I want to grasp it… I want to know who dropped the dime, spun that silver wheel around, flipped the cards from songs to songs… and then pushed those buttons at the diner to get that very specific tune playing at our table… my table… in my brain.
I’ve had days where tune after tune will start playing… literally like someone hit the shuffle on MyBrainPod. Bands and tracks with seemingly no connection. I starting writing the tunes down… hoping for a clue or a path to be revealed and illuminated. So far nothing… It’s just music I know and like… with an occasional, helpful lyric. But it’s very peculiar at times… or maybe I just have not yet been ready to receive the message… like Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.
So I look to the skies… have a pile of dimes… and will continue to feed the jukebox that is my mind. And if I find myself back at one of those great diners in New Jersey… sitting in one of my favorite booths… perhaps I’ll also order some baked manicotti… or a grilled Taylor ham on a Kaiser roll. Hey… food feeds the soul, too.