Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Make out music and other memories

Music.. it just is such a huge part of my life.  I wake up every day and first thing I do is come downstairs and think of what song to start the day with. It could be the weather, mood, day of the week, or just because inspired. Sometimes the song is mediocre, the band way too commercial to be taken seriously by my many music purist friends, and yet there could be a beat or a lyric that just grabs me and speaks to me.

I grew up in a house with music.  My Dad was the master of collecting records, big fan of many kinds of music including good old fashioned rock and roll and jazz.  This was not as common as you would think in an Eastern bloc country who hated those Western imperialist ways.  I remember gatherings in our house from an early age with traditional Romanian ballads (there is one that makes my mother weep to this day called in traslation "why did I ever meet you"...talk about heart ache lyrics with music to make your remember that lover that just branded the heart and bid you goodbye) and music that was upbeat.  They were songs that often were from before their time but they spoke to my parents and their friends about a Romania that was no more.  Glasses were raised, songs were sung along with and they brought music to the darkness that Communism could not dull in them.  Romanians are by far a party loving people...often said to have a $1 in their pocket and spend $2 to have a good time.

In America the possibility for records was endless for my Dad.  The sound system was more than they could afford, the parties with their fellow Romanian ex-pats to same ballads as they had before, glasses still raised, voices singing along, happy and sad tears for the country they left behind, the people they left behind and a touch of bitterness in a lot of these songs for the government that made them leave. There were a selection of  American and lots of Italian, sprinkle of French, albums.  My second Mom, my mother's best friend who I adopted, a huge music afficinado who shared music with my father and who taught him mixed tapes like no DJ can touch (she and I still exchange CDs).  This is back in the day when I had to not talk when he was making a tape, before the system could record without background noise, the time when he inserted pauses on the tapes between songs.  I remember records spread all around as he made a tape with music that had balance between up beat and mellow music.  He was the hit of all parties, bringing these tapes with him and dancing with all the ladies until the morning light. There was music for us kids in the basement of my friend's house in New Jersey (and some nasty shampoo bottle bootleg booze that I brought in - gagged just remembering that) and in our rooms. For my mother who enjoyed this there was also opera... with it's stories and music that somehow she just got absorbed in, she also has a decent voice so I could hear her often singing along.

Music was what I woke up to, from AM to FM radio, what I came home to and what I so dramatically danced around the house too.  It was what my Dad and I did on many a weekend, walking around the corner to a small record store on Steinway Street and me buying my first 45s there because I only had enough for that for a while. Family road trips, whether to the beaches at Jones Beach or Florida, where full of music from the radio and his 8 track. 

There is very little much music I do not like. There are the love songs, that I sang about the boys I liked, that I danced with the boys I liked with to (ahh Adrian my 8th grade crush...if you only knew what a pleasure it was to take off those painful heels so that when we danced I didn't tower over you to "Reunited" at our prom).  The number of times I wore out a record  (Keep on Loving You may have been the first, Scorpions Still Loving You for sure in high school).  There were the mixed tapes boys gave me (ok I read into the order, the songs, the why you gave it to me...until a male friend explained that there was just a good chance the guy made it in random order).  There were the bad bands I pretended to love to just be close to a boy and the boys who became men who taught me to appreciate good music.  There was dancing days with music to prep to clubbing. 

There was make out music.  There has always been make out music and if you have no idea what I am talking about ...well you gotta try it.  I am still a sucker for a man who recites a song line to me, yes I understand from my male friends that he may not be placing same importance - sheesh male friends are a cold reality check.  There was music that makes me jump around the house, music that makes me shimmy, music that has to be LOUUUDDD (and the many times that my music loving parents asked me to turn down the music in my room.. big luxury I had a stereo with a record player in my room before high school).  There will always be make out music and music that makes you want to make out.  There is music that makes you dance upright to things you want to do horizontally.  There is music that takes your pain and puts it to notes and lyrics.  Before there were music videos many of us thought of moments in our lives to music, the video to some degree in our hearts and imaginations. 

My boys love music and we listen to their songs and I expose them to the vast variety I have. I think that music makes you see the world through  a different sense than your eyes.  Music has been exalted, banned, exploited, changed, varied, and censored.  This has not stopped the music because it is what we may not need to live but it is one of the things that makes life worth living.


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