Thursday, April 17, 2008

Stopping time

Music has been a large part of my life for as long as I can remember. Certain songs bring back memories of Christmas or Easter, my senior year of high school or WWU, and specific people or relationships (Both good and bad. Let's just say that the person who gets Back to Black by Amy Winehouse? Probably shouldn't be happy about that one.). Take It Easy by the Eagles will always make me remember driving to work at Southcenter Mall on a hot summer afternoon with the windows rolled down, singing at the top of my lungs, and the guy in the car next to me in traffic looking over, laughing, and then starting to sing along too.

Most songs that hold meaning make you smile, or sigh, and then half-listen to them as they play. Sometimes you'll barely register that they've come on, if you're in the middle of something or distracted. But there are some songs that, when they come on, the world seems to shift slightly. You stop whatever you're doing because you simply can't continue really focusing on anything else (with the exception of things like driving, for instance) because this moment of perfection has dropped into your day and it would be almost sacrilegious if you didn't give it the consideration it deserves.

Ave Maria is one of those songs. It doesn't matter how many times I hear it - every time it comes on, things are slightly different. It's like the song makes me take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and realised that eventually everything will be alright. Listening to it transforms my usual slog through people at Finsbury Park station and on the Tube to work in the morning something different. I look up. I see people's faces instead of their shoes or the book they're reading.

This is what music should be, this beautiful transforming thing that makes the world change. When did the noise pollution in our ears make that change?

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