It’s a funny thing about music, how it can pretty much overwhelm you with emotion. Soundtrack composers know this, of course, but so does anyone who has ever broken up. Depending on how much your relationship had a “soundtrack” of shared musical moments, the effect of playing certain songs can be pretty powerful.
It’s not just your typical so-called love ballads, either. “Everloving” by Moby had me in tears, and it can still move me even though the relationship that triggered that reaction ended years ago…badly, no less. And that’s electronica, fer god’s sake (well, acoustic guitar mixed with electronica in this case). No lyrics. Really pretty song.
I kind of forgot about that whole phenomenon until recently facing a fresh break-up. I was about to drop the needle on some record or other from 1986 and had a sudden flashback to my other post-breakup emotional landslides. Did I dare?
Well, I did, and it was pretty ok. Part of the reason is that this latest relationship, great as it was, didn’t have a real musical soundtrack to speak of. I own almost no music from the recent years we were together. I think we also tend to lose some sentimental romantic notions, musical and otherwise, as we grow older.
But also, we didn’t do a whole lot of bonding over music. Sure, we liked some of the same stuff — 70s soul mostly — but our most frequent discussion of music was him asking me to take a record off because it was really annoying. (Granted, he was sometimes right about that.)
So, yes, the breakup has been hard in many ways — they always are — but listening to music was not particularly emotional for me this time around.
Until this appeared on his facebook page the other day. Damn.