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by Natasha Theobald

I'm not myself lately. I've missed another SDM deadline, something I hate to do. The truth is, I don't feel particularly qualified to write anything about someone else's hard work right now, not that I usually particularly do. But, my brain isn't working currently, for good reason I will spare you, and the words don't come.

It's hard to listen to music sometimes. The reason soundtracks are created is that music is so deeply evocative, so very emotional. A person can stare blankly at a television screen, and all of the work of any show is usually done for them. No thinking or engagement is necessary. One needs only to take it in. Music, on the other hand, leaves empty spaces which may be filled with a thought, a memory, a feeling. In fact, because it is so filled with emotion, good music almost requires as much from the active listener. A reviewer must be an active listener, must go ahead and feel what comes. I'm just not up for it.

I won't be the first to observe how different things might be if real life were scored like a movie. You would know what to expect from your day based on the music. If the haunted house music kicked in, you would know to beware. If Barry White came on, you might take a chance and shave your legs. But, life is not a movie. Life is certainly not an MTV reality show, where every word has a lyrical cue, every moment has a potently perfect pop song.

In fact, life is so sticky and complicated that horrifyingly inappropriate songs will pop into the head at any unprovoked moment. I spent some time watching the second go-around of "I Love the 70's" last week on VH1, and I now have random, soft hits like you hear at the dentist's office, on a loop in my already strained (see above) brain. Somebody's knockin' at the door; somebody's ringin' the bell. I have not a clue where that comes from, but it has been seared into my mind, quite unfairly. I'll take the occasional "Afternoon Delight" glitch. I'll even accept a haunted, though disturbing, realization that I remember Anne Murray lyrics, because, in fact, I once knew the Anne Murray lyrics. But this door knocking will not stand.

Sonic Death Monkey, our soundtrack review column, was, of course, named from the movie High Fidelity. I wonder if that character's, and many real life people's, penchant for the mix tape (or wherever you now choose to mix) has something to do with an attempt to score our own lives. If we fill our heads with love songs, will the right person somehow come along? Will Mozart make us smarter? Will Enya calm us down or drive us fucking nuts? How do I know if my mood now will be the same later when I listen again to the mix? Will I no longer think Lenny Kravitz to something from Cabaret to The Jesus and Mary Chain is a brilliant choice? I'm nauseous just trying to think about it.

At this moment in time, I don't think I could score my life. I wouldn't want to go dark, for fear of the worst actually happening. However, I cannot stand falsely cheerful when all I want to do is cry. Until I figure out the perfect, confusion mix, I am sticking with silence. Forgive me that it leaves you for a week with no soundtrack reviewed. Maybe a wee bit of silence could aid your confusion, too. Good luck to us both.

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originally posted: 07/28/06 19:05:52
last updated: 08/05/06 15:24:56
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