“When you are happy, you enjoy the music. When you are sad, you understand the lyrics.” I saw this quote online the other day, and it struck a chord in me.
I’ve always loved music. I credit Dad for that, since it was he who introduced me to it at a young age. The king of rock and roll and Dad’s other favorites are artists I still enjoy listening to today. As a child, I watched music transform Dad’s mood after a long day at work, and I’ve felt that very same shift in my spirit when I hear a cheerful, catchy song.
When my husband and I began dating, we both shared a love for a variety of bands like Firehouse, REM and Metallica. But Douglas also favored artists like Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and the Dixie Chicks. I never had any interest in county music, but back then, our relationship was new, and I didn’t feel comfortable asking him to change the station. The more time we spent together, the more country I was exposed to. And before I knew it, I was hooked.
Soon, it was the only type of music I was listening to consistently. It didn’t take long for me to learn that country songs have a way of pulling at your heartstrings – a lot. If I wasn’t tearing up over a song about somebody dying, I was crying over little kids watching their mom be abused or sobbing over a wedding that was being watched by a mother from heaven.
At first, I didn’t mind that the lyrics were deep and meaningful; after all, I am a sentimental person by nature. But after a while, I grew tired of being brought down by something that used to lift me up.
So one day, while I was on my way home from work, a sappy country song once again filled my car. As I wiped away yet another tear from my cheek, I made a decision. I changed the station. And I have yet to change it back.
Since then, I have chosen to surround myself with mostly upbeat music. And while I find myself singing the lyrics, I don’t necessarily listen for their meaning anymore. Instead, I let the music flow through my body as I enjoy the powerful instruments and vocals.
The current hits are at the top of my list, but I still enjoy music from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. When songs like Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “The Reflex” come on, I get lost in their ability to immediately transport me back to my parents’ family room where my teenage siblings and I had disagreements on the lyrics. We would hit the rewind button on our cassette player more than a dozen times to determine who was right.
When I was preparing to give birth to my firstborn, my doctor suggested I bring my own music to play during the birthing process. I wanted something soothing, so I chose Enya. I was in labor for 29 hours, and for much of that time, Enya’s entire album played on repeat. “Only Time” still makes its way onto the radio these days, and whenever I hear it, I always think back to those first days with my daughter.
I love that music can do that: evoke happy memories. Sure, some have been known to spark emotion, and once in a while, a tear catches the edge of my smile. But I am OK with that. Because I’ll take a happy tear over a sad tear any day.