But it was not your fault, but mine and it was your heart on the line…

Every so often a song comes along that breaks my heart and makes me fall in love all at the same time. I then take to obsessively listening to said song on repeat for hours, days, weeks, pushing my heart to the point of absolute explosion.

Tunng’s “Jenny Again” did that to me the summer of 2006. DeVotchka’s “How It Ends” did that to me in 2008. These songs tend to become the personification of something I am feeling, some sort of exasperated desperation or intense desire or pure, beautiful and bittersweet that I cannot put my finger on, but that I’m able to distinguish in a chord or a lyric. These songs become obsessions, fixations, and then, as any such fancy, they dissolve into the background, fade away, brought out only on special occasions or when iTunes happens to dust them off and put them back into rotation unexpectedly. And they remain songs that are important to me, special, but they are tethered very tightly to a moment in time and cannot be unhinged from it.

I think Mumford and Sons’ “Little Lion Man” will be “that” song for 2010. I thought it was going to be their other song, “The Cave,” but then I heard this on the way into work today and purposely waited in the car for it to finish playing. And then a friend happened to post it on FB. And then I found myself hitting “replay” on this video 50 times, easily.

Are there any songs that you feel this emotionally attached to? I’d love to hear them/about them.

I often wonder if there’s something scientific about the songs we “fall in love with.” Is there something about certain arrangements that physiologically appeals to a certain human? I wish I had the scientific/musical know-how to take all the songs that exist in my emotion-wrenching canon and see exactly what properties of the song evoke the feelings that they do. Maybe it’s a certain chord progression or sound of a certain instrument? Maybe it’s the voice range of the singer? On one hand, I’d love to say it’s all just “magic,” but it would be pretty damn cool to know that there is some kind of mathematical equation to understanding why I love to listen to the things I do.

I guess it’s not all that crazy– I mean, many link the beauty of Shakespeare to his reliance on iambic pentameter. There are elements all around us at play to deciding why we like what we do–what sounds natural, what feels right. I know the same can be said for literature, but I feel music especially is able to drive so many different opinions and strong feelings from its listeners. I wonder if you could really analyze a person or a personality type based on the music they like and pinpoint exactly what draws them to liking that music…

3 thoughts on “But it was not your fault, but mine and it was your heart on the line…

  1. It’s weird. I haven’t really had that kind of connection with a song in a while I don’t think. (Also, an aside, this is interesting, because Mumford and Sons got big a little while ago over here, so commercials for their album were on all the time, and I didn’t really connect with this one at all. So it definitely must be different things for different people rather than a progression of specific chords or something.)

    There’s stuff that definitely evokes very particular moments and feelings for me. A lot of Fiona Apple, some Ben Folds Five, Rufus Wainwright, Helmet, REM, Foo Fighters. Sometimes whole albums bring me back to a point in time, sometimes just a song. But lately, I find myself just liking music but not becoming particularly attached to it like I used to.

    I think the closest I’ve come lately is Viva la Vida by Coldplay, which reminds me a lot of Australia because they played it constantly on the radio while we were there. It’s a nice way to remember the most amazing vacation I’ve ever had. And dammit, I really LIKE Coldplay, even if everyone uses them as the butt of all UK music industry jokes. It’s a great fucking song AND album too.

    Also I finally, like, in late 2008, let myself listen to Gorillaz’ Demon Days over and over after having thought I didn’t like it much, and now it’s one of my absolute favourite albums. Ever. But there hasn’t been anything lately. And nothing in a long time like some of the things that really bring me back to years ago. Maybe it’s because I don’t give myself the time to really listen to things as often as I used to.

    However, Justin Timberlake and Beyonce will always remind me of Kiplin Hall. No matter what. And I love that.

  2. Mine is “Old College Try” by the Mountain Goats. For the original, it’s something about the organ that reminds me of church and keeps me so attached. When played live though there’s no organ and I’m still equally entranced. The attachment has withstood a relationship and it’s subsequent breakup and two years of college (pun intended?), including that awful thesis process. There’s just something about it… I know what you mean 🙂

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