i’m getting to be old enough to be a snob about what music i listen to. well, i’ll listen to a lot but i don’t love a lot of it. the music i listen to on my ipod when i’m walking on ms. bertha (my elliptical) tends toward driving power chick-rock/pop or full-flung broadway that gets you singing at the top of your lungs and running or walking at a good clip – by the way, have you heard the cast album of ‘the capeman’? omg. it’s only out on itunes (paul simon put out his own album earlier) but this is the cast recording and it’s hauntingly beautiful on it’s own. teenage daughter is caught between very classic rock (her father cheers!) and goofy broadway (her father boos!) and some typical teenage pop.
as a retired singer, you’d think i would listen to a LOT of music. no. it was too painful for a long time. it reminded me of the life i didn’t have – when i was going through chemo – the toughest time for me – i just watched very mindless tv – the stuff i could purposefully forget and watch again if it was the only thing going during the many hours to get through.
when i was done all my treatment, i bought an ipod nano. i was semi-back at work by then and i went walking one day to an appointment with lots of time to waste and decided that it was time to listen to something again. i put the earphones in my ear and first up was sarah maclahlan’s ‘hold on.’ oh. i just started sobbing. walking around with a wall of tears just pouring out. at that moment, i realized that i was still alive and that i could look, once again, at the world as a place of possibilities instead of a chunk of time to force myself to get through. now when i get on bertha for a walk, it’s always my first song. i’ve worked on turning it around – more an anthem of hope than a plaintive wail.
last night at the ‘hope for haiti’ concert, justin timberlake and matt morris did a duet of the leonard cohen song ‘hallelujah’. i know next to nothing about justin timberlake but i knew what i was hearing. a flowing line of deep musicality that was delicate and soulful and deeply beautiful. so many things are sledgehammered into the banal by too much production and this took wing on the moment…an accomplishment in itself. it’s a song that usually ends up as a complete cliched howler – and here it was as an almost-perfect jewel.
i hope you like it too. hallelujah.