Do you ever have the experience of being touched by a piece of music, and somehow it feels as if it were around forever, though the title or artist never really clicks? That is one of the things I so love about iTunes; I can get lost following its Genius from song to song, and once in a while I nod incredulously when I stumble across one of those gems. Right, That’s IT!
I just bought Wonderwall by Oasis. It came out on their album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? in 1995.
It does feel like it has been around and around, but I never knew the title, nor artist, nor even the album or time period. All I knew is that I liked the song. I always liked the song. Happy while borderline melancholic, I was brought through time when I finally found and bought the song last night. In a way, I feel I captured part of my past that has eluded me for some time.
The significance? I did not have much money when I was younger, and certainly little to buy any of the music I listened to. How could I spend all that money on an album when I only know this one song? The music made an impression, and only now do I find myself buying a song or so here and there. Most of it, like this Oasis piece, something out of my past. Not too distant, mind you, as the music still moves me. in a way, it is as part of my present as it is of my past.
Sure, it began having its effect some time in the cobwebs of my memory, yet it still feels fresh. Think Orinoco Flow, or A Christmas Carol, or “Hasta la vista, baby”, or The Wizard of Oz—all in time, though somehow transcending it as well. Every bit as present as historically entering our consciousness in the historical past.
I wonder how often this same thing happens with music, or movies, or books, or political personalities, or myths, or tales of this or that for other people? I recall music, and perhaps other people may recall Meryl Streep in some movie, while others may suddenly slap their heads at a comment about a Faulkner plot twist or seemingly accidental color in a Bruce Nauman installation. Perhaps my students will do that with the Research Process and Methodology class or Principles and Practices of Online Course Creation and Instructional Design class, both of which just wrapped up at NYU. If it takes me 13 years to finally learn the name of a song and an artist and then to buy it, possess it, listen / enjoy / consider / reminisce / consume it late into the night, then I wonder if others may have similar experiences? As a life-time educator, I rarely see the benefits or effects of my teaching, though I have to consider that somebody must do something with all that work and time and effort and energy.
At least, I hope this is the case.
I know it brings me joy that a song I hummed for over a decade I now can appreciate on a new level, that it will be nice if others have this as well. It will be even better if the content or artifact causes more of a transformative experience to enlarge a worldview or effect positive (though oftentimes painful) growth.
Life is truly short-lived if this reflective cycle does not repeat . . .