i think that songs have lives just as organisms do. well, actually, it's more that they have souls. their souls have a kind of uncertain lifespan. i know i will have difficulty explaining this, because this is a perennial image i have grown up with, and thereby it seems really obvious to me.
it starts when you first hear a song--it must be a good song, mind you--and it fills up your ears. it fills up your ears at first like any perceptual stimuli. it's just some bleats and some beats and some tones.
it's like how when you look at the assortment of shapes in the below picture, the first thing you see is just shapes:
then you realize it is the word "fly." this is the part where your neurons are adapting to the noise and realizing that it's music.
maybe by the time it gets to the chorus you start to feel this sort of dull ache in your chest cavity as it slowly fills up with a semi-homogeneous solution of bubbly hot emotions and hormones. there's just something about the bass and its volume that's making you feel that weird pain-pleasure mixture like your soul is eating spicy food. something about how familiar but totally new the melody is is making you feel alive. and there's something about now-- where are you? in the car? in an airplane? with someone you just met?-- that is making the song just perfect. for right now. for here.
and you're like, well shit. i'll never be the same again. something about what is filling you is both fueling and curing whatever case of the blues you have right now. something inside you has changed in an irrevocable, indescribable, only-internalizable way.
i picture myself doing the unimaginable when i feel this way. i picture myself running through the front doors of the an ex-love's building and proclaiming the intensity of my emotions, saying sentences that sound incredibly tacky when not felt, like, "it hurts my heart!" or "i have a SERIOUS case of you." but i know that if i just hold on through, to the last note, or the final beat, that i will feel a sense of closure, a sense of completeness that real life fails to deliver.
sometimes i try not to listen to music because it makes me feel too strongly. i know that it's one of the easiest to find, most addictive drugs and i go on a diet from it just to make sure i can feel without it. i look at rolling landscapes, or hear the music of the street, without any instrumental accompaniment, but i still hear it in my head before i go to sleep.
sometimes i listen to music and it doesn't work for me anymore. it's the same song that i've listened to every day for the last 90 days, and every day it has felt the same.
i can always tell that something within me is changing and ending when i no longer feel that ache. it's kind of a heartbreak, but i try to remind myself that songs only encapsulate feelings for as long as you feel them. if i listen to a song and feel nothing, i realize that the song has successfully ushered me through whatever phase it was. whatever it was that ailed me or exhilarated me when the song entered my life now no longer creates that soreness in my gut. i listen to the song again and i feel no rush of serotonin, no heightened dopamine levels, no tears welling in my eyes. i know then that this song has done its work and now functions only as an old friend i can belt to when no one is around, kind, knowing, and vacant. it exists as a shell of its former self, because my soul is no longer puzzle-pieced within it.