Bob Marley was right

As a general rule, Bob Marley bothers me. I went through that phase - I had a rasta-esque hat I thought was SO cool. I smoked pot one time out of a coke can and thought I was as free and alive as him and his music. I rolled the windows down on my Mercury Cougar and blared "Could This Be Love?" as I cruised through residential streets, thinking I was progressive and different and a true hippie. Then, I graduated high school, went to college, got too busy drinking and soaking in collegiate life to care anymore about Mr. Marley. That was until I saw this quote for the first time:

"One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain." -  Robert Marie Marley III.

The quote enraged me. "What?" I exclaimed probably to no one. "What is that shit? That's not true at all. Certain songs and albums bring back the worst memories ever. I can't listen to Incubus's 'A Crow Left of the Murder' without being transported to 2004 when I was heartbroken over my first boyfriend and 110 pounds. I'LL NEVER BE THAT WEIGHT AGAIN. FUCK YOU, INCUBUS." It's highly likely I was a) PMSing, b) stressed from studying, c) drunk when I proclaimed the above, but proclaim it I did.

Years later, NOW I get it. I used to use music as a crutch - an escape from my teenage/early 20s angst. Even up until I was 22, I would retire to my bedroom and blare Beach House's incredibly depressing, mournful melodies in my big ass, bright green, hipster headphones and softly cry over lost love.

emma's thing

^^ These are those headphones. Ya - I still have them.

Not to say that these days music doesn't strongly effect me - because it does. But seeing as though I'm older and have a somewhat better handle on my emotions, I don't sob when I hear songs from my personal past. Now, I can view these songs as a sort of soundtrack to my life that has brought me to where I am now. Yes, a instant feeling of nostalgia rushes over me when I hear a certain guitar chord or melody, but no longer do I want to turn it off and run out of the room, sobbing. No. I can handle my shit now. I'm a big girl. And I finally understand that Bob Marley was right - music takes the "pain away" when it's the right song and the right time. I'm in a bad mood? Rap. I'm in a thoughtful mood? Florence + The Machine. I'm in a sultry, soulful mood? Aretha. I'm not really in any mood for lyrics but need some sort of background noise? Jazz. Yeah, I said it. JAZZ.

Music can bring back painful memories of the worst moments in your young adult life, but it can also remind you of all you've overcome, all you've suffered, all the happiest, brightest moments in your life thus far. It has the ability to transport you, but it's really up to you and your psyche what you decide to do when it plops you down smack in the middle of good ol' memory lane. The choice is yours and yours alone.

Here are some of my fondest transporting songs:

Ben Kweller's "Wasted & Ready" - I'm 16. I just started dating my first real boyfriend and just went to my first real show in Dallas (Ben Kweller). I think I'm really cool for knowing who he is and have every lyric memorized. Also, I make out with my first real boyfriend for the majority of this show.

Incubus's "I Miss You" - I'm 17 and my first real boyfriend just unexpectedly broke up with me. I've never felt this in my life and feel like I'm gonna die. My mom finds me the morning after the breakup sobbing at the bottom of my tub. I listen to this on repeat and probably copy and paste the lyrics onto an AIM away message to make him think about what he's done.

M.I.A's "Sunshowers" - It's senior year of high school and during my keyboarding class I get bored and start surfing the MTV Indie music site. I find this new girl who calls herself M.I.A. and immediately fall in love. I've never heard anything like it and have never felt such an intense girl crush before her.

Kings of Leon "Taper Jean Girl" - I'm 18 and just left for college and am in the most intense whirlwind romance of my life. His name is Drew and he made me the coolest, most progressive mix CD anyone's ever given me (truly. Even still to this day). I've never heard such a raw sounding band before. I can't understand half of their lyrics, but the beat and melody is so good, I don't even care. Plus, Drew made it and he can do no wrong. Every night, I sleep with a tshirt he gave me of his and sob about him for the duration of my freshman year.

The Black Keys "Breaks" - Yeah, this came out in 2002, but I wasn't introduced to Dan and Patrick until I was a sophomore in college. I was instantly hooked. They came through my small college town the same year I fell in love with them, but that night, my friend thought it'd be funny to put more and more gin into my gin and tonic when I was paying attention, resulting in me not remembering any of the show besides the bass under my feet and sobbing on the phone to my best friend in Mississippi about nothing.

Dead Prez "Hip Hop" - My first college boyfriend and my "first." I was 20, he was 19. We met in a photography class, fooled around in a dark room and fell in love fast (oh, college). He opened my music world to 90s hip-hop and for that, I am forever grateful. That break-up was painful and, ironically, my only amicable one to date. We both cried, but we both knew it wasn't right anymore.

Across the Universe "I've Just Seen a Face" - I was dating my second serious college boyfriend and we were obsessed with this movie. Again, SOOO college. But we loved it.

Beach House "Zebra" - I can barely even listen to this without choking up. I was 22, going through an excruciating period of not knowing what I wanted, who I wanted, what the fuck I was supposed to do after college. My boyfriend had moved to Dallas to be with me and we were on and off for a year or so after that. It was a terrible period of time and involved a lot of Beach House, late at night, in my bed, alone, crying. It was like my last bit of teenage angst falling off.

Bon Iver "Skinny Love" - I mean, come on. Did you really expect to NOT see it on here? My on and off-again boyfriend told me he had listened to this on repeat the day after we broke up (for the 2nd time), crying the whole time. I became oddly obsessed with it...

Beirut "Santa Fe" - I fell for a guy at my old work who made me feel like I was everything in the world. He broke my heart. And he also introduced me to Beirut. Fucker.

Queen "Somebody To Love" - A song one of my real world boyfriend's loved and that we listened to quite often in our short, 3-month stint of whatever the fuck we were. To this day, I'm pretty positive he loves weiner and I just wish he'd admit it to himself. Life's too short, and I say that with total sincerity.

This all takes us to now. I hope you enjoyed that very condensed list that barely even touches on my life for the past 10 years. But it gives you a taste, if nothing else.

For now, I will leave you with my current song obsession and you can be the judge of what my current mood/feeling/emotion/every everything is:


Sing it, my soul sista.




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