Rediscovering my comfort music
The other day a Guns N’ Roses song came on the radio that was one of my core pieces of music in my teens. Then I saw a classical guitar cover of a Metallica song on Facebook. The same day Rage Against the Machine (with a lot blanked out) was on the radio. A couple of days later Eddie Van Halen died. All bands and songs that formed the soundtrack of my early teens and continued as a thread through to my early twenties. Now I am rediscovering them as my comfort music in a time of adult angst.
Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns n’ Roses
The day the music died
By the time I reached university I had amassed a sizeable CD collection and I was a prolific producer of mix tapes. The summer before second year I moved into a new house and shortly after moving in someone broke into the house and grabbed almost my entire CD collection. I recovered some from the pawn shop down the street over the next weeks and months, but my music collection was broken.
Nothing Else Matters – Metallica
Napster had emerged on the scene in the year before so I had begun building a new electronic collection. I found a lot of new music through Napster and bought new copies of some of the stuff that had been stolen. I had also moved on from the loud metal and angry music of my teen years. Out with the hair bands and in with newer rock bands and solo singer songwriters.
Jump – Van Halen
My music got old
When I was younger my dad would pick my brother and I up at our place to drive to his apartment for the weekend. On those drives he always had an ‘oldies’ radio station playing the music from his youth. My brother and I mocked him for playing old music and joked about it putting us to sleep on those drives. At the time those ‘oldies’ were 20 – 30 years old. We also joked about how far his hairline had receded. This week I realized that next year marks 30 years since I saw Guns N’ Roses, Metallica and Faith No More in a triple header concert. Now my music falls into the ‘oldies’ category.
Enter Sandman – Metallica
Still have more hair than my dad
While my music is now older than my dad’s was when we were teasing him about his ‘oldies’ and receding hair line, I still have more hair than he did then – although much less than I did then. I am around the same age he was then and am amazed to realize that reality.
Welcome to the Jungle – Guns n’ Roses
Metal for the pandemic
This week I have been buying up digital copies of some of the metal and hair band music that I listened to in my youth and turning up the volume. I am finding it a balm to my sense of impending doom. Covid numbers going up, increasing number of cases are showing up in schools, my kids could get sent home and we could be quarantined (again) any day, the US to the south of us is a mess and the guy with the nuclear codes is unhinged.
Dr. Feelgood – Motley Crue
Comfort music for Adult Angst
As a teenager I listened to a range of music, from Megadeath to Sarah McLachlan. Some days/weeks/years were more angsty than others and required heavier music to get through them. I am realizing that I am in the same place again. Some days require more driving music to get me through my days of emails and reports while I worry about my kids at school and Covid and my colleagues at work and Covid and my community and Covid and the pending civil war in our neighbours to the south and Covid.
Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine
An Age of Powerlessness
What is common about the years I was listening to my ‘oldies’ and now is the sense of powerlessness. As a teen we all go through the struggle of figuring out our identities and our place in the world amidst the churn of high school. We don’t have power over our lives and we struggle to gain little bits of power as we grow.
Much like then, we don’t actually have a lot of power in our lives these days either. So much is driven by the prevalence of the virus in our communities and the efforts to prevent the spread. So once again I am finding comfort in the music that motivated me when I was trying to find my place in the world, dealing with loss and grief, and angry and fighting to make change.
Sadly my hair is no longer to my shoulders and my neck is too stiff most days so my best headbanging days are probably beyond me…