Sunday, December 21, 2014

How Relationships Can Ruin Music

U2 released their most recent offering during the eight-day insanity I like to call Suzy I. You will recall that the first seven days went well. Off the charts connection. True, it was all texting and messaging. But virtual or not, the connection was real. Then we met. The date seemed to go OK. We met at a fancy restaurant and ate a fancy dinner over a fancy bottle of wine. And we talked. For five hours.

Was the date as exciting as our messages? No. Of course, that would have been difficult, since we both agreed that our connection via messaging was intoxicating. With that sort of foundation plus a five-hour date of sharing conversation and fine wine, a reasonable person might have expected at least a date #2 to see where things went.


Apparently there were two problems.

According to Suzy I, the first problem was that once we’d reached certain elevation of emotional and spiritual connection via messaging, our in-person relationship was doomed to fail because “we’d never reach those heights again.” Good heavens. But she didn’t stop there. The other problem was “I made her feel safe.” Oh no. Not safe. Me? Like I said. Good heavens.

Ah, but I digress.

I scroll back to the top of this post and I see this started out as a post about music. As you will soon discover, I’m a u2 fan. A big fan. No, strike that. A huge fan. I’ve got over 1,000 u2 songs on my mp3 player. How is that possible? They’ve only released 13 studio albums. The answer is first I converted all of their live DVDs to mp3 format. That accounts for another 200 songs. Then I went out to YouTube, and converted another 500 live songs from various concerts around the world. U2, Coldplay and the Beatles form the soundtrack to my runs every day (I’m a runner, too).

Having listened to the Dublin Quartet so much for so long, I’ve developed an ear for the greatness. So it came as a bit of a surprise when I was slow to warm to the new album. Now I know why. Suzy I. The album was released at the beginning of the messaging flurry with Suzy I. My brain then began associating the music with the relationship. When the relationship went south, the musical association went with it. That was back in October. In the last week, I’ve found the ear to hear the music new again. Thank God. And the music is amazing. Whew! What a waste that would have been if I had to stop listening to a u2 album due to one bad date.

This isn’t the first time this happened either.

Back in law school, I didn’t even like u2. In fact, I affirmatively disliked them. Sting was my guy, and somehow the Grammy Gods decided to award u2 Album of the Year in 1987 over my boy Sting. Joshua Tree was a very good album. To this day, however, it doesn’t hold a candle to Sting’s Nothing Like the Sun. My law school girlfriend heard me complain about this injustice multiple times. She didn’t care. She was a u2 fan, and was convinced she could make me one, too.

“You ought to listen to Rattle and Hum.”

“Rattle and Hum?”

“The new u2 album.”

“I don’t like u2.”

“You might like this album.”

She eventually wore me down.

And she was right. I loved it.

The problem was my brain now linked my fondness for u2 with my law school girlfriend. When that relationship ended two years later, I couldn’t listen to u2 again, especially that album, for more than a decade. The band reminded me too much of my Ex. I quit being a u2 fan. Marriage and two kids helped my brain overcome that mental association. Put enough life events between you and something painful and you’ll notice the pain starts to fade as the memories fade. The brain is very resilient. This is why we can never let ourselves get too down about anything. Eventually the pain subsides and is replaced by other stuff.

Music often adds a wrinkle to the healing process, for better or worse. Music can be a powerful medium, especially when combined with love and relationships. Connections are made that go beyond our ability to appreciate them. When the association between music and people turns sour, the musical connection lingers long after the relationship has ended. The good news is that if we let enough time pass, the clouds start to clear and the sun begins to seep through. The amount of time it takes to heal is in some way proportional to the length of the relationship.

Thankfully with Suzy I, the relationship, though intense, was very short.

Meanwhile, my love affair with u2 continues.

No comments:

Post a Comment