Without music, life is empty. Might sound a little strong, but for me, it’s the brutal truth. I taught myself to play the piano at age 4, was winning classical competitions a few years later, and ended up winning over my first girlfriend when I paid the band to break and serenaded her to Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx at a Bar Mitzvah after party.
Flash forward a couple decades, and music still consumes me. Soundtracks elevate movies and TV shows into new territory (see: Californication and Drive), and they can also elevate a relationship into uncharted waters.
In high school, my friend Brian and I were known as the kings of the mix tape. Lofty company I know. But, we turned an art form into science, combining our technical expertise (like hitting “pause” between songs instead of “stop” to eliminate clicking and gaps on those old neon Memorex tapes) with our ability to take girls on a musical ride that got us one step closer to naked time.
The mix tape was an elegant execution of everything we wanted to say but couldn’t. You can’t just tell the girl of your dreams that you’d do anything for her and your life is meaningless with out her in it – but you CAN make her a mix tape with “Walk on the Ocean” into “Every Rose Has its Thorn” into “Patience” – and it pretty much does the talking for you.
Music wasn’t as accessible then; there was more romance involved in finding the perfect songs and assembling them into a masterpiece for the special lady friend in your life – or the one you wanted to be in your life. Services like Spotify, Rdio, iTunes, ThisIsMyJam.com, and many others have made finding and sharing music easier than ever, and have opened up access to anyone with a smartphone.
The mix tape is not a lost art, however, and sharing your musical tastes with your new love interest is still one of the most exhilarating parts of a new relationship. The Spotify playlist is the new mix tape, and executed correctly, it is glorious. I think I just identified a future life partner based on our shared love of Scorpions, for example. And all this before our first kiss. Not possible in the analog world of neon tapes and water damage.
By identifying a mutual love of a few shared genres and songs, I think we skipped many steps in fact. We impressed each other, laughed, and thought about slow dancing to the cheese we sent back and forth even when we couldn’t see each other for a few days. It’s been magical.
Last night we were driving, she flipped on my car stereo, put on Guns N’ Roses (one of my favorites no less), and held my hand. Is there a more perfect musical moment than this? I think not. This, friends, could be the start of a beautiful bonership.
‘Til next week…