Sonic Déjà Vu

     October 23, 2005

Posted by Frosty

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By Ella Lauser

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Photo Louis Lesko

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The soundtrack to our lives is essential.; Every person has their “jam,” their “get up and go” song, their “mellow out” song, “get in the mood” song, and ultimate “break up” song.; Can you really think of any moment in your life that hasn’t been touched by a song, or rather a song that hasn’t been touched by a memory?; That’s what music is about, it gets us, it heals us, it empathizes with us, it enrages us.; Honestly, I still have my nights where I’ll put on the song that was playing when I kissed my first love; I get all bent out of shape, tear up and then I turn off the song, or better yet move on to the next track.; It’s like a tug o’ war with my sanity and self-respect.

Case in point, I recently had a run in with an ex memory via music. Surrounded by Vietnamese women in a manicurist chair, I was trapped as the following trailed in and out of my ears: “All of my life, where have you been? I wonder if I’ll ever see you again….”I had to force myself to swallow hard and move through the pain.; Damn you Lenny Kravitz, you’ve caused me to conjure up visions of the man who massacred my heart.; No, I’m not bitter.

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I just wish I could have sense-memory whiplash for a second as opposed to a very involved five minutes, which is the typical length of a song. Thank God it’s not the seventies anymore, and pop tracks don’t go on for 12 minutes.;;

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Don’t you hate it when good songs that were fine and dandy at one point in your life, turn evil and sinister beckoning you back into a place where you miss someone you really wish you didn’t?; Funny how old flames that have burned out beyond the point of reconciliation can be re-lit by the first four bars of some song that randomly popped onto a radio DJ’s playlist.

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Music can be a weapon and it attacks, without warning.; It’s that damned element of surprise!; In order to survive and maintain composure, I take the following precautions, especially in the midst of a break-up:

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  • Rule #1, Drive with CAUTION. Do not under any circumstances listen to the radio in your car unless you have napkins in your glove compartment box and there is a place for you to pull over on the side of the road.; I’m not kidding, I thought I was safe listening to a classic rock station on the way home from a fun night out with the girls and all of a sudden, Extreme’s “More than Words” came on- I thought my lungs were going to give out on me from all the sobbing. Being alone in a car leaves anyone susceptible to wandering off in their mind and music can be the rope dangling around your neck, so loosen the slack.; Plenty of time to think and ponder your problems while meandering through yellow and green lights, can cause major problems and if a sad song comes on,; it’s the emotional equivalent of a car crash. O and another thing- don’t think that by changing the station the slate will be wiped clean, it will haunt you subconsciously….you’ll find yourself mumbling “ More than words is all you have to do… To make it real then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me ‘cos I’d already know.”

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  • Rule #2, Don’t let a good song go BAD. If you recently had an awful moment with a good song, listen to it immediately (within the next 24 hours) to associate it with a different situation.; If you don’t, you might as well just throw that CD out. At one point in my life, I couldn’t listen to a song for 6 years without being submissive to the memories that came along with it.; Listening to that song was a punishment worse than death.; I resent that I have had to get rid of some of my favorite albums due to some jerk or some awful moment.; So, don’t hesitate to be proactive and tie a positive thing to the song before it’s tainted.;

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  • Rule #3, make sure you keep your all time favorite songs- YOURS.; There are some bands or songs that have become the soundtrack of your life. The songs you’ve heard over and over again as you’ve grown older, they’re the triggers for YOUR memories.; Avoid associating them with your relationship du jour, almost like a sonic pre-nuptial agreement.; In fact, I’d go as far to say why not get rid of the inclination to have a special song with your new beau or gal- just share music and lots of it, but don’t make it a possession of the relationship.

  • Rule #4, BUCK UP and create the BREAK UP playlist.;; Own where you are at, if you are feeling unattractive, frustrated and impatient about your break up, create a playlist to belt out with while fully throttling your engine down an open highway.; I feel so much better sometimes if have a rage fest with the ultimate break up songs, they motivate you, and make you feel like someone out there sympathizes with the fact that your ex is an ass.; Dancing with yourself in your living room, letting it all hang out is also fabulous.; I have a playlist that kicks off with some Fiona Apple, moves on to Aerosmith’s “Cryin,”Sheryl Crow’s “My Favorite Mistake,”and then Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell”, which is just my personal favorite song to cut lose to. There are downers and uppers within the category of break up songs, so pick and choose wisely but be sure there’s something in that playlist that makes you wanna kick ass and move on.; The songs should cover the following exclamations: “I’m better off without you”, “I hate you”, “I’m better than you”, “I’m hot and you’re not”, “I’m not going back”, “I’m gonna be fine”,; “I’m nobody’s fool”, and of course, “It’s all about ME ME ME ME!” Oh and you don’t have to admit to any of this, in fact it’s better to keep it all to yourself. “When there’s nothing to lose and there’s nothing to prove, I’ll be dancing with myself o o o-OH!”

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  • Rule #5, CHOOSE to make a date with doom.; There’s nothing wrong with a good cry especially when it’s on your terms. Go ahead an open up that bottle of red, light candles and put on some Jeff Buckley- just don’t make any public appearances for you may terrify the masses with your bee-stung eye lids.; Letting it all hang out is an essential part of the healing process and doing so allows you to not keep all your emotions tucked away in glove compartments.;; Swallow your pride. Pour out your heart and drink it down regardless of how bitter it tastes-; trust me it’s a necessary evil.

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  • Rule #6, now that you’ve found yourself- find your wallet,; find a music store. Like the perfect Bloody Mary, a new CD is the best antidote to an emotional hangover. A little gift giving is in order, hell you deserve it, do something for yourself.; Make a date with your new album, listen to the tracks one by one and read the lyrics, get to know it as if it’s a new lover,; so fresh and so clean.

  • Rule #7, see the missing ex link. By going through your older flame love songs, it is easy to see that you will get over your current ex because guess what- you’ve done it before.;; Go back in time, remember all the boys you had crushes on and remind yourself that there were songs like Roxette’s “It must’ve been love”that seriously tortured you back in your early love life. Why not drill it into your head that this too shall pass, by making an ex crush love-song playlist? …. Pretty soon you’ll realize that heartbreak is temporary and can be as laughable as Kevin,; my elementary school crush who lived for Vanilla Ice.; Putting things in perspective will slap a reality back in to your face and this time it won’t be so harsh.

This afternoon’s battle was ignited by Lenny Kravitz’s “Again” at the nail salon on Main St.- I didn’t win but I sure as hell didn’t lose, thank God for Lenny’s pop tunes only running 3:49 minutes long.

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