raphael (not a turtle)

01 Sep

Every once in awhile I’ll talk to someone and the topic will turn to music.

“What kind of music are you into right now?” I ask, expecting any number of answers.  I’m never surprised by someone’s musical tastes.  Smooth Jazz?  Great.  Showtunes?  Fabulous.  Experimental Dissonant Finnish Warcries?  Awesome.  Still, though, I’m never quite prepared when people say:

“Oh, I don’t really listen to music.”

Whuzza huh?  Excuse me, I’m sorry.  I thought you just said you don’t listen to music, which would be crazy, because it’s music, right?  Everybody listens to music.  I know, stupid of me to think you would say…oh.  That’s what you did say?  That you don’t listen to music?  Really?  That’s what you said?


At that point, I’m not entirely sure that whoever I’m talking to is human.  If I trick them, I think, possibly they’ll reveal themselves to being some kind of space-unicorn.  A breed of shape-shifting mole person, possibly, that has made their way to the surface and made a fatal error in their human-disguise.  I try to catch them with other tests of their humanity.  “Great, that’s tubular,” I say.  “And what are your thoughts on standard hydration?  Do you drink things?  How about air?  What’s your favorite type of air to breathe?  I usually prefer Clear Mountain but I have those days where Musty Basement really speaks to me.”

It’s about this point that the conversation ends.

I’m totally aware that music isn’t on everyone’s priority list.  A love of music doesn’t always include listening to it.  People don’t have time or money to buy CD’s and IPods.  Their cars don’t have the radio, or when they’re alone at home with that dusty old piano, they rarely think to play or don’t remember how.  I’m aware of this, but it doesn’t make it any easier to understand.

See, I have this theory that music is very much like food.  It’s not the first time anyone’s made the connection:

But here’s where I differ.  When people don’t get enough carbs, they crave bread and pasta and the Olive Garden in general.  Their bodies instinctually seek out what they need.  I find it’s very much the same with music.  Example.

I’ve been hunting for some new music for awhile.  It’s been weeks at least since my ITunes library has elicited that beautiful little chill associated with a really fantastic song, and so when Laura suggested a CD swap, I was enthusiastic about it.  I filled her computer with The Postal Service and old Dishwalla albums from my brother, and little mixes featuring Ingrid Michaelson and Timbaland and Ke$ha, whom Laura reserves a special and hilarious ire for.  On the drive home from her place, I plugged in my IPod and prepared to listen to what she had given me.  I skipped forward to Carla Bruni, because Carla Bruni is a supermodel and the First Lady of France and I am of the firm opinion that it is illegal for people to be talented in too many ways at once, so I had to satisfy myself that she sucked at singing.

Oh my God you guys, she doesn’t.

As soon as I heard Bruni’s Raphael, I felt completely and totally satisfied, like I had needed that song for a long, long time without realizing it.  I listened to it about twelve more times on that drive.  Even though I couldn’t sing along with it I could feel all the chemicals in my brain fizzling and popping in direct reply.  I felt like those people you see in movies, sitting in the symphony audience with their eyes shut, swaying slightly, their hands drifting around in the air like they meant to conduct but had suddenly forgotten to.

Except, y’know, I was in the car with my eyes open and my hands on the steering wheel, because otherwise I would kill people and go to jail forever.

Anyway, point is that when I heard that song, my body immediately shouted, “Yes! That’s what we needed!  That’s what we’ve been looking for!  Give us more of that!”

The confusing thing is that I don’t know that I would have loved Carla Bruni this much a year ago.  At that point, I was really into The Presidents Of The United States Of America.  I had just graduated college.  I missed my friends.  I missed the freedom and excitement of limited responsibility, and so whenever I heard the wild, cheerful strain of Froggy it was like a vitamin shot.  I needed some fun and joy, and I got it out of music.

Now, though, I miss the intimacy of living with my significant other.  The days are getting colder, and a little rainier.  I’m craving a warm body next to me on the couch, and a kitchen full of steam and cooking smells.  As summer starts drifting into winter and I find myself in an empty bed at night, I’m looking for a jolt of sweetness, easy relaxation and romance.  Enter Carla Bruni.

So there.  What I’m trying to say is that songs are vitamins for the soul.  I can always identify my needs by seeing what music strikes a chord* in the pit of my stomach.  Right now it’s Carla Bruni.  During the vacation that we leave for on Thursday morning, it may be Muse or the Moulin Rouge soundtrack.  When Taylor returns from his internship, I may go back to The Presidents, or maybe I’ll meander towards all the quiet guitar-y music that fits winter so well.  I’ll let you know my prescription when it changes.

What kind of music are you into right now?  Does it change a lot?

*HA. HA. HA. HA. HA.

Posted by on September 1, 2010 in Uncategorized


15 responses to “raphael (not a turtle)

  1. knowoneyouknow

    September 1, 2010 at 9:44 am

    damn girl I love your verbiage: 2. manner or style of expressing something in words; wording

    You write like I think. I think like you write. I think therefore I am. And this post is exactly how I feel about Music. And Humans.

    That is all.

    • knowoneyouknow

      September 1, 2010 at 9:49 am

      no wait, that’s not all. It’s me here but my “pseudonym” doesn’t always translate to link to my blog:


  2. Kelly

    September 1, 2010 at 10:46 am

    My taste doesn’t change very rapidly. I am pretty much guarantee that whatever I was listening to two years ago, I still love. Three years, I still pretty much like. Four years, we’re getting a little iffy.

    I like a lot of genres and I don’t really know the names of them all or how to describe them all. But I do know this: If it has a banjo, I probably like it.

    • knowoneyouknow

      September 1, 2010 at 10:51 am

      Banjo = old time-y mountain music, classic folk mountain music, yee-haw toe-tappin’ good times … I only know this because I’ll be taking banjo lessons in the fall. I shit you not. Wish me luck.

      • knowoneyouknow

        September 1, 2010 at 11:39 pm

        …and Blue Grass, don’t forget Blue Grass y’all. As in The Blue Ridge Mountains. Lots of Banjos there!

  3. PlantingOaks

    September 1, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    millions of peaches. peaches for me.

    Strange. I started crushing on that group at about the same time, right around graduating college. For me, that was more like four years ago. You may be onto something.

    I’ll go through phases where I’m really freaking out over a certain group, (bach cello sonatas, zz top, yoko kanno…) but a lot of the time I just listen to whatever’s on the radio and don’t give it much thought. So I can see what people are saying when they claim they don’t really listen to music. If you asked me, there would be three possible answers

    -err, nothing in particular

    -I’ve had ‘killing in the name of’ stuck in my head from three days and am absolutely loving it, but am afraid if I say that you’ll ask me to explain why, or know anything else about the genre, either of which I really can’t do

    -the long winded ‘everything and nothing’ response here, which is a bit of a deep dive off an innocent question, that I’m afraid would freak out some perfectly nice casual acquaintances.

  4. shakinghandswithtoday

    September 1, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I feel exactly the same way about music. My tastes are all over the place and that makes me happy. But recently I’ve been craving something new. Your post inspired me to check out Carla Bruni, and now I fear that I am in your debt forever. It’s amazing and fits my craving for something new perfectly. Thanks!

  5. Clawmom

    September 1, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I like this quote: “songs are vitamins for the soul.” It would be good on a t-shirt.

    Speaking of things that go on t-shirts…have you seen
    ? Daily quotes from a guy who says interesting/humorous things in his sleep. ( The audio clips are fun because he has a British accent and the tone of voice can add a lot.) Some of the more popular quotes end up on t-shirts. (I don’t remember where I first ran into the link – I hope I’m not returning a suggestion to it’s source!)

  6. Brittney

    September 1, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I like this post! And that song is lovely. Lately I’ve been realizing that the more I listen to the Fleet Foxes, the better I feel about everything. I think a part of it is the association I have with them & romance, and the loneliness and the upcoming winter… All I know is that they fix all of my moods. 🙂

    • knowoneyouknow

      September 1, 2010 at 6:04 pm

      Dear God.

      Thank you Brittney and Jess. I’ve just Googled Fleet Fox music — and listening to it is making “all the chemicals in my brain fizz and pop in direct reply.” More Please.

      just what I needed! 🙂

  7. CK

    September 1, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Love it! I linked this on the CKTK Twitter (@CKTKmusic). I’m sure you don’t mind.

  8. outdoorexplorer

    September 1, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    I’ve been on a country kick recently. I think because it is such a very American type of music. And they sing a lot about home and whatnot ^^

    Loved the post btw.

  9. supesukauboi

    September 2, 2010 at 2:03 am

    What kind of music I crave depends on what I’m doing, or perhaps how I feel about doing it. Example: I’m always stoked about driving ANYWHERE, so I pump up my “Driving” playlist with Rise Against and other roaring, high-octane rock groups and songs, blazing down the road in a fearsome gray streak. Blues songs and the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack are for when I want to just chill. Love songs to wallow. Pop and other guilty pleasures to make a boring task more entertaining/dance ridiculously when no one is watching. And rarest of all, for those times when I want to do nothing but sit and really listen to the music, there’s no substitute for classical.

    A co-worker recently said she doesn’t listen to music, and my assessment of her went from “attractive” to “odd” in the blink of an eye.

  10. Anonymous

    September 2, 2010 at 11:08 am

    I like Carla —- wow, thanks.
    I know what you mean by vitamins……I love this song by Lucy Kaplansky, “Guinevere.” By the end of a listening I am transported to the right place.

  11. Nikki

    September 7, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Hey Jess, it’s me, Hillsboro Nikki if you couldn’t tell. I also think it’s strange when people say they don’t listen to music. I can understand you don’t love it, but you have to hear it sometimes. Radio, in the mall, somewhere? I know I couldn’t live without it. The worst I think I’ve ever seen was this kid who I had to interview for one of those get used to your classmates bullcrap they still make you do even though your in college. I asked him what he hates and he said music. I said what kind? He said just music in general, I’d prefer it to be totally quiet. I never talked to him after that. I can understand quiet time but music never ever? Too weird for me and I’m pretty tolerant.


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