Music means a lot to me.
I’m not unique in that. Music means a lot to a lot of people.
We grow up listening to music our parents like. Then we listen to what our older siblings like. And we listen to what our friends like.
We listen to the radio and we listen to what we find online. Eventually, we make our own way, and discover the music that truly speaks to us.
Sometimes we discover a new band, only to discard them when they become too popular, and everyone else is listening to them, too.
And sometimes we like something that doesn’t quite fit, or is some kind of guilty pleasure that we’re almost embarrassed to admit liking.
One of the things I really love about music is the way it can mean so many things to each of us. It can be something you associate with a particular time or event. It can be something you connect with because of what the lyrics mean, or at least, what they mean to you.
It can even simply remind you of a friend or family member who introduced you to it.
Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” does a lot of those things for me.
Originally, the song evoked thoughts of my brother, who first introduced me to the band when we were kids (he was a cool teenager and I was maybe eleven).
For a while, years later, it brought with it a touch of melancholy with the passing of Freddie Mercury.
In the 1990’s, thanks to “Wayne’s World”, it became a hit again and ever since, makes you at least consider banging your head when you hear it in the car.
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More recently, it’s become a mental tool I use to get rid of other songs that get stuck in my head (which I don’t want to have stuck there).
Countless articles have been written about it. Some are certain they know what it means; others make guesses; others admit they have no idea.
I think that’s brilliant. And it’s true of this song as well as so many others.
We can all decide for ourselves what our songs mean to us. And you know what? When we do that, we are never wrong.
Consider that for a moment.
Your rent is due by the 5th. When the needle gets close to the E, you have to get gas. If you want to keep that job, you have to make those calls, go to those meetings and finish those reports. There’s little room for interpretation.
But there’s still plenty of your life that is up to you. And your interpretation.
Is it a comedy or parody? Is it a tragedy? Or is it just a space-filler?
No one else can tell you. Not your mom, not your boss, not your spirit guide. Not even Freddie Mercury.
It’s all up to you.
For some, that’s daunting. We want the answer or the recipe or the step-by-step instructions.
For others, it’s exciting. Throw caution to the wind, ignore the rules and tomorrow could be anything.
For most of us, we’re somewhere in the middle.
There have been weeks where I’ve started off not sure how I’d ever make it through. How can this be my life? What happened to bring me to such a trying time?
And there have been times when I’ve felt so blessed I was almost worried I was dreaming.
Is this the real life? Is it just fantasy?
We may not want to admit it, but we’ve all been there.
And I think music helps.
When times are tough, I can be eleven again, listening with my brother to his new records, and let that feeling of family and nostalgia wash over me.
I can also screw up my courage and let the headbanging begin.
The choice is mine. What’s yours?