I’m one of those people that picks out music according to my mood. That used to be a pretty stable thing— pretty much Kenny Chesney across the board. But lately it has been a little more complicated.
Some songs I am embarrassed to say I even like, and when I text Christina Yang the album cover she just says, “Um, no…” but I can’t help it. So then every time I listen to that particular song or album I can feel her judgment staring at me in disgust. Examples: The time I bought a Boyz II Men album at midnight and thought it was the best idea ever to share with my best friend, and also Spice Girls (the lyrics are catchy— don’t judge me), and Mariah Carey (I don’t care how many times she lip-syncs. I will love her forever).
And also audiobooks. Yes, I play audiobooks in a Jeep Wrangler and I am not ashamed. Not even when Rambo told me I should have my “Jeep Card” revoked for listening to Jurassic Park. A sort of new thing, though, is that now instead of using music to improve my mood, I think I’ve come to the point where my music selection can be used to predict my mood.
“Drown Out the Day” is a playlist I made when things were sort of normal-stressful. Long day at the office. Kids driving me nuts. Trying to figure out life. It was a catch-all of Adele, Brett Eldredge, Dierks Bentley, Toby Keith, and Taylor Swift. Those were the good old days.
“The Great American Love Story” is one I listen to when I’m trying my hand at writing fiction. Has a lot of Josh Radin, Chris Young, Goo Goo Dolls. Happy music. Stuff that makes you look on the bright side of life and feels like being at the beach. (Side note— I have written and discarded 150 pages of a novel, which only Christina Yang has ever read. It has been 6 years. I still can’t figure out how it should end. Or even middle, actually. Yet it continues to keep me up at night).
Now things have taken a turn. Instead of play lists full of different artists, I basically commit to one artist or group depending on the mood I’m in. It has gotten to the point that I play a sort of game and text Christina Yang or Lexi Gray and have them interpret my music-moods for me.
For example, I have always hated listening to Miranda Lambert. I felt like her music was angry and depressing, and a little too nasal. Now, “The Weight of These Wings” gets played over and over, along with “Mama’s Broken Heart” and “Heart Like Mine.” I freaking love her. I think that started one day when I was mad about something. I asked Lexi Gray what she thought and she says, “I think you must be feeling sassy. Look out world.”
Then there’s my love affair with all things Jack Johnson. That started right before mom died when I thought I already knew what real stress was. He’s so mellow and calming. He has good social messages in some of the songs, but overall it’s just this vibe of mellow-ness that calms me down and helps me see that life really isn’t that bad. I asked my brother about it, and he said I was the only loser in the world who didn’t love Jack Johnson already. Who knew?
More recently, I decided I love Eric Church. This was a little more worrisome for Christina Yang who has known me forever and has never heard me listen to Eric Church ever. She thinks I might be on the verge of planning some sort of rebellion.
I didn’t start to worry until this morning when I got up and bought something truly humiliating. I mean, who doesn’t love Mama Mia? But even I started to worry about my mental health when I was blasting it this morning on the drive into work, Jeep tops out, heated seats on because I’m that girl. I did stop myself short of getting the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack, but it’s still a real possibility. Not sure what the fact that I’m moving on to show-tunes says about me. Don’t say you haven’t been warned. Am I the only one who does this? The good news is, it’s still at least 3 steps above how I’m feeling when I resort to YA fiction on Audible. What do you listen to when life gets to be too much?