Music as a Coping Mechanism

When I was younger there was a guy whose songs sometimes really resonated in my heart, and I really never gave any thought to it.  You know, we like music for different reasons. The lyrics, the rhythm, the dynamics, the melody, the chord structures, the vocal quality, the emotion.  The memories it evokes.  These things catch a song in your head, sometimes they come back to haunt you as earworms, and sometimes they play overhead at your home improvement or grocery store.  I heard the songs and really liked them back then.  I’m a station flipper, so if it doesn’t hit me or I’m not interested, I move on.  There’s a clean feeling to the music, a kind of precision, or neatness, and yet the emotion of the lyrics is anything but tidy.

I think that’s why I liked the songs.  They reflected the present reality, and gave me a little hope in spite of circumstances.  At the time I didn’t realize I was riding emotional waves.  Thank GOD I know now so I have told my kids about it.  But back then I was just a victim of it and I didn’t know anything about it.  I have learned a few coping mechanisms, but they don’t fix everything.  They help me not murder people.

I like music.  My daughter does come by interrupting my music with hers, but I usually acquiesce.  My son hasn’t caught on to that magic yet

Unwanted noise is such an irritant.  Interruptions, irritant.  Nagging, irritant. Feeling a lack of accomplishment plus hopelessness because of interruptions and distractions, irritant. Getting underpaid for the experience and being told I’m not worth paying more, there’s a reason to commit murder if I ever knew one. It probably won’t come to that. I have coffee. I’m just having an irritated day, so whenever I get an uninterrupted break I’m going to sit through both of these two songs.  And try to sneak in a third.  I wish I could use speakers and just listen, but in the office, others can hear and so I can’t blast Metallica at 11 out of 10 volume.  That’s why I said “unwanted” noise.  The woman gossipping and carrying on about her personal business and her family dramas.  Is there one of these in every office?  I hope Mrs. M isn’t that person in hers.  Honey, start a blog and shut the fuck up, we have work to do and nobody here cares about anything but work, unless it’s free food or drinks or a reason to take an extra break.  And, as you spend so much time chatting up your neighbors how is it you still have time to do your job?  If you have time for all that, can I get your job and let you have mine because I don’t have the leisure or your cash flow.  The man sneezing ridiculously loudly instead of fucking stifling it.  He’s the one who tells everyone to keep the volume down.  Fuck the Flying Spaghetti Monster, buy a box of tissues and some allergy meds and shut YOUR fucking unnecessary noise down, Mr I’ve-got-a-fucking-tree-in-my-eye-here-let-me-help-you-with-your-speck.  Didn’t anyone ever teach you that you choose how to sneeze, and you can go loud or soft and still get it out?  Interruptions, the stupid required login protocols repeating every fucking thirty minutes, 8 hours a day, that’s 16 times I have to  log back in because the thing shuts itself off WHILE I’M WORKING ON IT, WITH CLIENTS.  And then there are the servers that randomly decide to fuck up.  Needless to say, any time I have to contact I.T., I’ve got a chip on my shoulder they will NEVER understand because I don’t have time to discuss it.  I tried, and management didn’t care enough to fix the little things that irritate everyone but represent a minor crisis, 16 times a day, for me. Monthly password updates for all the platforms I have to use. And emails. I have enough emails, can I please opt out of hearing about what’s on the overpriced and undersized lunch menu, and whoever the fuck is getting promotions, because it isn’t me?

I’ve said all this realizing my tree is this blog, but for some reason I justify myself writing it.  Sorry, everyone.

I’ve never met Howard Jones.  That would be neat.  (Do I sound just a tiny bit like a fangirl to you?) As an adult, with present knowledge, I would ask if he is bipolar or knows someone who is. Or if he has depression.  Maybe it’s just he’s brilliant musically and his co-writer has the experience.  Or maybe it’s both of them.  These lyrics, I can’t escape he’s talking about depression even though the music has all of those catchy elements that make it likeable and distracting.  Maybe the distraction is what my brain held on to when I wasn’t really paying attention to the lyrics.  And maybe the lyrics taught me something about the circumstances, my emotional states, and life in general.

How do you write lyrics like this? They’re brilliant. This is why I’m a fan of so many of you poets, and why I sometimes have a go at it myself.

Why is it so clean sounding to me? Maybe it was just a consequence of being from the just-barely-techno musical production style of the day. Consider this:

And, in keeping with the random nature of my ramblings, thank God for chocolate.  These Twix bars are medicinal, I swear.

If you liked these two as much as I enjoyed his whole catalogue, look up Howard Jones’ discography, and give a listen.  “Throw off your mental chains.” That one, I opine, it’s not great for actually practical, useful, instructional content, but God, it’s a lovely thought.  So much great music.  Back in the day, I bought his CDs.  I imagine you can get the songs on the modern digital venues still.

When you feel like “Things can only get better,” maybe you’re right.  Which gave me something to hope for, something to look forward to on my unseen wave.  Music just helps me cope with it, and looking back it always has.  As for now, I thought I was coming out of this funk, but as it turns out, not yet.  Maybe my emotional waveforms are more complex than a simple up and down.

Maybe it’s more like a roller coaster.

Oh, that’ll take you back, if you’re older.  If you’re too young, like me (wink, wink!),  to remember it on your IPods and computers, (SHUT UuUP!) let the music take you back anyway.  I may not have confessed it, but the more musically savvy of you may already be picking up on a trend: I like trumpets. Brass in general. Right there at the beginning of Things Can Only Get Better, right there at the beginning of Love Roller Coaster, just, yes. And I can’t play a single wind or brass instrument, the tragedy. I REALLY like musical solos and interludes, YES. I’m a fan of some music by the group Yes, too.

If you didn’t see through my darkness, seeing it’s pretty thick sometimes, here’s a Flashlight to help.

Hm. No horns AT ALL.  I know how to fix that.  Scottish funk:

Pick Up the Pieces.  Sometimes that’s all you can do when life breaks.  Oh, you think I’m kidding about them being Scottish?  Not kidding.  That funk was fueled by haggis.


Instead of haggis, can I have some more chocolate?  Here, have some yourself.  I brought extra.

4 thoughts on “Music as a Coping Mechanism

  1. Today’s a down kind of day, doesn’t help it’s been raining several days straight and you know, life. But hey, I *sound* all fine and dandy, I guess. So maybe I’m not that down. Bleah, meh, eh, It distills down, doesn’t it?


  2. Hope your day gets better! Thanks for the trip down memory lane, I remember grooving back in the day to all these songs. Loved hearing Wolfman Jacks voice again! Love your music choices for today!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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