Because the Devil’s Music Might Just Save Your Soul



Very few things in life are better than listening to music alone in my car.

It has never been on a top ten list or anything, but that was clearly an oversight. I just forget sometimes. The biggest thing I have in common with my husband is that music will trump everything else when given a chance. And lately we haven’t been giving it a chance. It often gets replaced by secondary loves.

For example, Dave is completely focused on artwork right now. He has partnered with a friend on a comic book project, and his recording studio is getting dusty. Meanwhile, here I am stringing words together. Here, there and everywhere– as if anyone really needs to know how I feel about life. But these things are very close secondary loves, so they do hold us for a while.

I used to be better at combining them.

But it’s the car ride that gets me. Sometimes I drive to work in silence, but it makes no sense. Technology is too perfect now for driving in silence. So I plug in my phone and listen to something. Today I actually wanted to wait in a drive-thru longer so I wouldn’t get home too soon. I wanted more time to listen; to think about what the world is like inside that particular soundtrack. Because the world can look and feel different when you change what it sounds like. 

It seems silly to say that, doesn’t it? It gets worse. I have come to realize that music is going to save my life someday. Not in that way where people end up on a better path because of music. I would have survived without a talent or love for music. So far. But I know that eventually I am going to need the effect it has on me to make it through something. I don’t know what, but I know it is inevitable.

Okay, so maybe I’m that girl. I’m a little nerdy about music (and then I met a man with the same tendencies). These days it feels more like a secret, rather than the identity it once was. I don’t constantly post song links on Facebook from bands you have never heard of, but maybe I want to. That’s my crowd. You might as well know about it now.

But don’t run away just yet. I have more to confess.

If you read my posts even occasionally, you may also know that I like The Beatles. It’s the band that everyone has heard of. That’s not it. I am the girl who stood up and sang “I Am the Walrus” at a slumber party when I was thirteen (maybe not the most strategic social move in 1989). I may or may not have an extensive collection of memorabilia which includes items such as a Beatles hair brush and a Beatles ice cream wrapper. I have a full library of Beatles and John Lennon books, magazines, and albums.

Some of my collection.


I spent too much money on that Flip Your Wig Game.

(I would have spent more.)

A Hard Day’s Night is my favorite movie. I know things about John Lennon that no one should actually know about anyone or anything. If I won the lottery, I would definitely splurge on a pointless, extravagant item– and it would be Beatles related. I keep up on what’s currently available (just in case), and I don’t even play the lottery.

What I am saying is that I am way past the point of being just a fan, and I haven’t seen that stop on the road since 1980. If you are still reading, thanks for letting me get that out. You might as well know everything. And for my friends whose music snobbery prevents them from enjoying The Beatles– I expect you to remain silent. It can have no impact on me now.

But this isn’t about The Beatles. They have been a constant in my life, and the familiarity I have with those songs makes their music a unique source of comfort. They were a beginning for me. I love a wide range of music, depending on my mood. The list of favorites is long, but I am a rock and roll girl at heart. Some days I need something else. I think songs are the best form of time travel, and every time and place requires its own mode of transportation.

Music can alter your perception and emotion– and that ain’t nothin. The greatness of music is so cliché that there have been times when I suffered with my thoughts for days before finally taking time out to listen to something that made all the difference. I never believe it matters….until it does.

When the next big devastation hits me, as life so kindly promises, I am going to need to remember this. I may lock myself in my room with a record player and some good speakers for a month of staring at the ceiling. Or I will need to find the right road trip. God, I hope I remember, because I won’t want to waste time forgetting or not believing it will make any difference. If you are looking to help me out when my world falls apart– send me some gas money and your best mix tape.

And don’t send me happy songs. Sad songs complement a sad mood and allow you to love the sadness for a little while. Read that again, because someday you are going to need to know that. Trust me. That’s the part that’s going to save my life, I think. Loving the sadness, even a little, will be the difference that keeps me from spiraling off the cliff or drowning. It will make me happy to feel something, rather than just desperately searching for numb.

In the meantime, I need to get back to making music a priority. Right now I am just fitting it in. That’s not enough. And I am a complete failure at exposing Teghan to what is clearly in her genes. She’s in bed right now. Why isn’t Revolver playing in her room?

Music is going to unlock something in that child. I just know it.

And not because we sing songs together, or they teach her how to play the recorder at school (and they will try, eventually). She needs some time alone with music, too. At night, right before falling asleep; in those moments when she slows down and pays attention to the world around her. There is something all too familiar when I watch her listen to music. It’s a road to somewhere for her, and we need to help her piece that map together every day.

So go create a long playlist of your favorite songs. The songs that make you feel something, even if it’s bad. The ones that change the atmosphere, complement a mood, bring on nostalgia…. or just the ones that define the real reason rock and roll is called the devil’s music. (I would elaborate, but my parents and my grandma will probably read this.)

Some of you have already made that playlist. Some of you have a hundred different playlists. Some of you prefer vinyl, and only in a particular room. You regularly rearranged your records into lists long before you ever saw High Fidelity. I know that quite a few of you are way weirder about music than I am, and I love you for that.

Now lock yourself in, or go for a drive…. and change how you feel about life for a while.


10 thoughts on “Because the Devil’s Music Might Just Save Your Soul

  1. I am SO in love with this blog, I want to print it out! You have taken every emotion I feel about music and the transformation it can have on ones life and put it on paper…, my monitor. I want to hug you right now and I have to admit, I am a little teary. Music is HUGE in my life, I can never imagine it not being there for me. You mentioned the style of music can change your scenery….I get it. Sometimes I drive home, listening to classical ( no sh*t lol) just to unwind from the chaos of work. When I’m happy, it’s good old rock n’ roll. When I’m angry it’s Megadeth or Metallica ( old stuff of course). I just cannot say enough about this blog! I think I love you! LOL

  2. Beautiful sentiments, beautifully written. “Sad songs compliment a sad mood and allow you to love the sadness for a little while”–gee whiz, that’s perfect. Thanks for sharing! ~m

  3. I’m so out of music lately. My commutes are now filled with spoken word as I compulsively load every possible audiobook available from my library on my iphone. It makes the commute SO much better.

    Even now I’m wondering what’s going to happen next as Silas and Vedonia flee the chaos of the Gladiator competition….*bites nails*

    • I don’t know how I traveled before the iphone. I have lots of memories of books of cds and late night road trips searching for good talk radio (I knew there was a reason all my information about Y2K came from Art Bell). Now we have options! It’s overwhelming. So many things to listen to, so little time commuting. I need more road trips in my life 🙂

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