I’ve been listening to The Beatles’ White Album in the car for the past couple days. Since I haven’t listened to it for a long time, there are songs that ambush me. I forgot Don’t Pass Me By even existed, but when it came on I could still sing it verbatim. The Beatles have been with me since I was a child. Their songs are in my bones.
It’s an interesting thing to grow up with a band. I didn’t understand what many of the later Beatles songs really meant when I was a kid. I don’t mean that they were too psychedelic or cryptic or sophisticated. I mean I just wasn’t old enough to relate.
As a kid, I liked the songs because … well, because the Beatles just rock … but I didn’t have the same experiential perspective that they, as grown men, did. Listen to Happiness is a Warm Gun when you’re fifteen and then listen to it when you’re thirty. There’s a conceptual depth that can only be understood with the accumulation of years.
It’s even more interesting to grow up with an artist who is in your age group. The Beatles were adults before I was even born. Tori Amos, on the other hand, is only a few years older than I. I’ve listened to her since I was in college and I always look forward to hearing her latest because it’s written from a perspective that seems similar to mine.
I didn’t realize that her music was changing right along with me until my mid-thirties. When I did, I began to feel that her older stuff opened a window to my younger self every time I listened to it. I don’t mean to imply that we had similar events happen in our lives. I make it a point to know as little as possible about the personal lives of artists. I mean those songs meant certain things to the young woman I was.
If you’ve listened to Tori, you know her lyrics are generally very poetic, so many interpretations are possible. I like to say I don’t know what she’s talking about and I know exactly what she’s talking about. She just gets me. And continues to get me as I get older. It’s a bond that took me by surprise.
That’s one of the really great things about music. It’s equally valuable to the creators and the listeners. The relationship enriches both groups though they may never know each other personally. Think of it. Millions of people communicating and understanding every day just by turning on the radio. I love music!