Today I did something for the first time in my college career – I dropped a class. I was getting hardly anything out of the course, and I knew I had room left in coming semesters to make up this one last gen ed requirement. On the surface, it might seem like an easy choice.
Yet this felt like a huge, life-changing decision, and ever since I’d seriously started considering dropping the class, I tried to be logical, weighing pros and cons. More than that, though, I found myself feeling prematurely guilty for dropping the class, trying to convince myself that if I just worked really hard, the class would become enjoyable, and I would maybe learn a thing or two from it. I became really damn emotional about the whole thing. Blame the mysteries of the female psyche or whatever you want to blame, but I was having way too many feelings about dropping a class I despised.
Still riding the emotional roller coaster, immediately after turning in the withdrawal form, I had an “oh-shit-what-have-I-done” moment. It was brief, but it was there. It was the kind of regret that told me I was wasting my parents’ hard-earned college savings, that I was taking the easy way out, that I should just suck it up and keep going.
But then I had another moment. It was a huge sigh of relief, the thought that I could now do things with my newly-free blocks of time on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30-7:45 PM. It was the realization that I could focus on my other four courses and my music classes without having to worry about this buzzkill of a class. It was the fact that I could now work evening shifts some days a week either at my internship or job. It was freedom. And more than anything, it was a feeling of pure fun. I became that weird person who smiles at anyone and everyone in public. I was practically jumping for joy. I’d made the right decision after a bit too much deliberation.
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You’re probably wondering why I spent 300+ words discussing an overly emotional experience that appears to have nothing to do with music. It’s a stretch of a connection, but I think I know of an album that describes similar emotions, though maybe out of order. I thought about this today as I got home after my trip to the dean’s office – I had no idea what to listen to. I settled for the piece I’m playing with my chamber group, but the question of what album could represent this jumble of emotions bugged me all day.
image from centripetalnotion.com/
Feist’s The Reminder (2007) is all at once complex, intelligent, well-thought-out, honest, straightforward, and fun. Obviously Feist’s album is a masterpiece and my emotional experience a farce, but as for an album that represents the whole process, this is the best example that comes to mind.
The Reminder is full of tracks that are so deeply personal and so deeply Feist without being weak or off-putting in a way that I think some female-driven music can be. “So Sorry” is about regret and a sense of the unknown – We’re slaves to our own forces/we’re afraid of our emotions. “I Feel It All,” (because I really did feel it all) “My Moon My Man,” and “Sea Lion Woman” are upbeat and fun, all with an air of mystery. “The Park” is at once emotional and feminine and strikingly logical in the saddest of ways. “Past in Present” carries a lyrical and relative musical simplicity while portraying the great gift of knowledge from past experiences. Relevant comments are admittedly failing to come to me on the topics of “1234” and a few of the other tracks, but “Intuition” has an obvious link, perhaps more than any other track.
Even if my connections are too simplistic and my story uninteresting, I hope you still try to listen to The Reminder. Not only does it happen to convey my recent experiences, but it is an absolute gem of an album and is hands-down one of the best of the 21st century. Additionally, a friend of mine once told me that this album would be the perfect soundtrack to that complex process known as falling in love.
So go find it on Spotify, or Youtube, or iTunes, or whatever- just listen to this. Give it time, and you might also find yourself smiling shamelessly.
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I’m going to see Sharon Van Etten at the 9:30 Club on Thursday evening. Expect a review sometime this weekend.
The AMPlify column will run in the guide this week. I’m really excited about it, so check back on Friday for that.