I pulled out an old favorite CD from my collection last night. I hadn’t listened to much U2 lately, and I found myself really craving a dose of The Joshua Tree. This is probably the third CD I ever bought, somewhere in late 1992, and you can tell — the jewel case is made of much thicker plastic than you find these days, and the CD itself has just the Island brandmark, the name of the album, and a track listing printed on it. None of the all-covering artwork that is so prevalent these days (although Achtung Baby had that as early as 1991).

Listening to this CD is like spending time with an old, dear friend. I remember buying it, playing it once or twice, and putting it away for a few months. I was more interested in Achtung at the time, and I was also in the middle of a small CD purchasing spree (we’re talking maybe seven of them), so there were several different albums that I was popping into my boombox. What happened next was interesting: I eventually amassed four or five U2 albums, and in the evenings after school I would just start to play them one after the other. I’m not sure what drew me to U2 (other than “pop culture”) but the endless repetition never really got old to me. Back then, while I liked the music, I never really identified with most of the songs. I could feel some of what was being expressed but I never really understood them. I thought I understood, but I really didn’t. And even through college, where I’d play The Joshua Tree now and then, I felt but didn’t understand. Although I thought I did.

Something’s different this time around. I listen and understand what’s being said, and the CD now elicits a very emotional response from inside me. All of the loneliness, sadness, and introspection just hits home more than it has in the past. So does the optimism, what little of it there is in The Joshua Tree. I can close my eyes and see the vast desert on the album cover, with the occasional joshua tree sprouting from the dust. It’s odd to think that four years of “real life” could do this to me; perhaps I really have grown, after all.

Life is an odd journey of both joy and sadness. As you grow older, the infant-like wonder and excitement of everyday life fade as more and more things become familiar. At the same time, the emotional journey seems to go ever higher and lower. As one’s accomplishments grow larger, so do the failures…and likewise intensify the emotions one feels along the way. I now see how music can capture those feelings, and how one grows to understand and appreciate art in all its forms. Just as an adult revisits an art gallery he once saw as a child with totally different eyes, one hears new things in music that simply don’t exist to a child or adolescent. It’s an interesting and weird revelation, one that brings up many questions…and makes me want to see what else I’ve missed in my CD collection.

You know, it occurred to me that I never shared our trip to the Bahamas, and now I also have some photos from our trip to Luray that ought to be put online. I’ll get around to those this week.

No Comments so far
Leave a comment



Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)