Music is a time machine. It paints so vividly a portrait of a time, and after that time has passed and you hear that song again, it's like taking out a photograph. But it's beyond photographic-- it captures not just the sound of a time passed but the whole experience on the cinema screen of the mind's eye.
It goes beyond being just the soundtrack of our lives, it's like a photo album full of little triggers to set loose a barrage of memories-- some good, some bad, but like a warm quilt, more often than not it's comforting.
So, as I sit here typing and listening to Def Leppard's Hysteria I feel like I'm in sixth grade all over again. I see the jean jackets, the bad hair, and spending weekends with friends watching MTV (back when they still actually played music). I remember how this was one of THE albums to own. Along with Guns 'n' Roses' Appetite for Destruction, and INXS' Kick-- they were for us what Boston's debut, Billy Joel's The Stranger, and Frampton Comes Alive had been for the teens of the late seventies. I remember when I could tune into MTV on a brisk fall day in October or November of 1988 and see Chicago's Look Away, Escape Club's Wild Wild West (remember that one?), Def Leppard's Rocket, Armageddon It, Pour Some Sugar On Me, and Love Bites, Guns 'n' Roses Welcome to the Jungle and Sweet Child o' Mine, and INXS Need You Tonight and Never Tear Us Apart... I even remember some of those musicians whose music didn't quite stand the test of time-- Boy Meets Girl, Information Society, Jodi Watley, When In Rome, the list goes on and on....
There are those songs that weren't just songs-- they were anthems for our youth-- Asia's Heat of the Moment, Def Leppard's Pour Some Sugar On Me, Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit... we all had our favorites, the ones our mental jukebox would wear the grooves out on.
And no matter what happens in my life, the turns it takes the direction it goes in I know that music is always there. Always there to take me back to simpler times, to better times, to get me through the rough spots by reminding me I've been through rough spots before and gotten through them okay, so why should these brand spanking new rough spots be any different?
I know people say you shouldn't look back too often, because when you spend too much time looking back you miss what's coming up in front of you. But sometimes you have to look back to find that strength to get through the times that are a little more riddled with potholes and pratfalls. Knowing you've survived before is sometimes just enough to help you survive yet again.