Thoughts by Richard Bleil
“Bolero” by Ravel has been voted as the best song to which to have sex. I understand; it’s a powerful driving musical piece, but I hate to admit, I’ve never actually experienced it. Maybe someday, although frankly it seems unlikely I’ll find another lover at this point in my life as it is.
But this is not a piece about sex, although sex is a topic that I truly enjoy. At least I think it is. I mean, it’s been awhile, so who knows. As you might imagine, I heard Bolero today on my streaming music service. My tastes in music is quite eclectic; I enjoy classic rock, hard rock, jazz, blues, classical, gospel, just a lot of different genres. Most frequently, I listen to classic rock, or rock that has a classic sound, so it’s not terribly common for my streaming service to play a lot of classical music. So when Bolero started to play, it reminded me of this survey naming it the most popular piece for sex. That, then, made me think of how music often provides a great backdrop to the events of our lives.
I took a road trip not too long ago. On the road, I was listening to one of my new favorite bands, the Pretty Reckless, one of those new bands with a sound that can be described as a cross between classic and hard rock. I swear that as I listened I simply could not keep my foot off of the accelerator. I sped the entire way far more than I like.
Hard rock, like Disturbed, is superb when you’re just downright angry or upset. I especially enjoy their cover songs, such as Shout (Disturbed called their version Shout 2000). I always enjoyed the original Tears for Fears recording of this song, but I never really thought about just how angry this song actually is until Disturbed released their version. As it turns out, this song is actually a protest song. When Disturbed released their version, it was raw, hard, with cutting edges. When I’m upset, I love nothing more than turning this song up until my ears bleed. I don’t really sing along with it so much as shout along, and it’s a marvelous stress relief.
Music sets a tone beautifully. I hate to admit it, but when I do have a woman with me, I love putting on Marvin Gaye. Playing nice and low, with lights set to create a romantic surrounding as Marvin sings “Let’s Get It On” is probably one of the sexiest songs I can think of. His smooth alluring voice sets a tone of desire, as I serve my stuffed Manicotti over candlelight.
Hollywood has known this since movies began. They use music throughout movies to tell people how they are supposed to feel. Fast beat exciting music accompanies chases and action sequences, while upbeat lighthearted music goes along with romantic scenes. In the heart-breaking climax, of course it’s heart wrenching beautiful music to let us know it’s time to cry. Sadly, for me personally it’s all too successful, and I end up weeping like a baby absolutely ruining any headway I’ve made with Marvin Gaye and the beautiful meal before we started watching the movie. Suddenly this woman who barely knows me since it’s our first date has me weeping like a little baby in her lap. It’s really quite embarrassing, and the reason I have no need to have a copy of Bolero.
One thing I enjoy doing is thinking about songs for different situations. Like my ties. I used to wear the same tie every time I gave an exam in my early days of teaching, a black tie with yellow smiley faces covering it, except for the very last one. At the very bottom of the tie, the last smiley face was torn in half and being consumed by the Tasmanian Devil from Bugs Bunny. So, what would be an appropriate song to request for my funeral? My thought is the Coconut Song by Harry Nilson. It holds no particular meaning for me, but it’s more or less antithetical to a funeral service. I think it would be fun to play simply to make people wonder why, of all the sad and soulful music out there, I would choose such a goofy song to play. Well, it’s who I am, frankly. I would rather have people celebrate my life than mourn my death at my funeral, and as for my remains, I’m hoping I’ll be cremated and have my ashes spread over Charlize Theron.