The Perfect Drug

When I say music is my drug of choice, I’m not making an offhand statement. I don’t know how it is for other people, but music truly is a drug for me. The effects it can have are as real and intense as if I ate some speed or smoked a big ass blueberry blunt. All I have to do is jam the ear buds as deep as they’ll go and find that fine line between loud enough and ouch-that-hurts.

If I tried to list all the songs that get me high, I’d be here all day. Narrowing it down wasn’t easy, but these are the best representations.

Nine Inch Nails – “Closer”

I’m mostly indifferent to the first 3:00 of this song. It’s good, yeah, loud and raunchy and emotional, but it’s nothing earth-shattering. If I’m going to stick with the dope metaphors (and hey, why not?), it’s low-grade coke heavily cut with headache powders.

But then the burning screaming singing stops and it starts to cook down into something far more powerful. By 4:25, he might as well be lighting the pipe for me; the only difference between listening to the last 1:48 and freebasing cocaine is I don’t throw up after every rush. All the benefits, none of the shitty side effects.

Hevia – “Busindre Reel”

Ever have one of those times when you pop into the bar/party just for a second with no intentions of drinking, and you end up accidentally drunk and having an awesomely grand time? That’s this song. It starts off low-key and welcoming, then offers you a drink so tasty, you must have another. And another. And omg this is the best time ever!

The Chemical Brothers – “The Test”

The acid of the list, of course, given the band name and the line “did I pass the acid test?” Like acid, it begins with expanded consciousness, but by the end of the roll,  learning has fallen by the wayside and I’m in the corner, tripping and dancing my ass off, plugged into the universe and crackling with energy. I go places listening to this song.

Porcupine Tree – Trains

Why try to get Demerol from the doctor when I can listen to this song? It not only gives me a beautiful buzz, it wraps me up in a security blanket and takes me to a place where I don’t feel the pain. It makes me dream, then sends me to new lands to discover.

Pharrell Williams – Happy

Like my beloved blueberry blunts, this song has quickly become a vital part of my self-care routine. No matter how bad life or fibromyalgia is kicking my ass, all I have to do is listen to this song and I’m dancing in joy.

When it came time to pick a video for this, I decided to check out 24 Hours of Happy, Pharrell William’s 24-hour music video for the song. I thought it would start at the very beginning; instead it starts at your current time. For me it was the 9:04 a.m. mark. The timing was perfect, or uncanny, or a direct message from the universe, I don’t even know. All I do know is I expected to see Pharrell Williams dancing, or a group of various young people — standard pop music people — and what I got was a woman roughly my own age, who actually looks a lot like some of the women in my family. I kept waiting for something ignorant to happen, some point and laugh aspect, something to highlight the absurdity of having a middle-aged, absolutely ordinary woman dance in a big-money national video. It kept not happening, and with every jiggle of her middle-aged arms I found myself grinning wider and wider. By the end of her segment, she’s in a dark area, with her face mostly obscured by shadows (or just my old lady eyes, whichever). As I watched, I realized how easily I could see myself in her, that I really could be watching a video of myself dancing. Days later, I still can’t figure out why it was powerful enough to make me cry like a baby, but I suspect it has something to do with either positive representation or just plain, old-fashioned hope. If she can get up and dance, maybe I can, too.

At any rate, enjoy the video of not-me dancing to one of the best songs in the universe.

By Brenda

40-something-something stay home mom, floating somewhere between traditional and strange. I’m addicted to music, making things and my computer.

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