What Your Favorite Album Says About You

It feels hopeful and sad. It hurts. It’s beautiful. It hurts.

There’s a break in the conversation when a deep, dreamy dance number comes on. It’s not entirely out of place in this particular bar — far from it. This is a room full of hipster kids and pool players and music lovers. Everybody seems to know this song except for me. I sit back in my chair, the same wobbly one I always seem to end up finding, and disappear for a minute. This girl is singing about memories and letting go and holding on and love and while the music feels bright and comforting in a very unusual way, it’s breaking my heart. It feels hopeful and sad. It hurts. It’s beautiful. It hurts.

He slides an arm around my back and his voice drops for the first time all night. We talk about the song. He argues with one of our friends over which album the song is from. We’re all a few drinks in.

“I went through a phase where I just listened to this album over and over and over,” he tells me. His friend tells me how much he disliked this song in particular, and how he was subjected to the nine minute version frequently, and how he never complained because he was such a good friend. “I remember listening to it over and over again because it sounded like the beat of my heart.” The comparison is striking.

“Yeah?”

He smiles. “Yeah.”

He was working overnights at the time, so nights alone during the week were the norm. The next night was one of those. I pulled out my good headphones and laid down on the bed, in the dark like I used to when I was in high school. I didn’t know what to expect. Maybe I wanted to give it my full attention. Maybe that’s a bit silly. Maybe I don’t care so much as I think I do.

“It sounded like the beat of my heart.”

That’s honest. That’s sincere. That’s vulnerable in a way that I want so badly to be but am so, so afraid to be.

The music is uniformly bright and inspiring and gut wrenching. It makes me want to dance. It makes me want to cry. This album is breaking my heart.

There’s a place where music hits me that makes me feel vulnerable in a way that I don’t allow myself with other people. It’s hurtful and sad and gut-wrenching and brings me to tears. I don’t know what it is, or if it’s universal or if there’s maybe just something wrong with me and the way I think. I don’t know if there’s an album that has this particular effect on everybody, but I’d like to think there is, and this album, I guess, is proof.

And I listened to that same album, and I felt the same way.

S: It’s amazing.
817: I know this.
817: Glad you’re enjoying it!
S: It’s almost making me a little sad. Emotional, I guess.
817: Ok, wow. I know what you mean.
S: I know what you meant when you were talking about it last night now.
S: Night, handsome.
817: Night darlin’.