Music has always been a huge part of my life. It has inspired me, entertained me, and sustained me. Some of my earliest memories involve music (mainly, The Beatles), and this is a direct influence of my parents: they both came of age in the hippy era…my mother comes from a very musical European family, while my dad got to attend concerts in New York City during his youth, seeing some of the biggest names in 60’s rock perform live.
So, while growing up music was always around me, and it didn’t take much time for me to set out to discover my own tastes as a child. After a steady dose of 80’s radio hits, and a brief foray into rap, I discovered heavy metal around 1985. Since then, it’s always been a part of me…I also learned to play guitar and played in metal bands myself.
To those who don’t know metal, or can’t stomach the roar of distorted guitar, it likely sounds like a cacophony of noise. In fact, metal has come to be one of the most diverse genres in all of music. Metal has come to incorporate several different influences from other styles, often with good results.
This will be the first of (hopefully) several posts about music; I’ll often focus on metal because it’s my favorite, but I’m quite eclectic when it comes to what I like to listen to, so there will be some surprises as well. These first few entries will focus on “Love Songs”, specifically songs that I attach some significance to in terms of Cecille. So, prepare for a mix of warm fuzzies and thunderous grooves!
Here, I will focus on a specific album by one band, Deftones. This particular album holds a special significance to me in terms of my romance with the lovely curator of this blog; first: the timing – it was released 12 days before I flew to Bangkok and met Cecille. But more importantly, the theme of the album and the mood of the music.
The title of Deftones’ most recent album is Koi No Yokan, which is a Japanese phrase which means “Premonition Of Love” 恋の予感, which fits the lyrical and musical theme perfectly. Of course, it didn’t escape my notice that this American band chose a Japanese name for their latest release, because my love is in fact ¼ Japanese herself! More synchronicity thrown at us from the Universe? It certainly feels like it to me!
Deftones has a musical career that spans almost 20 years, and through their releases they’ve become quite adept at creating an ethereal atmosphere which is created by the layered, lush production, space-pop and trip-hop influences, but mostly by vocalist Chino Moreno’s unique and instantly recognizable crooning. They ensnare the listener by taking them on a journey between adrenaline-fueled catharsis and soft and subdued soundscapes. Chino’s voice can tranquilize like a lullaby or screech like a banshee, but his phrasing is sublime and his placement is perfect. This most recent album showcases some of Deftones’ best songwriting to date, and quickly became the perfect soundtrack to falling in love.
So without further ado, the first Deftones song I’m presenting is called “Romantic Dreams”
Even the very first line brings Cecille to mind:
“I process your constant changing phases”
Yes, nothing simple here – my love is a complicated woman. She keeps me on my toes…it takes some “processing” for sure 🙂 But this is a Love Song, so things are about to get a lot more romantic:
“So why wait to discover your dreams?
Now here’s your chance
I promise to watch and raise your babies”
Ah yes, a chance to discover love, the kind of love where the male protagonist entices with dreams, and promises of procreation born from said love, and steps up to the role of fatherhood. I imagine that for many women, this is about as romantic as it gets…Amirite?
“I’m hypnotized by your name
I wish this night would never end”
These words were echoing through my mind during the last hours I spent with Cecille before having to leave Bangkok and return to the US; I really wanted those moments to stretch into forever. They were full of smiles, tears, whispered promises and passionate kisses. Some of the most profound memories of my life so far.
Another song that’s grown close to my heart as Cecille has is called “Entombed”
This is a very mellow, atmospheric and moody song. Chino’s voice sounds like honey as he makes the following declarations to his love:
“From the day you arrived
I’ve remained by your side
In chains, entombed
Safe and sound”
“On the day you arrived
I became your device
To name and soothe”
The theme here is fairly obvious, and to me, it echoes the promises I’m making; it’s an expression of caring and devotion, even shackled to those notions, promising safety, definition, and “soothing”.
When I listen to this song I think of the future, of my Cecille arriving here…and beyond the promise of being her future husband, I acknowledge the challenges she’ll face in a new land and a new culture. My love, I will remain by your side, soothe you, and keep you safe from the moment you arrive. I promise.
And last for today, but certainly not least, is probably the most atmospheric and emotional track on the album, “Rosemary”
This was the PERFECT song for me to listen to as I was hurdling 30,000 feet in the air towards Bangkok. Musically, it begins with a slow, building, spacey intro which ultimately becomes a thick, droning, groove based guitar riff, and the song alternates in this manner throughout, analogous with flying, lovemaking, intimacy, travel, and discovering “other planes” through all of the above. I remember leaning back in my airplane seat with my earbuds in, listening to this song with my eyes closed, feeling the throb and hum of the engines as I thrust through the sky:
“There’s no sound
But the engine’s drone
Our minds set free
We discover the entry
To other planes”
You know those moments when the “soundtrack” to what’s happening in your life is just sublimely perfect? This was definitely one of them.
And then in the very end of the song, which I interpret as the destination (“Just stay with me”):
“Stay with me
As we cross the empty skies
Come sail with me
We play in dreams
As we cross the space and time
Just stay with me”
Yes, in that moment I was still “playing” with a dream, while crossing space and time (it’s true, I crossed the International Date Line) towards that very dream, making it real and extending an invitation to The One I was about to rapidly fall in love with…come sail with me…let’s play in our dreams…just stay with me.