Music is my drug. Notorious rap artist 50-Cent said as much; “press play, you ain’t gotta sniff it, shoot it, or chop it, roll it, bag it, or pop it.” Touché. My “substance” use is out of control. Many mornings, when I’m struggling to muster up the energy to rise from bed, I find myself playing an energetic tune on my wireless speaker system. Like a junkie, I require a “fix” before I can even place my feet on the floor. I need to get my blood pumping with a good beat in the same way an addict needs his/her remedy. A favorite song can really set the mood for the day, and I won’t say that it’s a scientific certainty, but I know that it works for me, personally. Dopamine and serotonin are nothing compared to the chemicals produced by a creative verse. My drug transports me to a spiritual place. Almost immediately upon having a beat pulsate its way into my veins, I feel better about the day ahead. Music is a good drug.
Look at my iTunes and you’ll find that my music selection runs the gamut from Neil Young to Nine Inch Nails and spans everything in between. I love ALL types of music. You could call me a “garbage head” because I’ll take any of it. Some may translate this into me being hypocritical because I’m not loyal to one genre. That type of thinking is ridiculous and is partly responsible for many of the problems we have in society today, but that’s a whole new can of worms for another time. I will stand up for the merits of almost any style because I believe that music is an expression of someone’s heart/soul and, as such, should be appreciated for the effort at the very least (much like drug use is an emotional outlet, albeit an unhealthy one, and should be understood for its own underlying reasons.)
I often quote music lyrics when I can’t find my own words to express myself. Many times, musicians are more poet than piper and have the uncanny ability to describe my feelings better than I could. It’s happened more than once that I had the notion that an artist perused my journals and used my prose for lyrics; it’s incredible to feel so connected to my drug. I truly appreciate the depth of meaning some songs can reach. Pain, anger, happiness, loneliness, passion, elation; all these emotions can be discovered within the lines of a powerful ballad. Musicians that are open about their real selves appeal to me because it shows their humanity; sometimes it seems that these idols are untouchable and perfect, but getting a glimpse into their lives through their poetry can level the proverbial playing field.
Every music style creates a different kind of high. Some music is like an opiate- it mellows the user and slows things down; it feels like floating in a lukewarm pool. It wraps its arms around you and promises to make everything all better. Opioid music comforts and pacifies. Other music acts like speed and throbs throughout the listener with a dynamic, nonstop vibration that makes one feel invincible; it’s like an all-night rave fueled by frenzied excitement and ecstasy. Speed music thrills and animates. Up or down, then? Pick your poison.
I get chills from my drug, and I can’t live a single day without hearing a few of my favorite anthems. Instead of pills, I have songs; instead of injecting, I dance. I sing along, smile, and nod my head to the beat. I’d rather use music than medications, and I’m severely addicted. I’ll take you into my drug-fueled world. Just press play.
*Disclaimer: I don’t condone drug use. These are simply analogies. Drugs are bad. Music is good.