Saturday, January 2, 2010

Music Therapy: Changeup the Playlist

I was delighted to hear Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies say that the Phillies came back strong in their 5th world series game because they changed the music on their playlist. Forget that they ultimately lost the thing, but they did bring in a great performance once they stopped listening to Empire State of Mind and watching Jay-Z.

In addition to replacing some of my Beatles CDs, which went the way of some of my other stuff, there was a frightening group of CDs I thought I had to have shortly after the separation. Lucinda Williams’ Essence, Annie Lennox’s Bare and Steely Dan’s Everything Must Go, among others. In case you’re not familiar, they’re all break up CDs. I’m not even sure I knew that when I bought them. Knowing is relative. Obviously, I knew on some level. And then there was Warren Zevon’s The Wind. Does final album after which he died mean anything to you?

I wanted to know that I wasn’t the only one experiencing pain. Naturally, in my line of work, I’m quite familiar with pain. I needed to know that others experienced the same specific type of pain I was experiencing. That shared pain was important.

It told me my experience was universal. Despite knowing I was not the only person in the history of the universe who had this type of pain, sometimes I felt like I was. The CDs told me otherwise. I was not alone. As studies have shown, misery not only loves company, it loves miserable company. We humans love to share.

And what’s better than knowing that some uber-successful, sexy thing has been as unceremoniously dissed as we have been? It doesn’t get much better than that.

So wallow with friends, real or imagined. But at some point, and you’ll know when that is, it’s time to move on. Coaches are great for giving you that little kick in the pants if you need it, and helping you find new directions. If you know it’s time and you can’t move on, it’s time for a shrink. Face it, we all need help sometimes. It’s New Year’s and maybe it’s time for you to change up that playlist.

Top of the breakup playlist: For No One, The Beatles

Best current changeup song: Jessie James, I Look So Good (Without You)

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