Music can elicit any number of emotional responses from me at any given time. Music often brings tears to my eyes, not always because it’s traditionally beautiful but because the joy it gives me feels overwhelming. I have cried at almost every concert I’ve ever attended, often at times when everyone else around me was giddy with joy. I was giddy with joy too, it just came out my tear ducts.
Music can also make me feel angry or even depressed (usually it’s merely capitalizing on feelings I’ve already been nurturing.) Sometimes it makes me feel puzzled, but in the best possible way – like a detective piecing together tiny clues to a greater mystery. Occasionally, in the worst moments, music makes me feel bored and irritated at the musicians who are aggressively boring me.
Recently, though, I experienced a new…well, not really a new emotion but a new emotional response to music – laughter. Wild, uncontrollable, glee-filled laughter. “Found A Job” is a song I already knew but hadn’t listened to in a long time. When it came on my iPod early one morning, I was completely overcome with energy. I wanted to run a marathon and paint a masterpiece and write the Great American Novel and do a great many things I am incapable of doing, all at once. So instead I just laughed. And laughed and laughed.
The words to “Found A Job” are clever and kind of funny, but they’re not hilarious. Besides who ever laughs, I mean really laughs, at song lyrics? Yeah, you might chuckle or giggle a little at lines by incredibly witty songwriters (Stephen Merritt, anyone?), but outside of music that is designed entirely for novelty, funny lyrics make you smile, they don’t usually make you crack up. The lyrics to “Found A Job” are not what made me laugh. They were only an ingredient. I laughed because this song is so incredibly…fun. There is not a more pure word for the feeling that I can think of. It made me feel like a kid. I have a friend who tells me that when he experiences intense moments of joy, he feels like baby animals. Very particular baby animals. Sometimes he feels like a baby buffalo, or baby otter, or turtle. I didn’t really get it, although I appreciated the colorful description. But “Found A Job” gave me a feeling like what he described. (Though I was never able to nail down an exact baby animal emotional likeness…hippopotamus, maybe?) I laughed through the whole song and then I listened to it again that night and I laughed again.
A couple of weeks ago I got to see a screening of “Stop Making Sense” at a local theater. It’s my favorite concert film of all time and one I’ve been watching since I was a teenager. I was pleasantly surprised to find the theater filled nearly to capacity and a real concert atmosphere formed right away. Within a few songs, a large portion of the audience formed their own dance party that lasted the remainder of the show. We all clapped and cheered after every song. And, unsurprisingly, I found myself with tears in my eyes more than once.
Thanks for reading. Have thoughts about this song? Talking Heads? Laughing while listening to music? Baby mammals? Please feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment in the comments section.