I love “comfort” food. The aforementioned mashed potatoes and gravy, mac and cheese, fried chicken, chocolate, ice cream, chocolate ice cream… Basically any food you could have found on Big Mama’s table in “Soul Food” works for me. I go to said food when I’m especially stressed, which is a horrible habit and one not worth keeping. I’m learning how to go to writing, exercising, and other activities to avoid scarfing
a whole bag half of a bag of Oreo’s while crying over “Pride and Prejudice”. It’s a vicious cycle.
The crazy thing is that even people who eat only healthy, satisfying food still have a snack or a favorite dish they turn to. Whether it’s to celebrate an occasion or just when they’re feeling blue, the physically supreme of the world still enjoy an extra handful of homemade, gluten-, sugar-, processed anything- free granola with their handmade almond milk while languishing about in their Chacos reading Stieg Larsson. Not all of them, obviously, but you get the picture. (Notice the use of the pronoun ‘they’. It’s important to distinguish ‘they’ from ‘me.’)
So it should be no surprise to anyone that we also use music as comfort “food.” When we’re feeling down and wanting to ignore every impulse to be proactive and carry on, there’s always that one artist or genre that we go to. For some, their downer moment may be anger-based, so they turn to St. Anger by Metallica to let the fair-haired James Hetfield speak for them. For others, the classic 60’s soul takes them back to a simple time, when all those dang whippersnappers weren’t walking around with their pants around their ankles and headphones shoved in their ear canals all the time. And still others choose the calming effects of classical greats like Bach, Vivaldi, or Mozart. Whatever the genre or whoever the artist, we all have that one cd/playlist/record/8-track that brings us back to center, so to speak.
For me, I like to go to familiar-to-my-soul music. When I was a kid, I was madly obsessed with Garth Brooks. His cd Fresh Horses was the first compact disc I owned, the first of many Garth Brooks albums. I received it in my stocking, and to this day I remember that moment with rare clarity. I probably cried. So now, when I’m stressed or homesick or lovesick, I put on some classic Garth Brooks and let his strong voice with that Oklahoma twang envelop me like a well-worn blanket over the shoulders on a rainy day. Corny? Probably. Does it work? Every time.
I have the tendency to listen to a new album over and over, literally for days, but when the blues hit me, it’s rare that I continue to play that same album and instead go to my musical comfort zone. However. I found an article on NPR.org about Adele’s new cd that doesn’t get released until February 22. The article was great and all, but the best part? They uploaded her entire new cd onto their website, to be heard by anyone who wants to listen. I literally have NOT TURNED IT OFF. Even now, as I write this, Adele is singing about setting fire to the rain, a feat her voice makes me believe is possible. She’s technically classified as British neo-soul, but there’s something about her pipes that speaks to the core of people. Her voice is raw, aged, and it shoots like a harpoon through your heart as she sings Someone Like You. This album is definitely my new blankie.
(Click on the photo to be taken to the NPR page with the music player.)
So what do you listen to when you feel like cryin’ for yer mama? Let me know in the comments. Who knows? Maybe I’ve been missing out on something…