Thursday, November 20, 2008

Soundtrack to Life

I've already talked about how much I love my iPhone, but here's one more reason:

Pandora is an internet radio site, which allows you to customize your music. I used to listen to Yahoo music, but it was annoying with the commercials and the pleas to pay to join. I came across this and really enjoyed the selections and voting functions. Since my office has a firewall against streaming audio, I can't use it at work. This is where the iPhone comes in, since it's a free App I can download to my phone. I don't have any songs downloaded on my phone; it's all on Pandora.

I typically listen to NPR all day at work. Now, I've been turning on the music on my phone (what an odd sentence?).

It's actually been emotionally uplifting. I've been entwined in a lot of stressful situations at work for the past few months. I realized that just turning on Dido or Sarah helps me so much. My favorite now is Suzanne Vega.

When I was in college, I had a Suzanne Vega cassette that a friend made for me. I listened to this cassette continuously, and I remember lying down with my headphones and listening to her soothing voice. It cleared my head of the stress I was feeling.

All of sudden, I hear "Undertow" or "Marlene on the Wall" and I'm pulled back almost 20 years. For a minute or two, I turn away from my laptop. I smile at memories, sing a few lines softly, just being true to myself. And, in the whirl of a day filled with conference calls, dodging culpabilities, putting out fires and handholding clients, it's refreshing to remember who I am. For about two minutes, I'm the girl who used to wear hats and fell into the dreamy words of Suzanne Vega's poetry and mellow voice.

By the way, I've mentioned one of Vega's songs on my blog before, The Queen and the Soldier. The other cool part about Pandora is that I'm exposed to new artists and songs. Check out these lyrics to Vega's song "(If You Were) In My Movie" and New York is a Woman (Launch the player on the site to hear it). I love the line that "she'll make you cry And to her you're just another guy." Very poignant and precise.

So, now my colleagues know that I have my music on my phone, and I do get requests from the adjacent cubicle. We do 80's Day (hear the best of Flock of Seagulls and Duran Duran), Michael Buble Big Band Day or go flamenco with Gipsy Kings.

By the time I drive to work in the morning at 9 am, I've already 2 hours of hectic activity and I'm trying to get myself mentally ready for work. The best thing for me to listen to is a good Bollywood song. Come on, nothing can beat a bit of "Mauja Mauja" from Jab We Met. The other day traffic was backed up and rather than being frustrated, I was bopping. I actually feel a bit sorry for my American colleagues who don't have Bollywood music in their lives. I'm sure many of our stress levels could be reduced if we played Bollywood songs in the background. I can create a bizarre visual of all my colleagues singing the ensemble song from "Om Shanti Om"!

It's such a small thing to play music during the workday, but the impact is so great.


ZenDenizen said...

"I actually feel a bit sorry for my American colleagues who don't have Bollywood music in their lives."

Really? That's cute :) The high pitched female voices sometimes stress me out actually.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize the high pitched voices until I was in college and someone commented on that. I never noticed it. It's really the upbeat songs that are invigorating. The emotions and music are all larger than life.