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Happy songs that make me sad

Whoever composes the playlist for 104.1 FM has apparently decided that the Go-Gos "Mad About You" needs to be exhumed from the vaults, since I've heard it 2-3 times there in the last couple of days while hopscotching around the FM band.

It's a nice enough song, sweet, upbeat and cheerful...and it depresses the hell out of me. I feel morose and unhappy whenever it comes on, which is really paradoxical because it's a happy song - a girl singing about how she's crazy in love with her boyfriend, loves everything about him - you know how these songs go. I'm sure it's not the song - it's just my reaction to it, the same way I tense up and feel disgust whenever I hear the Beatles or the Smithereens these days, because they remind me of my ex-wife.

Music has a weird power over people. It affects us on levels we're not even conscious of, hooks into our memories and emotions and yanks HARD on our hearts and our adrenals and the section of the brain that doesn't do any complicated thinking because it's not built to function on that level. Small wonder some folks consider it magical, and come to think of it, there's a whole subgenre of fantasy that treats music as a form of magic and musicians as wizards and witches, or at least confers magical power on bards and their instruments. In my own case, and in this particular instance, perhaps this song and others like it remind me of the lost opportunities and blown chances that went up in flames with the divorce. They remind me of how desperate I was when I met Lois back in 1983 at CONstellation, and the occasional hollow feeling after the divorce that she was it - the one opportunity I was going to get for that kind of relationship, ever. Doesn't make for really happy thoughts or positive feelings.

Still, I bear no ill will towards Belinda Carlisle and the rest of the band. I don't punch the radio buttons to find something else to listen to. It's not reasonable to blame them for the way I feel, because there's nothing wrong with the song. It's just me. Maybe one of these days I'll be able to listen to that song and others like it and not feel that depression moving in. It could happen.

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