Is there anything as heady as those early days of a relationship? All you can see, hear, smell, taste and think about is your beloved. The friends who’ve stuck by your side through those long, lonely dark nights of the soul are forgotten. Work responsibilities suffer. Sleep is forsaken for that intoxicating, all-consuming time spent with that person who makes your heart leap, your body tingle and your brain go on autopilot.
In most cases, however, that initial drunken reverie of fascination and adoration mellows. Balance is restored. Work performance returns to its previous nearly-satisfactory levels. You begin to choose sleep over snogging from time to time. You begin calling your friends again. Worse yet, the relationship goes sour and you're left alone again with your black coal soul. And you call your friends for support.
Unfortunately, some of those friends won’t return your calls. Fed up with what they feel is a fickle and unreliable relationship, they decide if you don’t need them, then they don’t need you. Hurt by your recent detachment, they’re reluctant to set themselves up for that pain again. They’ve known you too long, they’ve seen the pattern too many times, and they’re tired of feeling used.
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I fell head over heels in love recently – with ‘90s techno music. For the past few weeks, that’s all I wanted to listen to. The hip house of people like Tyree, the many incarnations of Todd Terry, the hardcore of Altern-8 and Eon, and the acid-inflected tracks of Hithouse and Baby Ford had absolutely taken over my mind. Partly awash in nostalgia and partly made dizzy and giddy by those body-jacking beats, I was hopelessly hooked. I was actually late to appointments because I wanted to hear a particular track or DJ mix. I went on a downloading frenzy that distracted me from work, sleep and even other music.
Last week, however, I emerged from my ecstatic trip, feeling like I’d just returned from a long trip to Mars. I hadn’t fallen out of love with techno. And techno hadn’t broken my heart. If anything, that intense fling with dancefloor dementia fed by heart and soul, giving me greater capacity to love. With the squishy synths, silly samples and thumping bass still ringing dizzyingly in my ears, I returned to my music library and began calling old friends like Leonard Cohen and Ludacris, and newer friends like Frightened Rabbit and Tobias Fröberg.
The critical difference between your song friends and, say, that guy you’ve known since high school who always gets a sour look on his face when you say you’re in love, is that music always returns your calls. It welcomes you back with open arms. The songs that got you through those dark nights of the soul are only too happy to do it all over again. The music smiles kindly with its eyes, embraces you, sits you down in a comfortable chair, and wraps you in a familiar fuzzy blanket. And it always forgives you. It’s the closest most of us will ever get to unconditional love.
– Eryc Eyl