Originally published in Sound Waves Magazine January 2021
Recently, during one pandemic inspired particularly sleepless night, I had this bright idea to ask Alexa to play some spa music. I figured, “Hey, if I can’t actually be there, I can pretend to be there.” You know the place: an oceanside faraway resort with a rooftop veranda adorned with fluffy wavy curtains, some comfy cushioned tables to lie on, a couple of oiled-up warm massaging hands at the ready, and the aforementioned, spa music.
But since I was lying in my drafty old bedroom, with nobody’s hands all over me, I had nothing to do but listen to the music. But you see, we musicians can’t just listen to music like normal people. You know, enjoy it for what it is. No, we have to analyze, criticize, monetize, actualize, categorize and hypothesize. For example, why did this spa music composer choose a 7-part harmony vocal patch instead of just a synth sound? Since when was it OK to go from that chord to this chord and what circle of fifth dimension is this person in? Why is there a random chime now? Who wants to hear a drum beat during a massage? Enough already with the arpeggios too. And, why does this playlist never end? That sort of thing.
Inevitably, because I was thinking so hard about the music, instead of wallowing in the so-called lusciousness of the music, I became more alert than when I started, my mind racing and all, and had to go do a crossword puzzle. These obscure little word games can distract, detract, confound, befuddle and bemuse just as well as listening to spa music, and as an added bonus, I can learn a thing or two. Not so much with spa music. So even though 2020 thinks it b*tch-slapped us into thinking we must subject ourselves to truly horrible things, like spa music, we still have a choice. I choose knowledge and truth. And puzzles.