Do you like to travel? How about free travel? As the cliché goes, “Have I got a deal for you!” I can show you how to travel in time, effortlessly, whenever you have the urge to flee reality. In simple terms, it’s called music.
In my youth, the original way to download music involved a tape recorder and a transistor radio which made time travel quite complicated, not to mention lengthy – sitting around for hours on end, hoping the special song would play. You were at the mercy of a little device from which a voice would eventually inform you that the song you were dying to hear was up next! If you were lucky, you managed to tape the whole song without a DJ’s voice interrupting or a door slamming shut from another part of the house.
Of course, as is always the case, you could always purchase records (45s and 33s) but nothing beat the feeling of copying a favorite tune for free (sound familiar to anyone?) not that I would think of doing that anymore! We’re talking about a different era, although with some surprising similarities, which I discovered while looking into music as a means of time travel and how to portray it.
Several decades later, especially with the advent of social media, music is easily accessible from many sources. Since my topic is free travel, the best free and legal music download sites, according to digitaltrends.com, are FMA (free music archive), Amazon.com, MP3.com, Jamendo, Sound Cloud, Sound Owl, Make Loud, Epitomic, and Pure Volume. In Canada, YouTube seems to be the most popular source for free listening, downloading and streaming. All of these free online sources work differently, as well as offer different features.
Nowadays, when I need a break from real life, my go-to and favorite way to leave is YouTube. It’s a safe and sound escape route from stress and it also makes me happy. I can go back to being any age I feel like being just by looking up songs from different decades and listening to them. Not only are the images vivid and clear but so are the scents, the lighting, and sights surrounding my memories of the music and lyrics. The travel can also happen unexpectedly when a song starts playing at the grocery store or during a walk which can also lead to singing along wearing a huge smile…
Limbo Rock, sang by Chubby Checkers, brings me back to my seven year old self, hiding on the staircase at home, watching the adults at my parents’ party doing the limbo… And the travel begins again when I hear the first piano tune I memorized to please my parents, Any Time by Eddy Arnold as a tween; the piano piece I brilliantly played at a mother/daughter luncheon, House of the Rising Sun, when I was an innocent 12 year old which mortified my mother when she realized what the words were all about; the first dance at our wedding, John Lennon’s Woman; Boogie Woogie Dancing Shoes which I sang so much while cleaning the house that my two year old child thought it was me singing it on the radio.
The past and the present meet on my journeys…
Another voyage occurs around Christmas time when I’m missing certain people and I hear Minuit Chrétien, a Christmas carol. I am transported to a time where I can vividly picture my father and his three brothers, all of them young and proud and boisterous, totally massacring the carol, while having the time of their lives! It’s a marvelous, short trip on which I get to revisit them, as only my dad is still alive today.
That little list represents some of my favorite travels through the time continuum and validates how music can take you far away if you want it to. There are dozens of other artists and groups who contribute to my journeys including, in no particular order, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Billy Joel, Meatloaf, Nat King Cole,Tracy Chapman, Elvis Costello,Queen, Diana Krall, The Police, Phil Collins, Sheryl Crow, Travelling Wilburys …
In the end, it doesn’t really matter for who, what or why I need to leave for a while. I am a very lucky person to be able to enjoy the luxury of time travel, revisiting special moments and people I will cherish forever. Feel free to enjoy my ‘go-to happy song’, End of the line courtesy of last.fm!
Have fun deciding where you want your free ticket to take you!