Thursday, August 13, 2009

On The Highway, Over And Over

Once every long lost while comes along a song that transports you to another place and makes you dreamy-eyed. It’s as if visions from another life, a past birth, encounters from a parallel universe start flashing in front of your eyes. It is so vivid that for a moment you have trouble believing it wasn’t real. Neela Drifts was one such song…I can still see myself walking that path and stepping into that door every time I hear that song…Made Of Tears by Yanni was another (just noticed that both are instrumental).

More recently Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Beauty On The Fire’ was the ticket. I don’t remember how many days it has been since that single song has been on my playlist…the listening interspersed with the John Butler Trio in the past few days. It’s the song for the ride. It’s the song for my sleep when I want it to be easier to slip into a world of dreams. It’s the song I want to live in terms of what I see when I play it.

The song starts with a steady beat building up, the focus on the voice…as if drawing you into the song…leading you slowly. The chorus kicks in after a few seconds of dreamy silence and the line ‘Tonight, Could I be lost forever’ makes me want to fly (incidentally one of the lines in the song too). The song has a groovy but dreamy feel that I haven’t heard in a while and I am completely addicted to it because of the place it takes me to…

I love highways. At any point in the day…a long empty stretch to cruise on. I love the endless landscape rolling by. I love noticing the itsy-bitsy curious shops along the road…the people. I just love being on the road, whether it is on a set of two wheels or four.

But I especially love the highways in the night. I am yet to figure out why but I have always been in love with the sight of a peaceful stretch of road (even a city street) in the night time. I love the sodium vapour hue pouring onto the tar. I love that static picture…I love being the moving object in that static picture. It is like entering a painting…a Narnia…another world that was abuzz with life but was transformed somewhere on the way. And I also love that haunting sound that trucks make when they speed down the highways at night…that distant hum.

This song takes me right there…onto the highway at night. Even as the first beat kicks in I can see myself rolling past the symmetrically arranged streetlights and the endless separator…black, white, black, white…a hue of orange covering everything. I can see the road stretch in front of me for kilometres together…darkness mostly everywhere else. At some points in the song I can see the sky as we zip by another town and enter the middle of nowhere…that black canvas spray painted by spots of white…glistening white. And I feel peaceful.

When the musical solo kicks in after she sings ‘Do I assume I could fly’ I can see various segments of the highway in succession…like a well-edited film…now passing a row of closed shops in a small town…now zipping through the endless darkness…now passing under a huge green board marking distances to a multitude of places, a multitude of possibilities for the journey.

And then when the music rolls and builds up, I can see dawn. I can see the first light faint at the horizon. And then a hue of pink coming on…as if the sky were blushing. It’s a mixed feeling…much like my head right now…the stars and the light together.

And I see sunrise…on the beach…when the musical solo culminates. I can see myself smiling at it…and I smile. And then I walk on the sand barefoot…soaking in the tingle in my feet…feeling the morning sea breeze on my face.

I stay in that moment forever…I don’t want it to end…I want to experience that drive and look at the roads again…to keep going on that road over and over…keep watching the lights, the stars, the signs, the sun over and over…I look forward to that drive…and I look forward for it to be in front of my eyes and not my mind’s eye…for now and until the wheels get rolling, I choose the Loop option on the Walkman…

Beauty on the Fire by Natalie Imbruglia on Grooveshark

4 Thinkers Pondered:

Eveline said...

Oh i totally get what you're saying. I derive my musical satisfaction from marching in depth with chords, with music in that simple file of notes, twisting and turning in graceful patterns. Dont take long rides anymore... But my job often requires me to stay in my seat and working in front of the comp can blind you, if not drive you mad, with its sameness and isolation. At moments like these it's stuff from the 80's that could do more even than preserve my sanity and defeat my longing for sleep.

I really liked this track and of course, Natalie Imbruglia just has magic in her voice. Nice choice. have a great weekend, Anupama...

Oh, did u make it to B flat for the concert?

Satish said...

Music does transport you to the highway,brings back memories and moves you into a trance......

But, everything has an end, the music ends and i wake to the road to hell ( Traffic Jam)

wander1ust said...

Your writing transported me, Anupama :) Very evocative piece - nicely done! And, of course, like the song too.

Anupama said...

Hey Eve!!

So agree with you on the preserve-my-sanity bit!

Couldn't make it to B Flat the other day but going to Opus in the Creek tonight, thanks to you for putting up the performance schedule. It also helps that Brookefield is near my office :)

Will let you know how it went :) Hope you had a great weekens...

Hey Satish!

:) Music is what saved me from the tyrannical traffic jam on Outer Ring Road yesterday...would have gone insane without it...thanks for the comment :)

Hey Wander1ust!

Glad you enjoyed the song :) ...thanks for the comment :)