Gretchen Rubin

Music and happiness: the joy of re-discovering a song I love.

Yesterday, I spent a few hours working in one of my favorite spots, the Pisa Pizza pizza shop. I usually don’t notice the music playing in the background, but I heard a song that I love that I hadn’t heard in a long time.

I don’t enjoy music much; I don’t have an iPod, I don’t buy CDs or songs from iTunes, it never occurs to me to listen to music as I got about my daily routine. I wish I liked music more, but as part of my resolution to "Be Gretchen," I've accepted my tastes. Nevertheless, when I do like a particular piece of music, I love it.

As with this song. I didn’t know its title, or the name of the band, and I couldn’t understand the words very well, but I stopped working to listen.

In keeping with my resolutions to “Follow my curiosities,” “Take time to wander,” and “Be Gretchen,” I decided to try to track down the song.

Ah, the glories of the modern age. I jotted down some lyrics that I could understand, and when I got home, I searched for them in Google. I discovered that the song was “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Big Man had put all our (really, his) music on our computer, so I searched for it and – there it was. In a flash, to my intense gratification, the song was playing in my office.

Studies show that listening to music is one of the best ways to bring on a good mood, and 92% of people get a boost when they listen to music of their choice.

“Under the Bridge” rouses strange emotions in me. I wouldn’t say it makes me feel happy, exactly. The song is beautiful, and I listened to it many times. But listening to the song is almost painful, too…I can’t describe how it makes me feel. There is a kind of exquisite pleasure that is happiness, but also not happiness. But there is happiness in experiencing it. And it sure made me happy that I could so easily track down and listen to the song.

It’s playing right now.

*
Just as I was getting ready to post this, I decided to see if I could link to the song without violating any copyright laws. I'm not sure about the legal status of this link to YouTube, but here it is: Under the Bridge, live in concert. On the one hand, watching the video undermined my experience of the song, because I was distracted by the band's questionable fashion decision to forgo their shirts (of course, they're known for their propensity to forgo much more than their shirts). And a live version has more glitches than the recorded version. On the other hand, I loved hearing a stadium full of people crooning the chorus along with the band.

I don't ever want to feel like I did that day
Take me to the place I love, take me all the way...

*
If you're new to the Happiness Project, you may want to consider subscribing to my RSS feed: Subscribe to this blog's feed.

icon emailNewsletterLight

One Last Thing

Interested in happiness, habits, and human nature?

Sign up to get my free monthly newsletter. It highlights the best material from here and the Facebook Page.

Sign Up Now