Music, The Other Stuff

Unique Music Associations (Plus Bacon and Cotton Eye Joe)

Otherwise known as what happened last week.


This past week has been kind of a weird one in terms of things I’ve thought about or done, so I thought I’d list them out. (If anyone’s doing cognitive research on weird brains this is the post for you.)

  1. I watched The Office while eating bacon. It was as glorious as it sounds.
  2. I discovered that in order for it to feel like spring to me, all it takes is sunshine (a rare thing around Chicago Land in winter), a deceptively small homework load (final projects are just around the riverbend), and pizza in class (provided by my awesome teacher). The fact that it’s 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside? Apparently not enough to change my spring feeling! And I’m okay with that.
  3. I invented a new form of dancercise. Basically, you dance as obnoxiously as possible to the music, drawing on moves from ballet, contemporary dance, disco, and jogging. It all comes together to form one glorious conglomeration of an art form. I also really want to throw a dancercise party  where everyone has to imitate one “leader” and his or her crazy dance moves and then after exercising everyone sits around for a formal tea party. It would be so great.
  4. Directly after dancercising, I listened to Cotton Eye Joe (by Rednex) on repeat while cooking dinner. While in fuzzy pajamas. Because why not?

Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, I discovered that my initial reaction to “All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix was the exact opposite of virtually everyone in my class. When my teacher played the very beginning, I thought the song was awesome. I immediately pictured playing it in the car with the windows down on a sunny day, not a care in the world, just feeling awesome. My teacher asked us if we would characterize the opening notes as more “doom and gloom” or “sunshine” and daisies. I sat back in my chair with my glorious pizza, nodding sagely. CLEARLY “sunshine” was the right answer. But then my teacher says something to the effect of “it’s CLEARLY doom and gloom! Everyone would agree.” And I see multiple other people in the class nodding sagely… Whoops!!

So my question is what’s up with that? I get the doom and gloom feeling now, but I also stand by my initial reaction. The setting and visual imagery I had associated with the music apparently gave me a different emotional response/aesthetic judgment, but it was real. How different can our reactions to music really be, then?? How much does association “cloud” or otherwise affect our judgment? Is that a bad thing, or just one of those things??

I hope your weeks had some random fun in them, too! Let me know what you think about the variety of ways people respond to music…have you ever found yourself in a similar situation?

You might also like: Voldemort and Beyoncé Robots (Or a Dream I Had) and The Bohemian Rhapsody of Classical Music

15 thoughts on “Unique Music Associations (Plus Bacon and Cotton Eye Joe)”

  1. I listened to the opening of that song a couple of times now and I don’t get any doom or gloom. To me, I get the mental image of attending an outside concert in July – all hot with a Sno Cone (probably cherry) in hand. It’s late afternoon, but the sun hasn’t set yet. So, it’s still sulky warm out and the band is playing loud enough so you can feel it inside your fillings.

    So yeah. That’s the image I get. 😀 Absolutely no doom and gloom.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well I’m glad I’m not the only one! Haha. It’s interesting how we both conjured up very specific settings which led to that happier emotional impact…I feel like context is so important when it comes to what we get out of music!!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You had me at bacon… but there is nothing wrong with associating that with the The Office (hopefully the US version, Ricky Gervais irritates me). I used to bing watch the office oh to frequently when I was at uni. Still watch it but I haven’t actually finished the last two seasons because then it would end, I would be sad and things in the world wouldn’t be right again. But one day I will finish it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yeah, I’ve been watching the U.S. version. I’m on Season 6! It really is great for taking breaks between work. I just saw the one where Michael falls into a koi pond and it’s probably one of my favorites now haha. Though you’re right that it’ll be sad when I finally finish…

      Liked by 1 person

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