In high school as I discovered The Beatles, Motown and delved deep into my studies of classical music, I found that none of my classmates seemed to shared my enthusiasm and love for music.
It was “dorky,” that I liked 1960s music, “nerdy” that I loved classical music and incredibly “un-cool” that I admitted to enjoying the resurgence of pop music with the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears (which you know other people did, I mean look at the sales of this artists at that time). But there was one person who thought my love of music was cool, Vauhini.
One night after hanging out with a group of friends, she gave me a ride home. As she drove “Crush” by The Dave Matthews Band came on the radio. Vauhini was a big fan of Dave Matthews Band and it was “Crush” and its accompanying album, Before These Crowded Streets that really helped me realize the greatness of The Dave Matthews Band.
“Crush” melded DMB’s jam band sensibilities with Jazz creating a dark and emotional opus. Like the best of DMB’s songs “Crush” had a dramatic arc that made the music go somewhere significant. Something changes for the character in the music and us as listners also experience this as we are taken to somewhere we never expect.
In the soft glow of the instrument panels of Vauhini’s car, I described the magic between the notes. I talked about the way that DMB holds back allowing different layers of instruments to come through. I guided her through the long verse that gradually opens up to choruses full of elation and the unforgettably ending of this song.
Throughout “Crush,” DMB creates a feeling of something building, like someone barely able to hold in his joy. Each chorus gives us a little release but never leaves us fully satisfied. In the second to last chorus, it seems like we get there and as Dave Matthews pulls back the song takes a breath. Then the song builds back up as Matthews, almost growling builds to a final exclamation of joy. He changes the lyrics and the melody adding syncopated rhythms while the band to a climax in a way that is beautifully symphonic.
After the song ended, Vauhini smiled with a sense of joy you can only get from seeing someone describe something they love. I’ll never forget how free I felt at that moment to be exactly who I was, feeling no need to hide or be ashamed of how I felt about music.
I often think about that moment when writing about music because it reminds me that I’m not alone. Yes, most of the people in high school didn’t understand me but Vauhini did and that gave me hope that there are other people in the world who would like me for my passions. Now I have a whole family of friends and who do just that.
It's crazy, I'm thinking just as long as you're around.
I'm here I'll be dancing on the ground.
Am I right side up or upside down?
To each other, we’ll be facing.
Vauhini Vara is reporter at the Wall Street Journal and a fiction writer with work with published or forthcoming in Glimmer Train, Epoch, and Black Warrior Review. Check out her work at http://www.vauhinivara.com/