From Past to Present: Summing Up My (Musical) Retrospective

I’ve written five posts (five!!! I didn’t think it would be so many) to get to this current one.

Here they are:

Prelude to a (Musical) Retrospective

A (Musical) Retrospective for a New Year: Early Days

A (Musical) Retrospective for a New Year: High School and College

A (Musical) Retrospective for a New Year: Wrong Turns Past

A (Musical) Retrospective for a New Year: The Recent Past (pre-2013)


And so that brings me to this current post – meant from the start to be an examination of my 2013, using the music I gravitated toward at various times of the year as a framework.


“Meant” is the operative word there.


I’ve been trying for two days to write this post, and I just can’t pull it together in a way that satisfies me.  Everything I write feels forced.  It feels false.


I think the root of the problem I’m having is that this just isn’t a period of time that can be well-delineated – not for me.  The first 75% of 2013 was very introspective for me.  I look back on it and the image that comes to me is of drifting clouds – wispy, wafting.  You can’t grab onto a cloud and hold it out to show somebody.  It doesn’t matter how worth looking at you think it is or how much you want to.  You try to hold it steady, even just long enough to describe it in some fashion, and you doom yourself instantly to failure because your hand passes right through it.


I do actually find it really interesting though that I can trace my internal shifts of 2013 by looking at the shifts in my musical tastes.  (So I can say a little bit about that at least!)

It starts in Fall 2012, when I was having some anxiety – about the present, about the future.  I’d done all this hard work over the last few years, and while there was still work to do, I felt like I’d finished most of the heaviest lifting.  Which was all good.  The question was…what next?

And the answer was:  Anything!  What did I want?

And I felt very unsure of myself – because I wasn’t really sure.  I started having this recurring dream about myself as an old woman, having made wrong choices and ended up alone and with nothing in a homeless shelter (cheery!)  And though I wasn’t exactly afraid this would happen for real, the emotions of this dream were an excellent reflection of all of the uncertainty I was feeling, and the weight I was feeling to make good choices.

This song recalls that time precisely.  It reminds me of how I was trying to remind myself keep my focus, to put one foot in front of the other, to trust that things would become clear (though a part of me didn’t have faith in this.)


Following on that was the drift-y time, when I was sort of just randomly following threads.  This was an interesting time, but kind of an odd, foggy one.  I didn’t really know what I was doing; I was a little afraid I was wasting time.

Something about the tone of this song fit:


I was digging back into my musical past a lot during this time too.  This one for example got a lot of play:


Notably I moved (and rapidly too) away during this time from a lot of the music that had been my support for the last few years.  I felt impatient with it – I think because I felt, inside, ready to move on with my life, to move forward.  I wasn’t untangling emotional threads anymore; it was a different kind of introspection I was going through – and required a different tone, I guess.

One exception was this Conor Oberst concert.  I set this as background music fairly often during this time.  It was good late-night music.


I started to come out of hibernation in the summertime, and it was to a feeling of momentum building.  My musical leanings changed accordingly.  Sounds like these began to appeal…strongly:



And when I wanted something quieter, it wasn’t so much the folk-y sounds anymore.  It was stuff like this:


Lots of musical change – to match a year of changes, I guess.

2013 was, if anything, about exploring – just following myself, following random threads of my interests, and seeing where they went (if anywhere.)

Some of them did go somewhere.  And some of the dot-connecting created some very interesting pictures.

2014 is about taking 2013’s ideas and running with them.

(It’s looking pretty interesting!)


A few days ago I saw photos of an art installation – and felt immediately, strongly, akin to it.

It (and here it is) is basically comprised of two large-scale stars (spanning 30 feet from point to point, according to UR Design, which I’ve linked to.)  They’re placed in a former tannery – an industrial space that is destined to be converted into an art space (but is most definitely not there yet, as seen in the pictures.)  As UR Design puts it, the stars:

“…encourage visitors to take a fresh look at the spatial potentials of an industrial site in the process of transformation and to imagine a more playful, dynamic, and collective future.”

So, in other words, these charming pink stars exist within a space that is rough, but in the process of becoming something brighter and bolder and better.  Change has clearly begun and the future is evolving noticeably.


And that’s how I feel about my life right now, in the first few days of 2014 – completely.

It’s funny:  this isn’t the style of art (large scale, etc) that I would normally identify with so personally…but I really, really do.  I can’t help experiencing it as a representation (a strong one) of myself and my own life.  I’m kind of laughing at myself – but in all honesty, if I’d contracted with an artist to peer into my psyche and create a visual representation of what they saw there…I think it would be this.

(I wish I could go to France and see it in real-life!)


When I contemplate this new year, what I’m most aware of is a feeling of barely-pent up energy.  I feel like a race horse at the starting line, straining with the need to run.  There’s so much I want to accomplish this year!  So many things I want to make happen, so much I’d love to experience.

I’m excited for 2014…I really am.  On a really basic level, I just want to see what unfolds!

I can’t remember ever feeling this way at the start of a new year before.  I do usually feel fairly positive in January, fairly “clean slate-ish” and aware of potentials.  But this year is different.  There’s something more.

It’ll be interesting to blog about it…whatever “IT” turns out to be!


3 thoughts on “From Past to Present: Summing Up My (Musical) Retrospective

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