These past three weeks, I have listened to Abbey Road an amount of at least 70 times.
I am not exaggerating on this.
This is not typical behavior outside of my Beatles realm. Maybe I'll enjoy a song for a few good weeks, but it is in a playlist of songs, all different musicians, and it isn't on a constant loop.
I have just always been this way with my Beatles.
Somewhere in our home movies, there is video footage of me lying on a bean bag, eyes closed, headphones connected to a cassette player. I am belting out the lyrics to Here Comes The Sun. There is a CD player next to me as I was swapping between albums so I could memorize exactly when to come in, as the cassette tape I was listening to was the karaoke versions of different Beatles songs--I wanted to learn the cues without the lyrical cues from Lennon or McCartney--and sometimes Ringo. I was probably ten or eleven, and my father had come in on my unbeknownst to me, probably to see what the ruckus was of his daughter screaming out "SUN, SUN, SUN, HERE IT COMES."
When I was four years old, my mother said I came home one day singing Yellow Submarine out of nowhere, not missing a beat. Apparently, as my father drove me to school every day, I asked him to teach me the lyrics instead of our usual Count To 100 game. The lyrics are embedded in me to this day.
I also remember when our music teacher in the fourth grade allowed us to bring in our own music to play a song for the class. One student, John, said, "I have this new CD that's super cool--there's a really funny song on it!" As he handed it to her, I remember sighing--all the other kids didn't listen to the same music as me, so I was set to tune out the next four minutes. But then Maxwell's Silver Hammer came on, and I stared at John in wonder.
"The Beatles!" I said, a little loudly. "I didn't know you listened to them."
"Yeah," he said, trying not to seem too friendly with me. I wasn't popular even in elementary school. "I just got their new CD."
"Well, it's been out for a while," I said, frowning. I was at that age of knowing something, but being so used to being corrected by everyone that I questioned whether I was remembering it correctly.
"No, it just came out," he said smugly.
"Not the music," I said quietly, but John was already scoffing to his croonies about how I didn't know anything.
Despite childhood assholery, I still always remember that John liked Abbey Road, and that connected us somehow. Even if he always acted a class clown.
In college, my History of Rock and Roll class had a whole segment dedicated to The Beatles. I almost cried during our listening session to Day in the Life as I began to remember that only half of them were still alive, and that it could never be recreated again. I also didn't need to study.
When I was thirteen, I was taught how to use a turntable with Rubber Soul.
"I used to own every album," my father had said, eyes looking fondly at the past while we dug through the boxes from under the stairs. It was dusty, and the smell was that of old books. I couldn't fathom getting rid of them at any point in my life.
I bought my XBox 360 for Beatles: Rock Band, as I had been waiting on purchasing until that special edition came out.
So, basically, it is safe to say that 70 times in three weeks is really not that big of a deal for someone like me. Not that I listen to them constantly, either. I just always make my way back to listen to what they have to say. I feel as if there is something different every time I hear a song, mostly because I realize something new every couple of rounds in my own life.
The focus of this past month has been renewal. Renewal of life, of environment, of goals. Not just because of the New Year, but other alterations in life that were beyond my control. The company I work for let go a slew of people, and had me move locations; death anniversaries are coming up here in March and April; my brother came back for two weeks, then left for South Korea again; my birthday is coming up.
So, I made a list of the most important things in my life, my priorities and what I wanted to do. I made a firm decision to travel in 2015. I made an appointment with a nutritionist to help me with training for said travel in 2015 (as I'll be walking almost a marathon every day). I re-evaluated my weekly schedules for work, and how I was spending my free time. I renewed myself.
Which led to Abbey Road. As I said, some music you listen to, it speaks to you in a different way every time you listen to it. And throughout the 70 times, I heard 'Life Changing Decisions' over and over again. And, although my friends seem to find it as unfathomable as I did with my father ridding himself of vinyls, I just knew that I had to strive for what I know I have to accomplish in life, and not let anyone, or anything, get in the way.
I've always felt that when you know something is right, you can feel it in your gut. I felt it when I wanted to go to Perpich, when I needed to go to New Zealand, when I had to find my way to the cities... And now I know that I need to keep that momentum going.
One of my most favorite things about The Beatles is how versatile their music is. Every album is different, and they grew with their music. The started out as jokers, almost pranksters on the music labels, and slowly turned more serious and dedicated to their own dreams. I like that combination. Music for any occasion in one band.