Beyoncé - Radio
If you graphed the engagements of my friends and acquaintances over the past three years, you would find yourself facing a positive, exponential function.
Welcome to my life.
In an era of changed Facebook statuses or celebratory listserv emails, I tend to view this trend at a distance. Even when I ran into one of my former high school classmates and her husband, I was not all that phased. Maybe it was because she was a girl and girls in my community get married left and right as soon as they graduate high school. Maybe it was because she had moved overseas and I had mostly lost touch with her. Mostly, though, it was and is because I, along with many of my fellow single friends, have concluded that for now, a single life is a life of freedom.
But then, the other day, I saw this guy from my high school class at his grandfather’s funeral. His fiancee was there with him. I saw how she gently squeezed him after he delivered a eulogy. And for the first time, I felt this immediacy, this weird tug. The pull of time. A visual cue that I was, in fact, approaching a certain stage of life.
It’s refreshing, then, to hear Beyonce expound on the metaphor of radio as significant other. I don’t say this because I view “Radio” as a buttress to my staying single argument. Rather, I say this as someone who considers “Radio” as resonant with the here and now. Right now, I am OK with the thrill of letting “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” rattle the seats of my car to the point where I get “butterflies” in my stomach. Right now, I am OK with my friends and I, after three rounds of beer pong and vodka shots, working ourselves into a sweaty frenzy to “Lose Yourself.” Right now, I am OK with smoking cigars “under the moonlight” to the tinny sounds of “Some Nights” playing on my friend’s iPhone speaker. Right now, I am OK with losing my shit to the dubsteppy breakdown of “I Knew You Were Trouble” while I am studying in the library.
What makes this song particularly on point is the way it refers to the exact opposite of mopey, tub-of-ice-cream music as the salve for any internal emptiness that exists. For me, speakers going “boom” and getting “in the zone” provides one of the best musical forms of therapy I can imagine. It radiates this “fuck it all” attitude that sometimes works really well after your close friend tells you that he will propose to his girlfriend in a couple months. This is why, when Beyonce sings about phone dates with her local DJ or getting heavy with the sounds of the stereo in her bedroom, I know she is not joking. Already deeply involved with Jay-Z at this point - the track is off I Am…Sasha Fierce - Beyonce still acknowledges the ongoing, and probably eternal, importance of music as an emotional outlet in her life. That she infuses these lyrics with the same passion and fury that she would, say, “Lose My Breath,” further evinces this.
It is a sentiment I fully co-sign.
I look forward to finding a significant other and, hopefully, sharing the rest of my life with that person. But I also look ahead to the many years I will spend with slow jams and guitar-driven jaunts and country summer-love songs and Dirty South rap. Because music will “never let me down.” Sure, I would like to know that one day I can rely on another person to help me through exhausting work or bad fights or to join with me in rejoicing at birthday parties or holidays. All I know right now, though, is the constant of music. And, right now, I am OK with that.