"'If music be the food of love, play on'"

Disregard the quote's context, music and love are inseparable


I’m sure many a card writer at Hallmark has sought to use that quote to capture book nerds and quote junkies at Valentine’s Day and while the following lines, “Give me the excess of it; that surfeiting, / The appetite may sicken, and so die,” negate the happy tone most people associate with it, the first message certainly has meaning and truth.

Music, in any form, any genre, played by anyone, brings people together in a unified celebration of human creation – EDM lovers rave about their “family,” rude boys and girls link arms and skank together and teeny boppers will wait in line together for hours to meet a pop star.

But music’s part in falling in love, being in love and staying in love is perhaps the most special of all its roles.

Sunday morning, as my boyfriend of nearly five years and I got ready for a day of Christmas shopping, I put Tim Armstrong’s solo album “A Poet’s Life” in my record player. I pulled Dylan onto the dance floor, aka our living room floor, and we joined hands into a two-step.

Today, we bond over shared music interests – we both love punk rock and ska and detest pop punk, pop and country. Dylan is the best dancing partner and we sing to our favorite songs together. We’ve gone to numerous shows together and epically missed his favorite band, Rancid, in Albany because he trusted me and never checked the dates on the tickets himself.

It’s no wonder couples have “their song” – but we have too many to count. From lovey-dovey ones like “Without You” by the Mad Caddies and “Who Would’ve Thought” by Rancid to our jam songs like “Take ‘Em All” by Cock Sparrer to singing anything by Bayside together or skanking hand in hand at a Slackers show, music plays a major role in our love for each other.

But music has been so much more than just favorite songs for us. Music expresses love but it also helps love evolve.

One morning during my freshman year of high school, I was waiting to leave the “band room” at the end of class and in walked this skinny, dark-haired guy in tight jeans, carrying a trombone case.

And that was it.

I was only 15 and he was just 16, but we’ve been deeply connected since that day.

Since then, music has been part of every step of our relationship, from falling in love while playing together in school ensembles, to learning what we love about each other by uncovering our similar music interests, to staying and growing in love by dancing together.

A year or so after we first met, a close friend and I were hanging out with Dylan when he pulled out one of his guitars. He hooked it into the red, retro-style Epiphone amp he had at the time and started playing Bayside’s “Blame it on Bad Luck,” singing, and looking directly at me. Maybe not the most romantic song, but I still swoon thinking about it.

Within our first year of dating, I signed us up for ballroom dance lessons, and no, Dylan did not protest. He was probably more excited about them than I was. Of course it was a little awkward at first, but we learned to fox trot and waltz alongside couples at least twice our age (we tend to be the youngest couple and most things we go to, like local jazz concerts or to see The English Beat, a massively popular ska band of the ’80s).

Just before going – and failing – to see Rancid in Albany, we spent the day exploring the state capital; no maps and no tour guide brochures. We hiked through the pine bush trails, camped for the night – one of the children at the site across from us pulled out her cello at 10 a.m. to practice – ate at PF Chang’s and had a damn good five-hour drive home, listening to Rancid, talking and taking in the scenery.

Music is one thing we’ve always agreed on and I haven’t cringed listening to “his” music since high school, when bands like The Acacia Strain made a few too many appearances on his Zune – yeah, no iPods in this household. Hardcore and metal were second to his love of punk rock and ska back then.

Music speaks to our desires, our passions and our emotions in ways that language alone cannot.

From that first moment in the band room, I should’ve known – and maybe I did – that music and my love for Dylan would be as inseparable as we are.

In the words of Tim Armstrong, “Who would’ve thought that dreams come true / and who would’ve thought I’d end up with you?”

email: emma.janicki@ubspectrum.com