Road Trips with Jason Crane: Music Is The Best Thing Ever (Conclusion)

(Note: This is part 4 in a series. If you haven’t yet, go back and read parts 1, 2 and 3.)

We’ve reached the end of this four-part tale of my life through music. Over the past month I’ve been telling you about some of the places I’ve been and the bands I discovered along the way. I left a ton out, of course, but this isn’t my autobiography. (Speaking of which, I’ve had such a weird life that I often get asked when I’m going to write a memoir. My standard response: “A lot of people have to die before I can write a memoir.”) Rather than give you more dates and places and bands like I have in the past three editions, for this final installment I thought I’d talk about why I chose “Music Is The Best Thing Ever” for the title of this series.

If the first three parts of this series have shown anything, it’s that there have been a ton of changes in my life, but one thing that has never changed is the presence of music. Through everything — childhood; teenage romance and heartbreak; marriage; kids; divorce; so many moves — music has been there. Bands have come and gone from my regular listening, but the music is constant.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years thinking about why that is. For example, I’ve met people who say they don’t really care about music. These people are fine people, I’m sure, but I don’t understand them. That’s because for me music speaks to a primal need for emotional connection. Human beings aren’t the fastest animals or the strongest animals or the toughest animals. The thing we do best is connect. We form relationships and communities, and that’s how we’ve survived. Music connects us; it joins us with one another and with the human need for beauty and joy and sadness and excitement and peace.

When you’re listening to the Drive and a song comes on that you love and you roll down the windows and crank it up, you’re forming a connection. You’re in touch with the DJ, with everyone else listening, with anybody else who’s got their windows down and stereo cranked, and with the musicians who made the song you’re listening to. You’re also tapped in to the rich history of music that informs everything we listen to. You’re part of something larger than yourself, even if you think you’re just shouting the chorus of “Lido Shuffle.”

That’s why music matters to me, and why good radio matters to me. It’s so easy these days in our polarized world to feel like we’re on opposing teams, pitted against the people who think differently. And sure, those differences can matter. But really we’re all passengers on the same spaceship, and the in-flight music is great. The more we can learn to recognize our common humanity, the better chance we have of being around to listen to music two thousand years from now. So crank up “Lido Shuffle” or your own favorite tune. I’ll be listening right along with you.