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May the Force be with Your Playlist

March 30, 2019
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Music Aficionado and Jim Hudson Lexus Internet Coordinator Jim Dupree


Recently I have been curating my Apple music playlists, choosing favorite instrumental works (such as Adah’s theme, composed by Mikhail Baryshnikov), 80’s music (Rock me Amadeus), and of course, the quintessential “Desert Island” playlist, featuring songs I could enjoy endlessly if I were stuck on a desert island, (The Show Must Go On by Queen, Life is Beautiful by Sixx A.M). A disclaimer: I don’t know anything about music. I cannot read sheet music, I cannot play an instrument, and nobody wants to hear me sing (trust me). So, all of this attention to playlists triggered a question in my mind: What music would an actual aficionado put on their favorites list? What songs appeal to someone who understands composition, melody, and other technical components to the artform? What do they hear that is different from what I hear?

Fortunately, I work with someone at Jim Hudson Lexus who is a music guru, so I sought him out to inquire about his desert island playlist. Jim Dupree is our dealership’s Internet Sales Coordinator, but his previous profession was Music Director. He can play almost any instrument, most notably the drums, trumpet, French horn and piano. He and his wife both have their Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in the field. In addition to his faith and his family, music is one of his greatest passions. In college at Georgia Southern, he was a member of their brass quintet, jazz band, marching band and symphony. Suffice it to say, the guy knows his stuff. I wanted to know, what is Jim listening to, what does it sound like to him, and why does he like it so much?

Like most fans of music, he admits that he enjoys many genres (I didn’t ask him about the 80’s music though. I don’t imagine that he shares my affection for Wham!). He told me that he enjoys soundtrack music the most, and listed John Williams as a favorite composer. When cornered to choose something to listen to on a desert island, he said that the songs from the movie Star Wars would be a safe bet. While I am familiar with the powerfully majestic opening score, I was curious about the soundtrack overall, and did a little listening and a little research.

It turns out, there was a strategy at work that fostered the mutual success of the film and the soundtrack. Writer Dan Neilan explains why the movie and the score are associated so strongly together in our brain, a technique used in the days of opera: leitmotif. “a leitmotif is an identifying “musical tag” or “melodic moment” that’s reprised every time the composer wants the audience to realize or remember something”. Perhaps a leitmotif is to music what a hashtag is for social media: a snippet attached so often to a morsel of information that the two become inexorably connected.

Dan Neilan’s explanation of leitmotif in Star Wars music

Neilan offers a link to another interesting article on the subject by New Yorker writer Alex Ross, who explains that “Lucas liked the idea of a sci-fi saga unfolding against a Romantic, swashbuckling musical backdrop, and Williams responded artfully.” My colleague Jim Dupree, while stating that listening to music is soothing and relaxing, surely also appreciates the genius of this approach. While Jim states that he likes simple or complex compositions, he concedes that he “hears things that others don’t hear”, compared to a neophyte like myself: I know what I like but might not fully understand the reasons.

The intelligence and attention to detail that informed his music career have also translated into a successful foray into his work at the dealership. Jim is charged with managing a vast field of data to ensure that guest relationships are cultivated with care. His values of perseverance and integrity mesh well with our culture; his amiable and helpful approach is appreciated by customers and fellow team members. Despite being a new member to the Jim Hudson family, he is an integral part of the sales team and tells us that he appreciates the positive environment and opportunity to leverage his skills for the organization as a whole.

When not at work, Jim enjoys time with his wife Debra and their son Ryan, playing music or sports. He tells us that his daily goals for himself include living true to his faith and supporting his family. When the Duprees travel, they enjoy the acoustic brilliance of the Mark Levinson sound system in the Lexus ES, shining the light on the nuances of the music that enriches their lives. In the final analysis, that is ultimately what our playlists do for each of us; like all art, each piece of music resonates for enigmatic reasons. For some, it may be treasured memories of happy life moments; for others, a powerful soundtrack that appeals to a more cerebral appreciation of the craft. Either way, it is nice to have a music expert in the Lexus family to turn to as we curate our own personal playlists.

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