If I could have an audio device implanted in my head, just so I could always listen to music, I would. In fact, there’s constantly a song booted-up in my brain and ready to play whenever I need it.
I believe music to be one of the top three gifts bestowed on us. As the gap between humans and the other living beings on the earth continues to widen, music is one of those commonalities that will always bind us. I’m not sure there would ever be a day when humans would no longer feel the connection to Mother Nature while listening to birdsong, but I am sure that if it does happen, it becomes a world that I no longer want to live in.
As a child I sang constantly. I’m no prodigy, I can tell you that. But, it’s something I enjoy and still do to this day. Whether I’m home, in the car, or in my office at work, if I’m alone, I’m singing.
I played piano, trumpet, and French horn. I sang in chorus and choir. I dabbled with the saxophone, clarinet, and flute. I tried percussion (I love percussion). Alas, I have neither the coordination nor the level of sustained concentration it takes to play drums. I always wanted to learn guitar, but never really got around to it – yet. It’s still in my plans.
Although I’m not accomplished in any of it, interaction with music is a staple of my life. No drama intended, but I sincerely believe that it’s a large part of my being. It sounds odd I know, but this is the way I processes and store data.
Music has always had a grip on my brain. If I need to remember something important, I try to associate it with a song. Some people store their memories by imagining placing them in rooms in a large house. I keep mine in a record store (remember those?).
Words are important to me. I take care in the way I use them and I expect my favorite musicians to do the same. If the lyrics in a song seem chaotic and thrown together without much thought or feeling, chances are that I won’t ever listen to it again.
That’s why genres such as pop, country, rap, and hip-hop do nothing for me. I can’t relate to being a teenager with lots of boy troubles. I never lost my dog. (OK, I did once. But that’s a story for a different time.) I didn’t grow up poor or in the inner-city. Songs in these genres sound hollow and unfulfilling to me somehow.
However, I can relate to “The Quest”; the search for one’s self, inner-turmoil, rebellion, self-reflection, etc. This is how I see most of the hard rock/metal genres and this is primarily what I listen to. I also consider blues music to have some of these same qualities, so I occasionally turn my satellite radio from Octane to Bluesville. These feel “full” and rewarding to me. They tell stories that I can relate to.
I can’t imagine a world without this wonderful and most effective way to communicate. Anyone, no matter their culture, can discern the emotion projected by a song, even if he/she doesn’t speak the language of the lyrics. We all speak the language of music.
Some of my favorite bands for their lyrics:
- Alice in Chains
- Black Sabbath
- Led Zeppelin
- Octane (local to Philadelphia)
- Pearl Jam
- Slipknot /Stone Sour/ Corey Taylor
- Sully Erna (Avalon)