Sunday, January 23, 2011

January 23, 2011 - The Power of Music

I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of music lately. Throughout my whole life, music has played an integral part. Songs of all kinds have been there through it all, from happy childhood memories to good times with friends, from tender moments with a loved one to moments of heartbreak, creating a soundtrack of my life, of all of our lives.

I recently published a piece on YCN called “Soundtrack of a Relationship.” It was all about the songs that told the story of my recent relationship from beginning to end. That soundtrack is but a small snippet of the larger soundtrack to my life, and it’s reflected in much of my writing. Music is always being played when I’m around and I can’t imagine life without it.

Due to recent circumstances in my life, I’ve been drawn to music with more of a down tempo feel to it, songs that give me comfort in my sadness. I’ve actually been surprised at how many songs that I already knew could suddenly have a different, more authentic meaning that’s relative to my life these days, and I’ve posted quite a few of them here (check out the labels “music videos” and “song lyrics").

Although listening to such songs keeps me in a place where I don’t generally need to be, I think it’s a natural part of life’s progression. I think we all need to feel sad once in awhile. There’s a certain type of comfort you get when a singer tells stories of things you can relate to. My only question is whether or not listening to sad music too much makes the melancholy linger for too long, but sometimes it’s hard to listen to up tempo stuff when you’re feeling down. Eventually a break from all of that must happen.

Conversely, music has a great power to lift up the spirits. I’ve got many favorites when it comes to that. Whether its Heather Small’s “Proud” reminding me that my own actions determine my place in this world or Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” telling me to “live my life with arms wide open”, songs such as these are inspirational and almost always lift my spirits when I hear them. These are some of the intermediary songs I play to help myself be a little more optimistic and they do help.

Then of course there’s the happy music. For some, this can take the form of hard rocking heavy metal or a down home country sing-a-long. For others like me it’s songs that make me want to move. You know I love to dance. That’s always when I’m happiest!

With the sad stuff, though, I think that we can relate to the lyrics because we are all human. Song writers and singers are real people and they’ve had to deal with many of the same issues in life and love as we all have, and we could probably find a song to match almost any situation we’re faced with.

As such I’ve rediscovered some old songs, like Pink’s “It’s All Your Fault” or Chicane’s “No Ordinary Morning”, as well as some new ones that have fit my current state. Is this a coincidence? Not at all! If I were facing heartbreak over a partner’s infidelity or the impending departure of a loved one due to illness, I’d probably find songs to fit those situations too. That’s what makes music so great!

It’s important to know that we all experience highs and lows in our lifetimes and that for whatever situation you find yourself in, there’s always a song out there that will speak for you. You just have to find it.

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