Just lately I’ve found myself having more musically-induced epiphanies than normal. What do I mean by that? I’m referring to a love of song, and the potential in which we can feel differently about things as soon as there is a little music involved.
Have you ever been one of those people that procrastinates behind the computer or television for hours on end, avoiding your list of important things to do because you’re lacking in energy? Perhaps you’ve just woken up, or maybe you’ve just got in from a busy day. You’re tired, and you allow yourself to become lost in the world of sitcoms, reality t.v or website after website. I find that in moments like this there is always one thing that can instantly shift me back into life, and that is music.
No matter what the weather, what the mood, what the activity… there will always be a song out there that can get you really stuck in to whatever it is you’re doing, and allow you to feel whatever you’re meant to be feeling. On my Spotify I have around a thousand songs all grouped into separate playlists, to be listened to at separate times. When I’m feeling sad, I’ll revel in the company of the soft, heartbreaking ballads in my ‘Sad Songs‘ playlist. When I’m feeling good, or in need of some inspiration, I’ll listen to my ‘Uplifting Songs’. When I fancy some exercise, I’ll put on ‘Workout Music’. ‘Old Favourites’ allows me to fondly reminisce the past, as do ‘Travelling Favourites‘; and if I just want to dance around to some good music I’ll put on my General Stuff playlist. To me, music is an outlet for emotion and by listening to it, we are expressing ourselves in subtle yet effective manner.
Another thing I love about music, is the way in which it can so beautifully juxtapose whatever it is we’re looking at or thinking about, and add another dimension to it somewhat.
Yesterday, I was walking around the area below during twilight. It was looking beautiful and mysterious and so I took some photos to capture the images forever. In the meantime my MP3 player shuffled onto a song that I haven’t listened to in years. The lyrics and emotion of the piece seemed to make what I was looking at come to life even more. Imagination set in and it made for a wonderful moment; something that I would refer to as a ‘musical epiphany’.
“Have you ever seen a sound?
Have you listened to an image?
Have you ever touched a thought?
Have you ever tasted nothing?
Have you ever told a lie that was true more than truth?
Because truth it had lied all its life
When it spoke to you.
And what did it say, it is that, it is this, this goes here, here is there,
It is not, yes it is
It was dulling your senses, your eyes they were bound.
Have you ever, my friends, been looking around?” ~ ‘Oh, Miserere’, The Cat Empire
I just love and admire how a good piece of music can add to our situations and surroundings in such an incredible way. Each time, it multiplies my appreciation of music and makes my MP3 player seem not a luxury item, but a necessity! I cannot walk alone, nor ride in a vehicle, without the company of the music to add texture and dimension to what’s around us. The journeys during which my headphones have broken or the battery has run out have seemed like something akin to torture. Long, arduous torture with nothing but the sound of an engine to enjoy.
I have a tattoo of three musical notes on my lower waist (my 2-year old nephew likes to refer to it as “the drawing on your big bum”). It was my first one and as such I wanted it to have a special meaning. I opted for the notes because it represented the music which I so love and enjoy, and the guidance that it has often provided me with over the years. The way I see it, music is a direct child of passion, and in any expression of genuine passion there is the potential to find a gem of inspiration, especially within the lyrics.
I think the world would be a much duller place without the existence of such a vibrant art form.
So this leads nicely onto the Song of the Day and for today’s entry I’m choosing:
Animal Collective – Summertime Clothes:
As somebody who frequently bemoans the lack of originality in today’s chart music, and who recently posted an article which described the importance of not judging things too prematurely, I feel somewhat guilty that until now I have never really given Baltimore’s Animal Collective as attentive an ear as I should have done. I’ve been missing out on something magical. They’ve been doing this for a decade.
This is certainly a band which will divide the music-loving population. Why? They are strange. They are experimental. They require a patience we don’t always have when we switch on our stereos and just want to have a singalong in our bedroom and release all those pent up emotions.
I use a personalised internet radio station. I type in an artist I like, and it automatically selects songs by similar artists that it thinks I’ll enjoy. Animal Collective was always one of those bands that I knew I’d probably skip the song after the first 10 seconds because all it ever seemed to sound like was just a few repetitive, fuzzy and somewhat annoying noises that sounded similar to somebody operating an industrial iron in the 1980’s. However, one day I must have been a little pre-occupied, because I left the song running. I was so focused on doing something else, that I wasn’t really hearing the song anyway, until all of a sudden I found myself having no choice but to listen. The music was coming out of my computer and grabbing me by the scruff of the neck and saying, “You WILL listen to me, damnit”.
It’s just… sublime. What I like about this song is that each time I listen to it, I hear a new part to it. It’s full of interesting backing noises and vocals. It makes the ‘hits’ of today’s charts seem like wallpaper music in comparison.
Its just nice to see that there are artists out there who keep it unique.