Sunday, August 5, 2007

more than just sound

I've thought about why I like music. I remember back when I was about 10 when I didn't like any music at all. I thought it was all stupid and dumb and whatever. I don't know what made me really get into it, but I know I started with the radio first, stuff like Nirvana and Pearl Jam and No Doubt and Matchbox 20 (this was circa 1995/6). I remember loving the Men in Black theme song by Will Smith, it got lots of airplay. My first two albums were "Yourself or Someone Like You" (a present from my cousin for Christmas, I think) and "Tragic Kingdom" (a birthday present from a friend). Don't remember which came first. But why do I like it so much now? I've got 20 gigs worth of legal music on my computer. How come?
I think one answer is that I'm not very good at expressing feelings, but music does that very well and I can relate to what a song is saying. Also, music is a very social thing for me. I love to hear what other people like, and if I like it then I associate that music with the friend who recommended it to me. I still remember who first introduced me to Elliott Smith and I still think of my cousin when I listen to "Yourself or Someone Like You." Music brings back good memories of people I know or events I've attended. REM's song "Stand" still reminds me of the Youth Conference where the theme was "Stand for Something" (my mom asked me to help pick a song to go along with the theme, for some reason she didn't like "Losing My Religion" quite as much).
Music is beautiful. Whether it's a Beethoven piano sonata or Sublime singing/rapping about gang, life, I find real beauty in these melodies and words. They stay in my head forever. I can't tell you how many times situations or things people say reminds me of a lyric to a song. It reminds me of the scene in "The Shawshank Redemption" where the main character puts on that amazing opera song and later tells his fellow inmates about how they can put him in solitary for as long as they want, but they can't take away the music from his head.
And of course, there's the cathartic effect. I can change my mood to almost anything I want just by picking the appropriate album. I can rebel with Rage, I can commiserate with Jeff Buckley, I can escape with The Velvet Underground, I can funk out with Beck, I can smile listening to SHAKE YOUR PEACE!. I really like that scene in Philadelphia where Tom Hanks listens to that beautiful song to get away from the devastating pain of slowly dying of AIDS.
In short, music really helps me get through life. It's one more reason I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It helps me widen my horizons. It helps me put things in perspective. It helps me connect with other people. Music is something I love. I'm not sure if you (or I) now understand any better why, but I do.

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