Music is like medicine, it’s like first love, like the cold winter night you sat on the roof staring at the sky. It cleanses the soul, the mind and the body.
Robert Plant painfully hums ‘Tangerine’ and I am transported to a place far away “and now a thousand years” seems to be what lies between the present and where I am. I can feel the regret and the pain he suffers and at the end I mourn with him for his loss and mine. Everyone has a favorite song, and that song quietly says so much about you.
In every note and lyric, every scale and beat, a whole life seems to go by; the storyteller weaves his story through the golden threads of clefts and sub clefts, of highs and lows, of the alto and the bass. He tells his pain, his joy, his love, his hate to only you through his music. It is a conversation between two friends, who have known each other all their lives or maybe they have just met. Their hearts open wide; their souls shine through, naked and vulnerable, pure and true. No facades, no pretenses, just two friends, two soul mates connected at a level beyond human understanding and rational explanation.
Whenever I hear the snaky riff of ‘The Man who sold the World’, Cobain is alive to me, in every way that he can be, in the only ways that matter. He stands before me, and in his voice I find truth, a truth that is more true to me than reality itself. Everybody has a songs that keep playing in their heads over and over again, a song that brings tears to their eyes or a song that brings about an epiphany, whatever it may be. A song that brings back old memories and one that seems to hark at the future. You can always associate the way you feel with a song.
When I’m happy the music is blaring, “excuse me while I kiss the sky!” and when I’m sad I have an entire band consoling me softly, “don’t you cry tonight, I still love you”. The song I listen to is a euphemism for my state of mind. It’s the story of my life, or maybe the life I want. Music gives you eyes, so you can not just see but look. It gives you wings so you can be free. And it gives you company, because when you are sad “you can always go to the record store and meet your friends”.
John Lennon wasn’t ashamed of being a dreamer, and as his fingers danced along the piano, he urged the whole world to do just one simple thing-imagine! And he made it sound so easy. Everyone who heard his plea couldn’t help but believe that maybe one day it won’t be just a dream. “Picture yourself in a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies”. Till today I think there are people who still choose to live in this world over the real one. Music gives you the power to be whoever you want to be.
“Whenever I’m sad she comes to me, with a thousand miles she gives to me free, it’s alright she says, it’s alright, take anything from me, anything”. Was Jimi Hendrix talking about the same thing? About how a song can make you smile, about how it plays innocently yet meaningfully and leaves it to you to make whatever you want of it, love it or leave it, but it will always be true, giving you its all, playing over and over again, just the same. The great musicians are only the medium; they are messengers who bring about a revelation in us, who take us to a higher plane, the one that exists within us. They teach us how to suffer greatly, and have the courage to sing about our pain. Through their melody they tell us not to take the easy way out, and at the end of a song the training voice of a screaming vocalist urges us not to emulate his life but to learn from his mistakes and grow. Just as a friend would want us to. “this is the end my beautiful friend, it hurts to set you free, but you won’t follow me, the end of laughter and soft lies, the end of nights we tried to die, this is the end”.
Their music is life giving, as well as life taking, their pain is empowering yet weakening, and their happiness is great but momentary. “With every mistake we must surely be learning”. Taking life and running with it, making whatever you want of it. Live and learn, listen and grow. Music is all about that.
Lee Wie Mien Jackson
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kyramas/1409214672/]