Is it just me or does music have magical powers? The perfect song can help you get over a breakup, the right album (do people actually own these ancient artifacts anymore?) can help one get over a tragedy, and even the right upbeat playlist can help you power through that last ten minutes of your workout you have been dreading all day.
Now, more than ever, there is a beautiful variety of genres and writing styles out there to fit just about any occasion and with the technological advancements to remaster old work, we are blessed to be able to hear some of the rarest and most raw footage of musicians from the past.
I can remember as a child, sitting in my dad’s music room late at night during his jam sessions. I probably looked quite neurotic but I would jump around and throw my stringy hair around as he hammered out Zeppelin’s “Black Dog”. Other times I would sit beside him and sing along as he strummed Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight”. This shared love for music created a special bond between my father and me that is still so strong today and to which I am extremely grateful.
Then, there were the pre-teen years (cue pig tails and boy bands). I can remember buying my first ever *NSYNC album, No Strings Attached. I was with my dad as he was purchasing a new truck, and although I am sure I made his ears bleed, he allowed me to blare it in his new Ford in the dealership parking lot. I was never a Tiger Beat posters on the wall or pictures in my locker kind of girl, but I do recall owning a supposed autobiography of Britney, providing
me with all the secrets on how to “be like Britney”. I followed the instruction, applying my toffee colored eye shadow and blush colored lip gloss. I even purchased the graphic tees and boot cut light wash jeans that were to complete the appearance package of becoming a pop-star. However, somehow, I never managed to capitalize off the look quite like she did. Having this music to grow up with was such a blessing for a twelve-year-old girl trying to find her way. Innocent songs about love and crushes and heartbreak powered me through my pre-teen years until…
I discovered punk rock. My first car always had a mix tape in the CD player, usually filled with punk rock bands of the times: Fall Out Boy, Blink 182, and Good Charlotte to name a few. This was when I first began to realize that darker feelings were okay, and that they were normal for compassionate people who wear their
hearts on their sleeves. Like the teeny bopper pop stars mentioned in the previous paragraph, these bands were still singing of love and crushes and heartbreak, however, instead of sulking in their bedroom drawing hearts on their first love’s yearbook picture, they were burning their ex’s clothes in their backyard or screaming infidelities in a poorly decorated apartment.
I grew up in a small southeastern Kentucky town, so, obviously I had to have a little country music in my roots at some point, right?
I can remember my older cousin, Sarah, sitting with me in our grandparent’s living room playing one country song after another, quizzing me on who the artist singing was. It didn’t take me long to differentiate between the crooning of Rascal Flatts and Tim McGraw, or the vocal styles of Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood. I can remember several songs from Some Hearts and Kerosene that encouraged me to make tough decisions in my early adult years that I may not have had the courage to do otherwise.
Soon after, in my college years, I began to listen to dance, hip-hop and R&B. This style allowed a carefree and lighthearted party vibe while downplaying the more serious adult topics their lyrics suggested.
Unless you were actually dissecting the lyrics, who would have known that the upbeat hip hop songs we were dancing on the tabletops to were really addressing darker issues. Songs such as Kanye’s Heartless or Gucci’s Spotlight which typically packed the dancefloor were really addressing heartache and loss – but who cared because they had sick beats, right? *Side note: Spotlight was the song my husband and I chose to walk out to when being introduced as Mr. and Mrs. for the very first time proving that in some instances, a melody is more important than the lyrics.
Fast forward to today and I can honestly say I find pleasure from all genres and music from my past and on any given day I am liable to search for a 90s pop playlist on Spotify or YouTube a collection of Fleetwood Mac songs. Currently I am enjoying Spotify Sessions: The Hits. A certain song can begin playing and I break down in tears, while a different song may begin that makes me get up and dance. I am so thankful to have the appreciation for music that I do and am equally thankful for the emotions I feel when listening.
One of my favorite quotes about music goes like this –
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” -Victor Hugo
Some have no problem at all expressing their feelings and emotions, showing no fear or embarrassment. Others, myself included, can often find it difficult to show that vulnerability or take the chance of being misunderstood. That is where music comes to play. Music can be interpreted in many ways and what one song may say to you, might speak to another in a completely different way. One component of music that connects us all is the way it can explain, without any words being spoken by us, what we are feeling and can help to activate empathy in us all.
Music is the perfect medicine for any situation. It encourages “letting go” of thoughts that might be consuming your mind and allows for a temporary release of stress and pain. It can create the ideal setting for a celebratory environment or uplifting spirit to power on through life.
What is your favorite memory of music? Share in the comment section below and thanks for reading!