Friday, May 27, 2016

"Music doesn't have to be so fucking dramatic."

Words I heard from someone today: "I hate how people make music such a dramatic thing, it's just music you don't have to attach so much meaning and drama to a fucking song. You can just listen to it and enjoy the artistry without making it a big, emotional deal."

That's definitely not the first time I've heard or directly been told that, either. To that, I say....

Yes, yes you can JUST ENJOY MUSIC as is without attaching any meaning or emotions to it. Some songs, that's all I do. Ellie Goulding's "Lights", Billy Joel's "The River of Dreams" and Opeth's "The Grand Conjuration" are three of my favorite songs to just listen to and enjoy. They're all very different songs about vastly different things and I just enjoy them.

Then there are other songs that do inspire emotional reactions.

I cannot bring myself to listen to Linkin Park's "My December" because it reminds me of a friend that died in a car crash caused by a drunk driver. We listened to that song so many times because she loved to hear me sing along with it and she also loved the song. The first time I heard it after she died, I had to pull the car over because I completely lost my composure and sat in a gas station parking lot sobbing for 10 minutes. All I could think about was her and how ironically she'd said a few weeks before she died that she wanted to get some of the lyrics from that song tattooed on her arm as a graduation gift because she was going to get through nursing school despite the dozens of obstacles in her way. I remember how she had laughed and said she had better live a long damn laugh after all the years she's spent in school and all the hard work it took to finish highschool and get through nursing school all while raising a beautiful baby girl. I remembered how her face lit up when she listened to me sing that song fir the first time. She said I put all the right emotions into the words that she felt the most and that made her feel better about everything because it made her realize she wasn't so alone because we were both lost and struggling with the same things in different circumstances. I still get a little sad and miss her whenever I stumble across that song so I skip passed it and don't listen to it.

I can't listen to another song, one by a band I absolutely love, because that was the song an ex boyfriend had on loop the night I found him on his bathroom floor covered in blood because he had tried to kill himself. I had to unplug his boombox to get that song to stop playing because it was stuck on repeat and I couldn't change it. I hear that song and it reminds me of that because that's an incredibly vivid memory I have involving the song and that's not something I want to think about or relive in my mind again.

I get that some people would think it's ridiculous to refuse to listen to a song because of memories it brings up or because of emotions it evokes. I get that some people don't connect the dots between music and moments. That some people don't involved emotion with the music. I get that for some people music is just noise to fill the silence. I'm not one of those people.

It's not even just connecting with the words of a song. Sometimes I hear a guitar solo on a blues guitar that fills me with so much joy that I feel like my chest might explode. Or I'll hear someone play something on a piano that's so beautiful and soulful that I end up filled with the emotion the artist is channeling into their music. Sometimes when I play piano, it's for fun. Sometimes it's because I need to express something but I can't find the words so I let my fingers dance across the keys until I feel better.

For me, music is a lot of things. It is fun and enjoyable and doesn't always have a lot of meaning in it. Then sometimes I hear a song that so beautifully articulates thoughts or feelings I have or an experience I'm going through or have gone through and it becomes an emotional thing for me. Sometimes I can't find the right words to express how I feel but then there's a song that expresses it all perfectly and I feel connected to that song. Even if it's someone I'll never meet, hearing words that I relate to so personally helps me feel less alone in any given situation. Which has helped me feel like I could keep going more times than I can count. I'm incredibly passionate about music so it's next to impossible to just leave my emotions at the door sometimes. 

So, when someone tells me I need to "stop being so dramatic" about music and "just enjoy it", I can't help but laugh a little bit.