Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Strong Visceral Connection

"Music is a total constant. That's why we have such a strong visceral connection to it, you know? Because a song can take you back instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person. No matter what else has changed in you or the world, that one song stays the same, just like that moment."
— Sarah Dessen

I came across this quote the other day, and I realized just how much it made me think of myself. I first read the book it came from a few years ago, but I didn't realize then how much I relate to this quote. Each individual sentence in this quote relates to me in some way. Let me break it down for you.

"Music is a total constant." It is. In my life, the only thing that changes consistently with me is music. My musical taste changes as I grow, and the meaning of lyrics only become deeper with time. However, I will never get to a point where I hate music. For example, the song Better That We Break by Maroon 5 has a very deep meaning to me. The line that means the most is this, "I’m not fine, I’m in pain. It’s harder everyday. Maybe we’re better off this way? It’s better that we break…" This song has always meant something to me, but when my maternal grandparents split up, it became a constant in my life. I couldn't sleep without listening to it for about three months. The lyrics previously quoted helped me to realize that I wasn't alone in this. My burden had been shared by many. I wasn't the only one to experience the split of loved ones. Now, it means something a little bit different, but its still a constant. That song doesn't change, my interpretation does. Like Mika said, "This is my interpretation, and it don't, don't, make sense."

"That's why we have such a strong visceral connection to it, you know?" First off, visceral is defined as having to do with coarse or base emotions, or to proceed from instinct rather than intellect. What this means is that music makes us think, and makes us feel very basic, nevertheless, strong emotions. In order to feel these emotions, we have to understand what the artist is saying, and yes, musicians are artists. Mayday Parade writes, "And I hope this makes you happy now, that the flame we had is burning out. And I hope you like your pictures facing down, as even broken hearts may have their doubts." They're being a bit sarcastic here. They don't care what you think. They are over the hurt, and they want nothing to do with you, whoever you are. 

"Because a song can take you back instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person." This especially rings true for me. When I hear the song Grace Kelly by Mika, I think back to when I was in grade six. I was being bullied, and I was really far away from my extended family. You have to understand that my family is incredibly close, so I struggled. The song is basically saying that I will be who I am, and you can bash that, and try to change me, but I won't change for you. This song changed my outlook on my life at that point in time. I became quite a bit happier. I became more comfortable with who I was. This song came to me when I needed, and whenever I hear it, that is what I am reminded of. Another song that came to me exactly when I needed it was David Bowie's As The World Falls Down, from the 1986 motion picture Labyrinth, starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly. I grew up with this movie. It has been my favourite for as long as I can remember. It wasn't until I was 14 that I really listened to this song though. "As the pain sweeps through, makes no sense for you. Every thrill has gone, wasn't too much fun at all, but I'll be there for you, as the world falls down." This song makes me think of all the people that have been there for me through the years. People like my parents, my grandparents, my cousins, aunts, uncles, and various other family members. People like my best friend, and all of my other friends. This song is like a wake up call. I am not alone. I never will be. 

"No matter what else has changed in you or the world, that one song stays the same, just like that moment."This pretty much sums up my thoughts. That song never changes, even if you do. The only things that change are your interpretations of the lyrics, which can change continuously. I've loved this song for years. "How do you think I'm gonna get along without you when you're gone?" In Another One Bites the Dust, I'm pretty sure the boys of Queen aren't saying what I interpret the lyrics to mean. I think it means that you're not sure how to go on without a loved one, be it a friend, a family member, or a significant other. That song never changes for me, but the lyrical meaning does. As I grow up, the meaning changes for me.

To quote Abba, "Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing. Thanks for all the joy they're bringing. Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty? What would life be? Without a song or a dance what are we? So, I say thank you for the music, for giving it to me." I'm incredibly thankful for music, and I could not live without it.


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