Thursday, June 24, 2010

Muse-ic

Clever title, no?

Music breathes life into words. You can take a mediocre-to-bad poem, set it to a catchy tune, and it becomes profound and meaningful. Just look at the lyrics of your favorite song written down on paper without the music. Chances are they're pretty lame on their own. (There are exceptions, many of which were good poetry before they were songs.) Ha! I'd like to see Message in a Bottle written down in its entirety. "Message in a bottle, message in a bottle, message in a bottle..."

With good music, if the lyrics are at all meaningful, it's a winner in my book. I listen to the words. I learn them. I sing along. If the song is in Spanish, I Google the lyrics and run them through the translator just so I know what the heck is so important that it should have such nice music with it. I do listen to the words.

Every week iTunes has three free downloads, plus a music video. There's usually at least one that I'll like enough to download, and sometimes it's all four, even the Spanish one.

Sometimes, they pick songs that I simply adore, and I listen to them over and over all week long. (After which I'm usually sick of them.) Take this week's songs, for example. Since Tuesday, I've listened to Life and Break Me Out twenty-four times. (What the heck is wrong with me? I figure as long as I still like them, I might as well play them over and over, ad nauseam. Maybe there's a set number of days before I get sick of a song, and not a set number of plays. I shall have to experiment further.) Does anyone else do that?

Occasionally--about once a month--the people at iTunes will pick a song that strongly connects with what I'm writing in both feeling and words. Last month's I Am Not a Robot fit nicely with my invisible people driving cars idea that I had around that same time.

Last week's American Slang has the line "You told me fortunes in American slang." It always makes me think of Alley. And I swear the words sung in the background behind that phrase are "In a dream I had."

This week's Single of the Week, Break Me Out, strikes me as one of those songs that perfectly capture a certain common feeling. Sure, it's just rock, and sounds a little country-ish, but if my life were a movie, this would be the soundtrack beneath the summer-after-high-school scene. That was when I wanted to take a ream of paper and a box of pens and ride my bike (the real kind of bike) across the country. I wanted to get out and see the sunrise...well, pretty much like the song says. And I longed for someone (read: a girl) to get away with. "They'll carry on, who'll notice we're gone? So easily replaced."

I went to college instead.

Another song like that is 1979, but it captures a different feeling. It's more the "what's the point?" feeling I had through most of high school. (Incidentally, I was born in 1979.) The words don't say anything very concrete, like many songs. Overall, they paint a clear picture. Go listen, and you'll see it. It ain't pretty. "We were sure we'd never see an end to it all...we don't know just where our bones will rest."

I love music. I love words. Together, they have unmatched power. 

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