Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Freein' My Soul

One of my favorite movies is "Almost Famous." I love that movie. It speaks to me, partly because I identify with the characters and see myself in them at times, but mostly because that movie is a tribute to the beauty and power of music. It shows how music can unite people and lift people. It shows that music can inspire people to inspire others and to better themselves. And isn't that what rock and roll tries to do? Change the world? Even if it is one person at a time.

Music is the only thing that never lets you down in life. There's a scene in that movie, the band has had a fight, possibly broken up, and they're all sulking on their bus. Thick with pride, heavy with anger, and then they start to sing along to one of their favorite songs. The whole spirit just lifts and all the negativity seems to break away into tiny pieces. Their love for music takes precedence over any personal issues, and they can be together again without having to apologize or explain anything. Love means never having to say you're sorry? No. Music means never having to say you're sorry.

That's what music does. It speaks for the dark places in our hearts that we can't articulate because we can't see them clear enough. And because we are too saturated in them to find words to describe what we don't understand we're feeling. Music finds the words for us. And when the words and the images of the music fall short of expressing emotions exactly, the sounds transcend and elevate any shortcomings.

Because music is the one thing that never lets you down and the only thing that can express your own thoughts better than you can, music is also your best friend. Sometimes it's your only friend because it's all that understands you. On a bad day, find that perfect CD and pop it in. Everything else fades away and seems so trivial in the distance. The endless musical choices just contribute to its ability to adapt to every situation. Sunny day, listen to some peppy punk like The Strokes. Frustrating day, listen to Janis Joplin and scream along at the top of your lungs. Sad day, listen to some mellow Damien Rice to calm you or some Norah Jones to numb the pain. Bad breakup? Numerous choices because, as a friend likes to say, it's easier to write songs about love gone wrong than anything because pain inspires creativity. Old angry Alanis, bummed out Matt Nathanson, reflective Indigo Girls, bluesy Will Hoge, broken hearted Ryan Adams or depressed Counting Crows...I could go on and on.

No matter what, music can meet you where you are. And can take you to better places. That's what they mean when they say music frees your soul.


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