It has the power to transport us, to transform us and to inspire us. It can remind us of our first date, our first heartbreak, our last year in high school, that friend we’ve fallen out of contact with but still miss. It can give us strength when we feel weak, or help us get psyched before a big event. Music speaks to us and lets us know we aren’t alone in the world. It drives us, motivates us and helps us keep going when we feel like giving up.
Music is everything to me, and to so many others. I want to take a closer look at why.
When words fail, music speaks*.
Have you ever had a day so horrible that you can barely find the words to describe it? Or a day so wonderful that there aren’t enough adjectives to explain how amazingly spectacular you feel? Music’s got you covered. Whether it’s celebrating the highs or lamenting the lows, music helps us express exactly how we feel. Who hasn’t sat in their car blasting Eminem (or pick your favourite angry artist) as a giant ‘SCREW YOU’ to the rest of the world after a bad day? Or cranked up Ke$ha on the way to the club to get pumped to do some dancing? (Don’t lie…Whether you like her or not, Ke$ha songs are awesome dance music :p)
Music can also be the perfect way to tell someone how you feel. There’s something a lot less scary about using someone else’s words to explain something than it is to say it by yourself. When you’re lost for words, music can be the vehicle you use to find your voice.
Music lets us know that we aren’t alone.
Name an emotion and I can name a song about it. Music is written from experiences, and so music lets us know that we aren’t alone in those experiences. It lets us know that we aren’t alone in how we are feeling, which can be a huge comfort to us when how we’re feeling isn’t that great. For example: When I was going through the worst of The Dark and Twisties, my go-to band was Linkin Park (and their album Meteora, for those of you playing along at home). Whenever I had a rough day I could come home, lock myself in bedroom and blast their album on a repeat loop until I felt better. There were some people in life at the time who didn’t understand why I would do that. They saw it as me wallowing in the negative emotions I was feeling, rather than trying to ‘cheer up’. They saw it as a bad thing, and regularly criticised me for it. (Sidenote: Saying cheer up to a person with depression is about as useful as saying mend your bone to a person with a broken leg. It doesn’t work, so stop doing it. Please and thank you.) I didn’t have the voice to say it then, but I’m saying it now: Screw You. You don’t know ANYTHING. The reason I was listening to “depressing” music while I was all dark and twisty inside was because it gave me hope that I could get better. It showed me that other people had felt how I was feeling, and they didn’t die from it. They lived to tell others that yes things could be ridiculously hard and yes you could wish you were dead, but it gets better. You could survive it. That, to me, is one of the greatest things about music. It gives us a voice to express how we are feeling, and then it tells us that things can get better.
Because honestly kids, it can. And it usually does.
Music transports us.
Sometimes turning on the radio can take us to another time and place. All it takes is a song from our past and we are right there again, living in that moment. As I type this I’m listening to ‘Everything’ by Lifehouse, and I honestly feel like I’m back in year nine and just getting home from camp. If I close my eyes I could be back in the house I grew up in, sitting on my bed and writing in my journal. All it takes is 3 seconds of the song and I am right there.
Music can take us anywhere. It can take us back to our first kiss, our first heartbreak, our first fight with our best friend. It can remind us of people we thought we’d forgotten and places we haven’t been to in years. It can take us to places we’ve only ever been to in our dreams and places we hope to visit someday. With the right chord sequence and the right notes, we can be anyone and be anywhere. And that’s a beautiful thing.
Music inspires us.
The title of this post comes from the Imagine Dragons song Demons. I chose it because:
a) That song is awesome and if you haven’t heard it you should check it out, and
b) That single line wrote four chapters in my current WIP**.
Music is hands-down my BIGGEST inspiration in life. It always has been. I have a playlist for absolutely everything in my life. Driving to work? Let me throw on some Kings + Queens to get myself pumped up. Cleaning the house? It’s Glee, baby. All the way. Taking a shower? Yes I DO listen to music in the shower. What of it?? Writing? Definitely. In fact I can’t even begin to write until I have my playlist in order. Without music, I don’t think I’d be able to write. I don’t think I’d be able to function. To me, a world without music is a world without inspiration, and quite frankly, a world I don’t want to live in.
Music makes us happy.
Music makes us ridiculously happy. Even from a very young age, there are certain songs just make us want to dance and sing and be happy, because music has the power to instantly lift our moods. I would wager that most people can’t listen to ‘Happy’ by Pharrell and not feel, well, happy. Or ‘Do or Die’ by…some band, I’m not really sure which one…and not want to get out there and live your life to the fullest. Music can lift us up and make us grateful to be alive. You really can’t feel sad when you’re listening to your favourite song by your favourite band, and that effect is quadrupled if you happen to get up and dance your ass off while you do it. In fact, I highly recommend dancing every day. Dance it out, people. When things go wrong, throw on your favourite song and Dance. It. Out. It really helps.
Music brings us together.
Music really does bring people together. So many friendships have been formed simply because of that moment when you go, “you like that band? I love that band! Let’s be friends!” Music creates a sense of community and shared experiences. I’ve read so many concert reviews where fans of a band have said that being at the show felt like coming home. And really, how could it not? When you’re with a group of like-minded people and you’ve come together to celebrate and experience something you all love, it would definitely feel like coming home. It feels like you’ve finally found the place where you belong. Music does that for us, because…
Music is the closest thing to a universal language that we have.
It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what language you speak; music brings us all together. You don’t have to understand the lyrics of a song to know that it makes you feel good. Instrumental music is great example of this because it doesn’t even have lyrics, and yet it can still communicate a very clear message. Just think of the soundtrack of a movie. There’s almost always music playing in the background, communicating that this is scary, this is happy, this is silly, this is sweet. Music speaks to us in a way that words alone never could, and that is precisely why we need it, and why we love it.
Music is e v e r y t h i n g to me.
To end, I’d like to share these two short films with you as a demonstration of just how powerful music can be. Listen to what the people being interviewed are saying. That’s why we need music. That’s why it’s so important. Yesssss I know it’s Mars again and yesssssss I know they turn up in practically every single one of my posts, but that’s just the way it happens. All roads lead to Mars. I’d say I’m sorry, but No I’m not sayyyyyying I’m sorrrryyyyy...
(Watch the first video for that to make sense :p)
Closer to the Edge ~ Thirty Seconds To Mars
Do Or Die ~ Thirty Seconds To Mars
TITLE LYRICS: ‘Demons’ by Imagine Dragons
*This was written on the wall of The Lab, so I’m not sure if it’s a Jared quote, someone else quote, or something someone random said. Anyone know?
**Work In Progress