Sunday, May 8, 2011

Personal Audience

Of late I've found myself much more attracted to music than usual.*

It's hard not to see this musical inclination as a tonal problem in my life. Music delivers near instant gratification as far as delivery of mood goes, but it rarely has been as transcendently rapturous as the longer mediums of story have been for me in my life. You see, the name of the game for me always ends up being the story. I surely can appreciate Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Mozart and the like, but they only create backdrops for me to scurry around within. They create climates for my imagination to roam about through. Non-lyrical music doesn't allow for escape from self, it merely lets my mind ride inflated currents.

Of late I've wanted quick escapism.

Realizing such an atmosphere in my life, I turned off the inevitable self-critique to wonder at what specific songs it is that I find most pleasing. Generally speaking, I think my taste portfolio is quite diverse (though admittedly naive and green). I can make no claims to knowing what makes 'good music'. None whatsoever.

Screening through mine own itunes collection, one theme keeps popping up -- that of audience.

An unusual amount of my beloved cache of songs include verses that trade off between a male vocalist and a female one. Why is this so? I think the answer is that I love songs that are directed at a specific character. In the case of guy/girl songs, the story can commonly be constructed as a dialogue between the two people. This would also explain why I tend to like songs sung from heartbreak -- the singer has a specific person they want to hear the lyrics. Worship songs also fall into this category, and perhaps can be the most personally moving for me, when the hymn creates a discussion between Creator and the singular, personal creation. Me and Him.

When I was in High School I went to a Christian summer camp. These days I'm not too darn sure how I think of the concept of 'the re-committing your life to Christ' idea that is so popular among such camps, but as a sloppy, attention deprived, acne-ridden relative loner it was a big deal to "re-commit". That decision all those years ago came after I was moved to my knees by a song called "Overwhelmed" which focused on a description of meeting Christ in Heaven. Me and Him. My God. Redeemer of my life. Redeemer of the broken.

*Interspersed through this article are three songs by the superb band "Stars". They feature a guy/girl duet thingy, and are heavy on nostalgia, so, ya know, right up my neck of the woods. The only thing they're missing is some good ol' spiritual angst! But then they'd be too perfect. Can't have that.

1 comment:

  1. Ahhhh music. I could write about it all day. But, I'll just comment on "good music". Isn't that like a "good book" or "good art" or "beauty" (I just watched that twilight zone episode haha).... subjective? I never argue with people a criteria for "good", especially in something like music. If it moves/inspires/uplifts/saddens/dances you, it's good for you.

    Also... one of my latest favorites is the group "The Civil Wars". They have the guy/girl thing duet you so enjoy... along with heavenly smooth vocals and some interesting lyrics.