"These words are knives and often leave scars" : On the Love and Emotional toll Good Music Leaves
I’ve worn many hats in my semi adult life. Career hats for advertising, media, video games, and writer. Personal hats like wife, friend, sister, daughter, and dog lover. But another hat I wear is that of an avid music lover.
I suspect that many people wear this hat for different reasons, snubbing people they feel aren’t true audiophiles because they don’t have intimate knowledge of this thing or that. I’m sure people will read this and scoff, saying I am not the same kind of music lover they are. And that’s cool, you can do that. I may disagree with you but whatever, you do you. But for me, I love music that makes me feel something.
As a writer, I will be the first one to tell you that I don’t know how someone writes a song. Not just the musical notes either, but the lyrics that go with it and then writing the music to fit those words and capture a moment that encapsulates someone’s heartbreak, elation at falling in love, or drive to never be put down. It’s this very reason why I love songs with compelling lyrics. Lyrics that are deep and meaningful. That tell a story, albeit a brief one. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still dance and enjoy more … simple songs, shall we say? But it doesn’t elicit the same kind of love from me.
So why am I talking about music and its importance to me? Well, because it is important to me. Writing is very isolating, it’s something you do alone. If I write while people are talking to me or the TV is on, it turns into some terrible writing, trust me. But if I find a playlist, an artist that captures the mood, the tempo, or even just the feel of the world I’m creating, I can get lost in that music and the words will just flow off of me. It’s why I love Spotify and its ability to make playlists, because that’s what I do. I make long playlists about each of the areas in my books so when I write after a break or go back and edit, I can turn on that playlist and get back in the groove pretty quickly.
Going to a concert, losing myself in the moment with live music … there’s nothing truly like it. I try to make it a point to see as many live concerts as I can during a given year. I did pretty well last year with seeing Vance Joy, Elle King, Band of Horses, Arcade Fire, Nothing But Thieves, Oh Wonder, Cage the Elephant, Tool, G-Easy, Foals, and that doesn’t include all the little bands I saw at bars, on the street, or playing at events that I didn’t recognize. I ended this year with seeing Panic! At the Disco and it just confirmed how indescribable it is to see a band that has spoken to you lyrically and musically and made you genuinely feel something. Seeing them before midnight killed New Year’s Eve for me because I couldn’t go into a bar or club and listen to DJ’s after a performance like that.
So on days when inspiration is lacking, I read a good book and lose myself into finding my next new favorite band. Panic! And Bastille have been at the top of that list for a few years now but its 2017 so we’ll see what happens and who I fall in love with. It’s an amazing feeling, to fall in love with a band like you would the boy (or girl) next door even though you know you’ll never meet them, never be the friends you think you would be if you bumped into them during a long elevator ride. It’s a long study of unrequited love, that’s for sure.
In the meantime, I leave you with this, the Spotify playlist I made for Selkirk. I hope it speaks to you the way it speaks to me and feel free to follow me on Spotify if you want to see what I listen to on the daily!
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