Music has always been a very large part of my life. As a little kid I used to absolutely love dancing and singing. I was always the star of the plays we did at church because I could sing, and I did. When I got a little older my mom put me in a piano class. I hated it. I didn’t hate the piano, in fact since then I have toyed with a few pianos since then and I really love how beautiful they are. Not just the sound, but the very aesthetics of the piano. It’s magical watching other people play them. When I really entered into the music world was when I told my parents I wanted to join band in middle school. My parents objected, they didn’t want to pay for the instrument, but it was clearly a good investment. I still have that alto saxophone and it plays wonderfully. Music speaks to me in a way nothing else can.
One of my favorite songs to play is Nimrod. If you’ve never heard the song I beg you to look it up. It is hauntingly beautiful. It starts off so quiet it’s imperceptible. The notes are so very mournful that they make your heart hurt. Then the song slowly builds so that you no longer have to strain to hear it and your whole soul will cry out to be wrapped in its sweet melody. None of the other students really liked playing it like I did. It wasn’t loud and fun and in your face. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. I couldn’t help but smile every time we played it. I could pour my soul into that song, giving myself up to the music. Nimrod is the song that I can really get into when I’m feeling awful because it always makes me feel better. The haunting melody reminds me that everyone has been there. When I listen to it in the presence of others I feel a deep connection as we are all there together, one in our silent agonies.
On the flip side I have always been drawn to very upbeat and exciting songs. My most recent favorite is Shark Attack by Grouplove. The first time I heard it I didn’t hear the lyrics, I just heard how happy everyone on the recording sounded. The song is hard to listen to and not become overwhelmed with feelings of joy and sheer ecstasy. The lyrics are just so light and float-y. The song represents the sheer joy of just letting go and being yourself. It is literally a plea to all its listeners to just have some fun. This song is a breath of fresh air after listening to many of the songs that are popular on today’s radios. (This song doesn’t have any misogyny, hate lyrics, or make you want to rip your hair out!) Any time I listen to it I can’t help but feel like dancing. The song speaks to me because it just feels so very free. For me this song represents my moment in the sun where I don’t belong to anybody, where I, too, am free.
The third song I want to talk about is one that really gets me. The first time I heard it I was just absolutely stunned. I won’t claim that it’s an overly complicated work of musical genius, according to some music snobs I have rather bad taste in music. Yet, this song spoke to me. The singer seemed to be crawling into my skull and finding the exact lyrics to sing. Coming of Age by Foster the People, I am absolutely in love with a Foster the People song. Unlike the other songs I mentioned I love this one for the lyrics. I can’t help but sing when I hear this song. I love harmonizing with the singer (Even if I don’t know his name). It’s not that the song is particularly lyrical genius, I just love what it says to me. I’m not the only one that has been hurt: kicked, beaten, battered, and bruised. And I’m not the only one that has been absolutely filled with doubt and regret and pain. That song is how I remind myself that to grow up sometimes we have to face mountains.
I hate going a day without listening to some kind of music. I have found one of the most soothing activities is to just scream lyrics while you’re all alone in your car, cleaning your room, or hanging out with your best friend. When I’m upset I tend to put on music because then I’m not alone. These artists that have never met me, they are my friends. Their music has helped me through some of my hardest days, and helped me to celebrate some of my best days. How could you possibly be sad when you’re dancing?