A close (okay, so we’ve never met outside of the social media sphere but I’m assured he’s a great guy and has a fantastic attitude and general outlook on life because I’ve seen his videos on YouTube…) friend of mine once said: Music *pause* touches *pause* the human *pause* heart *don’t fughettabout the epic Brooklyn accent*.
It’s true. I laughed first, but when you really think about it…my man @EddieMata has a point. Music really does touch the human heart.
…just this morning I was running ten minutes late to work. No time for breakfast and already low on sleep, it had the look of “one of those days.”
And like an angel from heaven, BAM: Call Me Maybe pops on to the awful radio rap station I consider a guilty pleasure because of its knack for playing crappy songs that are easy to sing along to (and apparently a knack for cheering me up?).
Oh, you already know. That car was rockin’.
That is a silly example of my main point, but valid nonetheless. How about this?
Back in high school, I was having some bonding time with my Dad one night. By that I mean we were sitting on the couch at 12:30 in the morning, eating junk food and watching South Park re-runs and trying to out-fart one another (please don’t let this very accurate portrayal of our relationship sully whatever image you have of my family).
As soon as Kenny died, we decided to flip the channel – we went where most men have never gone before. We scrolled through the single digits of basic cable. And lived to tell about it. GASP.
Thank goodness we did. Because my Dad stopped on channel 9, where a poorly-done telecast displayed a doofy-lookin’ old dude strumming a faded old guitar on stage in St. Louis in front of an exceptionally mesmerized crowd.
His name is Tommy Emmanuel, and my Dad has now seen him live four times and even had a private guitar lesson. My Dad’s guitar is signed by Tommy (one of four Certified Guitar Players in the world right now), and we have every song he’s ever recorded on our iTunes.
See, my Dad has always loved playing guitar – he worshiped the Allman Brothers as a young lad in Southern California and saw his high school classmates Van Halen play before anyone knew who they were.
So when we skipped over that channel, the only bodily function out of either of us was a weakly-managed “wow.” Tommy’s music touches my Dad’s heart, playing the strings like his very own Les Paul.
As a writer/poet/blogger/podcaster/whatever-er, I also appreciate fantastic lyrics. That’s one way that music gets me. No, we’re not flashing back to dark days in high school when I tell you that one of the bands I enjoy listening to the most for their lyrical content, story-telling ability and poetic flow is Death Cab For Cutie.
I could (and hopefully will, someday) teach an entire lyric appreciation course in schools anywhere with the curriculum centered around Death Cab songs like Crooked Teeth.
My favorite rapper is Atmosphere, because he actually rhymes about things that are relevant. No lollipops, bananas or “whistles” involved.
Words are so powerful; we’ve seen it in speeches (I HAVE A DREAM!), books (
Twilight Harry Potter, for example) and music.
I’ve spent the large part of my last eight years of life writing words that I consider meaningful. Writing classes, journalistic articles, scholarly papers, poems, short stories.
And I like to think I’m pretty good at all of the above. But putting those words to a melody and rhythm is so incredibly difficult. Trust me. I’ve tried.
Even people like Taylor Swift who get flak for their song-writing from music snobs everywhere deserve major recognition.
Go write a rhyming poem that actually has meaning and tell me it was not difficult. No seriously. Go right now.
That’s what I thought.
I love to write. I love to tell stories, create characters, put pictures in people’s mind…make people feel things. My heart is on-board. And there aren’t many things that touch my heart and ignite my writing more than listening to music.
Last night, I helped celebrate my Dad’s 57th birthday. We went to a jazz lounge named after the most popular Mario Kart character (if you had to think about the name of said lounge, you clearly were one of the weirdos who chose Bowser…shame on you), and watched the California Guitar Trio.
There are things in life that just push people to be at their best. Music is one of the biggest; dancers are inspired to dance because of music. Singers are inspired to sing. Artists are inspired to create. And writers can be inspired to write.
In crafts like these, your heart is your work. So my boy Eddie was right. Music really does touch the human heart.
Let the music inspire you. Unless it’s Rebecca Black. In that case, go directly to your nearest zoo. Thanks.