After reflecting on the effect of music in cinema last week, I decided to put into words what music is to me, and to life, in a broader sense. Sometimes I envy the thought process of philosophers and great thinkers I read or hear about, so I started asking myself about music: Why do I want music in my daily routine? How come I get bored with some music that I used to really enjoy listening to? Why do I like certain genres and not others?
These questions can be answered in one word: “preferences.” Well, yes, because I prefer to listen to music rather than not, and I prefer listening to this music or that music – or “don’t prefer” listening to that music – in particular. But, then, why do I have these preferences?
I tried (and failed) to pinpoint my first conscious act of listening to music; what I could retrieve from my memory was asking my dad for some CDs and getting some counterfeit Linkin Park albums. He also had some (legally obtained) Eagles albums, and I remember enjoying listening to those, and some Sinatra, too.
As I grew up, after a period of getting hooked on Celine Dion’s “I Will Always Love You” and screaming it out at the top of my lungs for hours in my room, I became acquainted with Kelly Clarkson, Blue, Pink and Korn (and somehow loved them all).
But the first time I really got blown away by the beauty of sound and seriously admired an artist’s/band’s performance was when I was introduced to Green Day by my cousin. Since this was at a time when laptops and cell phones weren’t always around and kids weren’t that involved with technology – and therefore the internet, and therefore popular opinions – I believe that getting a recommendation from my cousin and seeing that he was a fan of the band contributed to my very positive reaction.
Today, having access to all kinds of music and all of the online opinions about it, I still get the same excitement when I watch the “Bullet in a Bible” DVD my father bought me way back when. For a long time it was my most treasured possession. Years have passed, and I’ve fallen in love with other songs, but not with any other artists or bands. So I can honestly say that I’m a fan.
I asked other people some of these questions, and most of them said that listening to music was a way of escaping real life. Music does indeed provide such an escape, but personally I love it when music accompanies real life, not as background noise but as an indispensable part of existence, and one that enhances it. The only time I can’t listen to music is when I’m active-reading, as I get too caught up in the beauty of the music. Other than that, and sleeping, there’s not a single part of life that I can imagine without music, or that music wouldn’t suit.
There haven’t been many songs that actually gave me purpose; most of the music I listen to just makes me feel good. But there are two songs in particular that I can think of right now, from which I’ve extracted mottoes to live by:
“Still Breathing” by Green Day
“Cause I’m still breathing on my own/My head’s above the rain and roses/Making my way away/My way to you.” These lyrics reflect how I have idealized the process of loving someone. Independence brings mental clarity, and hence continuing a relationship is not a burden, but an enjoyable process. The song also provides good examples of courage and those moments in life when a person can use their last breath to act, to move forward when they hit bottom.
“Enjoy the Flight” by Just Chillax
The artist’s choice of name might suggest the effect he seeks to have on people, but the lyrics to this song provide one hell of a motivation. Loving what you do (be it a job, or a cause to pursue) is a beautiful place to be in, and I feel like the song encourages people to keep doing what they’re doing. “You’re gonna reach up to the stars/Bring one down,” it says, and I took this as a lesson, teaching me to share what I have with others.