Today: Jul 17, 2024

Music serves as a life vest, not just forgotten melodies

SAVANNAH MULSpecial to Southern News

They’re not just guitar chords, a drumbeat and vocals, and it’s not just a melody that will be forgotten. It’s more than that, with the power and influence it has over me.

The importance of music in my life can compare to the importance of wearing a life vest; to always have something to rely on and make a person feel safe again. I will never just hear a song or be introduced to an artist and that’s it. Music unifies people and gives them a feeling they aren’t alone. A song or artist can even take you back into a particular time in your life.

I’m not ashamed to admit growing up I had a love for The Spice Girls and NSYNC.  If anything their simple, addictive melodies only jump-started my love to explore all types of musical genres.

My father always acted as my musical guru, who would play music from Bob Dylan to Led Zeppelin. I also have a mother, who would sing any old tune, though not display any type of musical composure or harmony whatsoever.

But here’s the thing: parents and children might reach a common ground on some artists, but definitely not on all.  For example, at the 2011 Grammy Awards when Arcade Fire took home the ultimate title of Album of the Year with their newest release, “Suburbs,” I was ecstatic! No band deserved it as much as they did.  I was so excited that night I called my father into the room and made him watch the performance.

His reaction was blank. He compared Arcade Fire to The Rolling Stones. This is an extremely unfair comparison as each band shows different musical styles and composure.

“No band out there today will ever live up to what your mother and I grew up with,” my father said continuously that night.  OK dad, well I disagree.

Even when my parents were growing up, their parents (my grandparents) didn’t like their musical style either. Imagine being a mother in the 40s and 50s, and seeing the birth of rock-n-roll. You probably didn’t think it was appropriate for your children to see Elvis shaking his hips on stage singing about love; the mothers must have been going crazy.  Oh boy, how the times have changed.

But without Elvis or Chuck Berry that set groundbreaking stances on rock-n-roll, music would not be what it is today.  Artists today seem to be strongly influenced by past musicians.

Say if The Ramones never came to be, would Blink-182 be just as great, or would their sound be different? Of if singer/songwriter Jenny Lewis never heard of Bob Dylan or Elvis Costello, would she still be writing with such complexity and performing with such grace and beauty?

As music provides a backbone to an American subculture, it also serves as a form of communication.  It’s a more abstract version of it, but all the same; ideas are expressed and emotions are shared.  For others and myself, music opens up many outlets giving people something to be passionate about.

Some people might not even take music seriously. If I were to play one of my favorite Bright Eyes songs to a random person who doesn’t care much for music, they most likely won’t have the same reaction as me. I would be picking apart each rhyme to rhythm, trying to see the composure and to hear every instrument in the piece. This would be followed up by pressing the repeat button for the next hour to make sure I heard everything I could in the song.

The person next to me who doesn’t care all that much would probably be looking at me like I’m crazy.

For some people, music doesn’t play a serious role in their life. They can hear a song and not feel any type of connection, and that’s OK.  But for me it’s the complete opposite.

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