My psych class this morning was cancelled, leaving my only class of the day to be my art class at 15.00. On top of that, I’ve spent the past two hours studying with friends in the lounge (which is here on out called the “living room”) and listening to fantastic music. Some Beirut, Andrew Bird, John Butler Trio, Explosions in the Sky, Sufjan Stevens. Good stuff. Plus, it’s going to rain more this afternoon and possibly storm. Glorious.
Speaking of good music… I’ve been wanting to mention a little bit about those songs that I was talking about a few posts ago. Wow, that was literate.
Arcade Fire’s “Rebellion Lies” still tops my list. There’s something really nice about the song that has nothing to do with the lyrics or style or instruments–which honestly doesn’t leave much to most songs. It’s more the feeling of the song. It’s the fact that you can feel uplifted and insightful without ever even listening to the lyrics. Look at it this way: I spent the first three years of listening to that song without ever considering the lyrics, and the song was just as good as when I really did discover what was being said. Now, granted, that’s the story of my life since I consider singing and lyrics to just be another instrument (it fits with the chords and makes the song), but it really helps me distinguish good music from bad…. musically.
And I could try to analyse the song a whole bunch, but it’s just something you need to listen to. You need to hear the dynamics punch in at the chorus, and the strings during the fall. You need to feel the drum beat siding by the accordion. It’s very original and so brilliant. You’ll fall in love.
“When You Come Back Down” by Nickel Creek is similar, though much more simple. Nickel Creek has always fascinated me with their incredibly intelligent music–especially for musicians so young. They’re highly trained and bring a type of music that’s honestly genre-less. If you are the least bit interested in bluegrass, newgrass, alternative, or indie music, I highly recommend them to you.
The thing about this song is that it makes you listen. It’s beautiful, harmonic, and painfully descriptive in its lyrics. I remember listening to it after saying goodbye to some friends before college, and my friend N was in the car.
“This song would come on as we say goodbye before college.” I’m not sure if he agreed, but maybe his lack of response meant yes. And we listened to it with only a little conversation. When you’re soaring through the air, I’ll be your solid ground. Take every chance you dare. I’ll still be here, when you come back down. When you come back down.
There are so many ways to interpret this song. A lover leaving to find greater things, but you being there to support them in their time of need. The start of a journey and the fear that comes with it. Etc. It’s probably why I can connect it to leaving home and Lord of the Rings. When Frodo leaves the Shire, he has Sam to keep him going, chasing his dreams, fulfilling what he needs to do. Sure, it’s a love song in general, but a strong friendship is also love, just more platonic than romantic. So don’t give me the Frodo/Sam crap, it’s beyond that silly stuff. This song must be an allegory for that series–hey, Chris Thile is an avid LOTR fan, after all.
Think on this one: is there a song that, when you play it in the car, you have to turn it up as loud as it will go? Yes, I’m sure that you have a couple of those. Now, out of those songs, are any of them so powerful that you feel a piece of your soul connect with it? You feel the music intertwine with who you are? This song that you’re thinking of, is it “Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service? If it isn’t, you should probably check this song out; it just may change your life.
The first time I heard this song was right after it came out, and I was still in my country stage of life–something my older sister was trying desperately to beat out of me. So, after a trip to church together, she turned up the stereo past what I could stand and let this song fill the interior of the car. The light pops of electronic caught my ears, and a rumbling bass-like noise lifted the hair on my arms. And, then, everything fit together so perfectly, so serenely. It was beautiful, the noise bouncing back and forth in my ears. And the lyrics were brilliant, strengthening, and perfect with the electronic and hands clapping. Not to mention that they were very vivid. You see love while hearing it. Rare nowadays.
The next song I discovered on accident. One day, while incredibly bored, I looked up Coldplay songs on Youtube and watched the music videos. I knew a couple of their songs mostly “Clocks” and the like, but I was surprised to find that I enjoyed “Green Eyes” and “Yellow” even better than their newer songs. And there was one in particular that I found amazing: “The Scientist”. At first, the music video seemed average. Lead singer walks around singing. Then I realised that he was walking backwards… singing backwards. It was interesting to look at it with the pretty music in the background, but still not all that thought-provoking.
Or, at least, until you see the car crash.
Something about that scene in the video struck me, and I watched it again. And again. Of course, the music in the background was nice, but I was stuck on the visual aspect. In fact, I was so stuck on it that I became afraid of the song itself. Once I bought the album (Rush of Blood to the Head), it took me a try or two to be able to turn the song on. But, something happened when I did. For starters, I didn’t think about the video at all. In fact, I realised that the video had nothing to do with the song. What really got my attention was that it was about love and the difficulties of leaving. No one ever said it would be this hard. Take me back to the start. It seemed to connect with me, with all of the crap that I’ve gone through and wishing to undo things. It’s a sad song. It’s not hopeful. But I love listening to it anyway. It’s like acceptance.
When I made a CD of my favourite songs, I had “The Scientist” on after “When You Come Back Down”, and I realised that they connect off of each other. When this song came on as N and I drove home, I said the same thing about it: “This song really would play as we set out for college. It’s about leaving. Great…” After I dropped him off, I replayed it and drove home the long way so that I could finish it. Still, though, I ended up parked in my drive-way, sobbing into the steering wheel to this, trying to sing along. It was when I accepted that we were all leaving each other–exactly what the song had set out to prove.
My last song is one that is connected with amazing memories. And we all have those songs–the songs where you were doing something amazing while listening to it, the kind that bring back those days. Juli’s “Perfekte Welle” was on a karaoke game that I played at Franzi’s house in Germany. We were gathered there for a party, and even though the party itself wasn’t the very best in the world, it was representative of the amazing times I had in that country with the student exchange. When we played it again at another party (Ann-Michelle’s), it got stuck in my head hard-core. Next thing I knew, Micah and I were running around the yards and gardens, singing Das ist die Perfekte Welle! Das ist der Perfekte Tag! La la la la la lala, La la lala la lala! It didn’t matter that we could hardly speak the language. It exhilarating. And, even now, I find so many great memories and strengths in that song. The lyrics are beautiful even if you can’t understand them (by this point, I can), because the music just meshes together really nicely. Eva Briegel is such a talented singer. If you want a more English sound, check out her duet with Dashboard Confessional on “Stolen”. You’ll want to play it at your wedding.
Well, this has been my music tastes corner; I didn’t think I’d type so much about it. Then again, I have a knack for writing 1500 words in a short amount of time. So, I’ll leave this unended and raw.