It can lift your spirits, transport you to another time and place, communicate without a word, tell someone’s story, emote for the artist, cleanse your spirit*, flood your mind with memories. Music is amazing.
*work with me here, okay? I’m not saying your sins will be forgiven… I’m saying music can wipe away the bad feelings of the day, calm you down, offer you a renewal… it’s not a theological concept… it’s not exactly a spiritual concept… it’s just a… oh… I don’t know what the word is… it’s just true for me and I think I’m not the only one, okay? :)
I love music. All kinds. Okay… most kinds. Heavy metal could fall off the planet and I wouldn’t notice. Rap could fall off the planet and I’d throw a party. Other than that, I usually find something to appreciate in all the genres. I love the haunting lilt and the foot stomping fiddles of Celtic music. I love the simplicity of Gregorian-style chant. I love the raucous wildness of alternative music. Other alternative music has a serious mellowing agent included. Kids’ music can be downright fun (and downright annoying, I must admit). Country music often has lyrics that speak as though someone were looking on at my life and writing songs from it. Classical music has depths so deep I wonder if they can ever be truly known. Lots of ethnic music has drum beats that drill straight into your bones and demand you get up and dance. Other ethic music has chords you’ll never hear in American music. Classic rock from the 50s and 60s is so varied, I’m hard pressed to characterize it… it can be sad, silly, happy, serious. There just doesn’t seem to be a limit to the realms music can travel. Whether or not it is the universal language, I don’t know. I do know that it has to be one of God’s greatest gifts… man couldn’t come up with this all on his own.
Some of my favorite music/ artists lately:
“The Climb” by Miley Cyrus– I hate to admit it. Hannah Montana. Daughter of Mr. Achy Breaky Heart himself. But it’s a good song. Nicely sung, great lyrics, uplifting, encouraging. She has a sweet voice with a little bit of roughness that sets her apart. But I haven’t been brave enough to check out any of her other songs. Hannah Montana is a really awful TV show and the tween frenzy surrounding it is aggravating. I will give her this one more thing: at least she wears all her clothes. Can’t say that about all the tween/ teen stars.
“Love Song” by Sara Bareilles– I love the attitude. I love the pervasive beat. This is a great one to crank up in the car. Bonus: she sings in the same range as I do. I can sing the whole song at full volume and pretend I’m super cool. The video for this song is kinda boring, though. Disappointing.
“How Far We’ve Come” by Matchbox 20– When I’m on my way to Tae Kwon Do, I crank up the music as loud as I can stand it. I pick fast-paced songs that are heavy on attitude, back beat and this is one of the first I play. Gets me up and moving, ready for a workout, blood pumping and somehow focuses my mind on the task ahead. You have to have some measure of assertiveness to be good at TKD and songs like this one help me tune into that side. I love this song for that purpose and just for listening. The lyrics… well… to be honest, I don’t really get it. Take stock of your life? Realize it could end at any time? Okay. I like that too.
“One Dream” by Sara McLachlan– Sara McLachlan is always a favorite and she has very few things I don’t like. Her voice is so mellow. The songs she sings are poetic in lyric and tune. This one is encouraging and has her soft yet passionate style. I read that it’s supposed to be the official song for the 2010 Olympics. That’d be cool for Sara McLachlan, but I’m afraid they’ll over play the song and kill it.
“Cowboy Casanova” by Carrie Underwood– Heavy rhythm. Heavy attitude (are we sensing a theme here?). Another really crank-able song. The big reason I’m liking this song lately is something I’ll leave unsaid. I like Carrie Underwood. Actually, she grew up about 45 minutes from my house. She has some real variety to her songs and I appreciate that in an artist. She’s gorgeous, talented and has rocketed into stardom, but seems to still have her feet on the ground.
“Smile” by Uncle Kracker– This song… well… it makes me smile. It’s my ringtone when my hubby calls. I love the line “cooler than the flip side of my pillow.” I love the lyrics in general. And I love that they’re really true about Jeremy lately. He makes me smile like the sun, shine like gold, buzz like a bee. dance like a fool, sing like a bird. Isn’t love grand? And still is… 10 years later.
“Falling In Love With You Again” by Imelda May– This is the artist I was talking about the other day. This song has a piano melody that makes me think of church choir days, a smooth and easy rhythm, an almost jazzy trumpet solo, and a real 1940s feel. Imelda May’s voice is clear yet thick, sultry and engaging. You can see her leaning on a piano in the din of a smokey night club. You find yourself gently swaying to the song and you want to beg her to sing more. The lyrics are honest and heart-felt. She wrote it for her boyfriend/ husband/partner (I don’t know what the “official” relationship is) of 12 years. She said there are lots of songs out there for new love, lost love but nothing really for old love, nothing about the highs and lows of long-lasting love. Mostly, I love this song because it’s true of my life right now. We’re headed up, up, up.
“Say Hey (I Love You)” by Michael Franti & Spearhead– really crank-able with one downside: it’s hard not to dance to it, therefore hard to drive to. I don’t think I agree with Franti’s politics, but I love his style.
“It Happens” by Sugarland– generally, I’m not a Sugarland fan, but this song is good. Cute, without being cutesy. Sympathetic, but not indulgent.
“The Calculation” by Regina Spektor– I have no idea what this song is about, but it sounds like some crazy dream I would have. I love the tune and the rhythm. I have a sneaking suspicion that there’s some kind of message that I’m missing, but I’ll just remain ignorant. Ignorance is bliss, right?
Short list of songs to crank up (really, anything deserves cranking if you ask me, but these nearly demand cranking):
- Song 2 by Blur
- Say Hey by Michael Franti & Spearhead
- Cowboy Cassanova by Carrie Underwood
- How Far We’ve Come by Matchbox 20
- If Today Was Your Last Day by Nickelback
- The Devil Never Sleeps by Iron & Wine
- Mr. Zoot Suit by Ingrid Lucia and The Flying Neutrinos
Still, as much as I love music, I’d rather be deaf than blind (if I had to choose… which I don’t… so that’s good).
P.S. Check out the links on the right hand side. I updated them.