Victor Hugo once wrote: “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”
Everyone who loves music knows that feeling you get when you hear a song that makes the rest of the world go quiet.
It’s music that grips your soul. You can’t explain it. Words escape you. It’s sheer emotion.
You can’t explain why you love it so much. The song just speaks for itself, and it speaks to you. It’s those songs that remain with you always. The ones that make you feel so much that you can almost not bear listening to them.
Now, you ask, why would I choose to write a column about something indescribable; something for which words are so damn insufficient.
It’s because I have to try.
Music, by nature, is an emotional relationship between sound and sensation. Can you explain why you like certain music? Probably not.
Not many people can explain any logical reasons for love (or hate, for that matter).
Can you describe why a certain sound touches your heart? I don’t think so. It’s like trying to explain the meaning of life.
It’s that something in us that is beyond the reach of words. Something that eludes and defies our best attempts to describe.
Every now and then, whatever song it is will lightly touch the tip of my ears and slip straight in, worm its way to my solar plexus and then twist with so much might it’s hard to bear.
Songs, whether by means of lyrics or instruments, tell us stories that we connect with. More often than not, it’s the sound that we connect with. The most beautiful lyrics can be sung, but when they’re accompanied with sounds we’re not attracted to, the message is lost. For me, the most beautiful lyrics are enveloped in sounds from both instrument and voice that grip me from the first bar.
Those songs are the ones that distort your insides, coil around your heart and squeeze so hard at your chest that you can hardly speak.
And then there are those songs that bring a lump to your throat, and by the end of it, you’re crying and you don’t know why.
And people look at you like you’re totally nuts and ask why a stupid thing like a song can make you cry.
It’s almost embarrassing.
But then you meet someone who feels the same way and you will have that connection with them forever, regardless of whether you stay friends with that person or not.
You listen to songs that etch themselves into the core of your very being.
Those songs take you back to those emotions time and time again. They take you back to the first moment you heard them. The first time the meaning clicked. The first time you heard them with the love of your life. The first time they changed meaning for you. The last time you heard them.
All the while, bringing back exactly what you felt, smelled, tasted and saw.
Everybody else may be listening to the same song, but they’re not hearing what you’re hearing.
You’re hearing the soundtrack to your life. That music speaks volumes to what we can never say, and I hope that I will never find the sufficient words for it, lest it take the magic away.
I would say that kind of music is my greatest love, because it’s the only thing that has enough of my soul to make or break my heart. And that’s the music that will stay with me until the day I die.
It’s not the music that merely makes traffic bearable or the radio entertaining. I’m talking about the music that changes your life so much that you cannot live without it. That kind of music that made Friedrich Nietzsche say: “Without music, life would be a mistake.”
This article was originally published on Times LIVE.
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