Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Musical Soapbox

I feel like I’ve read about and heard a lot of inspirational things lately… It got me thinking about the power of inspiration, motivation, and hope.  Now I don’t want to get all sappy on you… not my style Jk… but I thought about what inspires me the most, and I realized that what inspires me most is the exact same thing that inspires most people in the world but in completely different ways.  This is a crazy concept… and obvi I love crazy concepts so that’s what I’m gonna blab about today. So what am I talking about?


Well duh.  Everyone is inspired by music.   If you’re not inspired by music you suck… joking. But really you’d have to be dead to not be moved by music at all.  Why? Well depending on whether you’re the audience or the artist there are many reasons

1.   1.   Music is an outlet to express and feel emotion in a completely isolated but social way.  What do I mean? Emotions are universal… everyone knows what it is to feel love, loss, fear, hope, inspiration.  Emotions are universally felt, but many people don’t express them to others whether this is a voluntary or involuntary choice.  Musicians express emotion better than anyone in the most organic, raw way possible…. Through their voice and body (playing an instrument).  When you listen to music, you are invited to share universal emotions in a completely personalized way.  Without saying a word or interacting with a single person you can fully indulge in any emotion via music.
    2.   Music is a source of immense power to create something from nothing.   You literally have the ability to fill silence with whatever you want.  I would never say I’m a musician, but I love the guitar and it really is true that when words aren’t enough music can complete what you are trying to say in a magical way.  Yes I said magical…. deal with it.    When you compose a verse, a riff, a piano piece, or whatever, it’s the same as writing a story.  There is a story behind it, no matter how deep or compulsory it is.  The song is a journey, a means of transporting you somewhere else. However, unlike some traditional stories, there aren’t limits to the meaning.  The music blooms into a different journey for every person that hears it.  No two stories are the same.  This is my favorite part about music.  I love to listen to someone sing a song or play an instrument with such passion and think…. What are they thinking about? What story has this song taken them into? Okay I realize that sounds creepy but you got to admit, music is unlike anything else in the way is permeates into everyone differently. 

3   3.  Music creates an amazing connection between audience and artist.  As a listener you most likely have never met the artists you listen to…. But don’t they seem to know you better than anyone else?  Because of the universality of music, music can create that eerie and overwhelming feeling that this artist has revealed to the world emotions or thoughts you guard so tightly that no other person even knows you have.  Have you ever heard lyrics that gave you paralyzing shot of self-consciousness? “This is me!” “Surely everyone can see that this is exactly what I’m feeling.” Well relax…. No one knows this song is a mirror into your mind or probably even cares.  This is the beauty and power of music.  However, when we have these moments its only natural that as humans we try to create an emotional bond with something in order to share the moment.  Despite what we think, no one really wants to share powerful moments alone…. So what do we do? We create a connection between the artist and us.  This is why people are so passionate about musicians they like… it’s because it’s an emotional/personal/defensive subject.  Does this explain Kanye’s outburst at the VMA’s? Was he just so emotional about what Beyonce’s song did to him that he had to go defend her? Ha… no he’s just an idiot.  But I think you get the point.   

There are undoubtedly other explanations for why music moves us and inspires us so much, but I don’t feel like thinking anymore.  So what’s the best kind of music? 

 When you don’t hear instruments or voices at all.  What?!? Let me finish yo…  The best kind of music is when you don’t hear music…. its when you experience pure passion and the music literally sounds like life and feelings not just words and sounds.  It’s when you see someone making music and radiant colors are literally forming out of the sound, or when you can’t even sit still because music is running through your veins so forcefully.  The crazy thing is that while the feeling is the same…. Different genres of music do this for different people. I don’t get rap or country for that matter… but I know that many people don’t get my music.  I guess it doesn’t really matter.  The universal end we all find justifies our various means, in a way.  

Obviously I’m pretty passionate about the subject as are many people.  Here a couple videos of songs that inspire me.  Maybe they’ll do the same for you…. Or maybe you should go listen to your Justin Bieber cd instead, whatever. 

K'Naan Wavin Flag - South Africa World Cup Song.... a pretty cool video too.

You knew you weren't going to get a music blog from me without seeing a video like this... Streetcorner Symphony and the other 3 finalist groups cover Coldplay's Fix You in the show's finale number. 

Joshua Radin and Ingrid Michaelson are amazing on their own, but nothing beats this collaboration.  Sky is definitely one of the greatest and most beautiful songs out there. 

It was really hard to pick just one Boyce Avenue song to post. Here they cover Bruno Mars' Gerenade in a really interesting way.  I love all their stuff and they have an awesome YouTube channel at so check it out.  

Okay I’ll get off my musical soapbox now…

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