05 September 2008

We're All Fever Dogs with Bloody Noses of Pride

I work at a concert venue. At this concert venue we have a staff of our very own EMTs. I never actually thought about it until I just saw a young man pass by my little window with a bloody nose and a case of the whimpers. It's interesting. Is music powerful enough to inflict bodily harm on someone?

The answer is obviously yes and even more than that it must be said that music is probably powerful enough to do anything. I'd be first in line if there were ever a book entitled, "World Leaders: Their Personal Playlists". I would be obsessed with it and download every single song Vladimir Putin was currently listening to. If you are what you eat, you must be what you listen to as well. How many people dress to impress... their fellow music followers? Please don't even try to tell me you see a young man with a beard, thick black glasses, and skinny jeans and think he loves Rob Zombie. And don't tell me you see a girl with dyed purple hair, cat-eye contacts, and baggy jeans and assume she's clearly heading to the Belle and Sebastian show. For some reason it typically does not work that way. I'm a firm believer that the type of music you follow, in most cases, automatically enters you into a cult-like community. Suddenly your entire way of thinking - from how you dress to maybe even what you eat (Vegetarianism, etc.) - is dependent upon what the "guru" is doing, or in this case, the musician.

It's easily understandable too - which is a little scary. There's so much music that feels so personal. You take it with you to work, school, your car, your bedroom and don't think too much about the idea that millions of other people might be listening to it as well. For those important moments it is yours. You feel as though you can relate to the artist and their words move you in a way that few other things do in everyday life. Their music is an escape. Then you might see a photograph of the musician, let's say. Then you go to their concerts. You start to see a certain demographic of the population flocking to these events and a certain style their "followers" seem to maintain. "Well!" you unconsciously say to yourself, "I don't want to be left out!!"

So I'm exaggerating. Maybe.

Although it's the easiest thing in the world to understand, it's difficult to explain. The power of music is like a disease: it spreads to every facet of one's life. And that's just music in general. GOOD music is so delicious it's sometimes too much to handle and I have the perfect example: Lately I've had to wake up much earlier than I'm used to. I'm listening to music by 7am on some days and my choice of songs is far different than say, 7pm. At first I thought this was due to my sleepiness - you don't want to hear Alien Ant Farm blasting in your ear first thing in the morning - but I've realized there are many more subdued songs I don't feel comfortable with in the morning either. I used to sleep with VH1 Nocturnal State on (the only time they play music videos) and wake up to a song like "Burn" by Usher or "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys and cry my eyes out. Emotional songs, whether you like them or not, hit you hard when you're off guard. I would never listen to that Usher song on my own but it's certainly comparable to the fact that I can't get myself to listen to "Anything, Anything" by Dramarama in the early hours of the day either. It makes me too sad. I have no good reason for this other than music is absorbing. Music is a time machine, a therapist, a shoulder to lean on, an amusement park - anything you want it to be.

But getting back to the kid with the bloody nose. I'm pretty sure if he were at the movies he wouldn't have gotten injured. I'd even venture that if he were at a concert he didn't like very much he wouldn't have gotten worked up enough to get hurt. His injury is a boy scout patch of music honor. His soul was stolen by the music gods for a little while and in that time he managed to get his nose clunked up by some hooligan that was probably equally entranced by the experience. Now although he looked like a fool being carried away by the men in uniforms, he should stand proud and be respected for his unfettered love of the music.

I mean what were Billy Crudup's "dying" words in Almost Famous? After all that "I'm on DRUGS!!!" business?

"I love Music."

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