19 October 2009

I Still Owe You For the Ghost in the Hall

My favorite thing in the world has to be music that emphasizes an emotion. In grade school I was told that if you use the word "thing" in a sentence you have to explain what you're referring to - in this case I can't really describe it. There are a lot of flaws like this in my writing about music (others might be the constant gushing, the informal nature, etc.) but I hope the extraordinary sounds I'm touting shine through regardless. I only know how to give that to you through my own personal experiences. Chuck Klosterman-style I hope. (p.s. the picture above is Mr. Klosterman, my role model, himself in a t-shirt I own with a framed record behind him that I also have framed in my living room...)

Now, let me try to paint you a picture of today:

I'm walking around campus - a semi-young, semi-self conscious girl - nervously pulling at my skirt that's shorter than anyone else's I've seen and feeling pretty anxious about my last class. I walk down the long sidewalk adjacent to one of the main streets within the campus where cars drive by incessantly and as usual get the feeling that they're staring directly at me. This is my paranoia of course but I can't help but feel it on the back of my neck as I move towards the shuttle bus, my destination on this walk.

Magically, half way there, I get my iPod out, put in my headphones, and press the shuffle button on my favorite playlist aptly titled "Angelica" because the songs are so much a part of me, and morph into a different person. I hear the opening chords of Mayer Hawthorne's "Maybe So, Maybe No" (that I'm listening to again now) and get a strut, you know? I hear those notes and I don't exactly forget about the cars driving past me on the long road but I don't care about them anymore. Maybe I'm even walking for them, entertaining them and suddenly - if I have any thoughts about other people at all - it is simply: I wish they could hear this song!

In relation to my last post actually, I was thinking about the Principle of Non-Allness, one used in communication to describe how words that we use in daily life don't capture everything we mean. Based in semantics, it basically means that the map is not the territory. When you give someone directions over the phone, the process of physically getting there is much different than you just saying, "oh, you pass a Wawa on the left.."

It's the same with music. I had mentioned that my professor spoke of being incapable of discussing a particular feeling music gives him. In turn I questioned the point of discussing music at all and concluded that much of music talk revolves around a necessity among music lovers to share their feelings with others regardless of the exact message they're transmitting. Even Rolling Stone can't put their thoughts exactly into perfect words for their readers. Sure, a great review can do wonders for record sales but it's not going to shake someone's soul until they hear the record for themselves. The sounds will simply be stronger than the words. Hearing about a delicious restaurant is not the same as eating at it.

I'm stressing this because I want to explain to myself (and possibly you) why writing about music is so important. Not only is it necessary but it's the only way to SHARE the beautiful sounds and emotions. I can try to explain how M. Ward's voice makes me feel - and it would be a great accomplishment in the art of writing if I could - but the art of music is also being discussed so it's also important to hear his voice for yourself. There are two art forms working together and with massive respect to writing, both are equally important. One is informed by the other. I love this cycle. I love trying to explain why I love someone like M. Ward (which has multiple stories behind it) and I love knowing that it can best be understood by actually hearing him. There is some "thing" so powerful about that connection that I'll never fail to be amazed by it.

I hope I have the opportunity one day to continue the journey of exploring music with a larger group of ears. In the meantime, consider reading Rob Sheffield's poignant autobiographical music book, Love is a Mixtape to get a perfect example of music and writing coming together to form my favorite specialty art form. There is nothing else like it.

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