Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lesson 5: Music and Me

Music has always played a big role in my life. My dad introduced me to classic rock and most 80s rock. I got into rap around middle/high school. But then came the 90s and alternative. Counting Crows, Better Than Ezra, LIVE, and 7 Mary 3 and others were forever sealed into my heart.

When it comes to music, most music lovers love the music. The melody, the beat, the riffs…that’s what makes it special. Of the bands I listen to, not many are pure music geniuses/innovators outside of maybe The Edge (U2) & Brandon Flowers (Killers). But they all have a common feature that I am very fond of: the lyrics. See, I lean on lyrics more than I do the music. That’s what makes it special to me.

Adam Duritz (Counting Crows) and Jason Ross (7Mary3) sing about very personal stories. Songs of love, dreams, anger, and sadness. Ed Kowalczyk (LIVE) often writes about spiritual things. It’s interesting to follow his career as his first album focused on agnostic feelings where as his last several albums have claimed faith and a love for God. You just need to listen to The Killers. I can’t explain.

And then there’s Bono (U2). He’s on another plane altogether. His lyrics have no central focus as he touches on several topics. When he writes love songs, they are about his wife. He writes on political issues—begging for change. His political driven songs send a great message: we humans are better than the status quo. We can and should fix these problems. He supports ending war (Staring At The Sun), hunger (Crumbs From Your Table), poverty (Where the Streets Have No Name), and murder (Sunday Bloody Sunday, Pride). There are plenty of U2 songs that send the same message that humans are better than what we are living our lives out to be.

Bono also takes personal stories from peoples' lives and turns them into classic greats. Take some lines from “Miracle Drug”: "I want to trip inside your head, spend the day there, to hear the things you haven’t said, and see what you might see. I want to hear you when you call. Do you feel anything at all? I wanna see your thoughts take shape and walk right out… Freedom has a scent, like the top of a newborn baby’s head." Chorus: "The songs are in your eyes, I see them when you smile. I’ve seen enough, I’m not giving up on a miracle drug." This song was written from a mother’s perspective that had a son with cerebral palsy and could not speak or move. Scientists were able to fix his neck and strap on a device enabling him to type. Turns out he had a lot to say. The second verse of the song only gets better.

Or lines from “Original Of The Species” "Baby slow down, the end is not as far as the start. Please stay a child somewhere in your heart." A song written about The Edge’s daughter growing up way too fast (from a father’s perspective).

Long blog, but lesson is: Search for powerful, uplifting, motivational lyrics that will inspire you to live a better life and make your time here on Earth more meaningful. "Love, love, love. Where the streets have no name" –U2