I believe in the power of music. I believe that music has the ability to put into words and sound what we feel inside but cannot adequately put into words. It’s hard to imagine a world with a complete absence of music, especially for me. I have always grown up identifying myself as a “music fanatic.” There are people who will say things like “I like country music,” or “I like music by Eric Clapton,” but not me. I like any song that speaks to me, no matter what category or definition it may carry. That’s why when people ask me what my favorite song is I have so much trouble answering. Do they want to know my favorite song to listen to when I’m so excited for something that I can hardly think straight or do they want to know which song I’m ready to hear when I’ve had a terrible day and just want to curl up underneath my covers and shut out the world. Even then, I’ve still got way too many to choose from.
The reason I love music so much is that it defines for me what I cannot, and it has the same affect on other people. When I was a tiny baby I wailed and cried when it was time to go to bed. My mother would pick me up and sing one song. She has often told me that she has a terrible voice and doesn’t know how to sing, but when she wanted me to go to sleep she would slowly rock me back and forth softly singing, “Take Me Home Country Road.” No matter how precocious of a baby I was, I doubt I understood the lyrics of John Denver’s hit, still it was just something about the song. I have so many memories attached to it like singing it around a fire late one night or my mom singing it while tucking me into bed. Even now when I listen to the song it gives me such a sense of calm. Not to mention it makes me miss my mother.
Even later in my life, songs say for me what I can’t express myself. My father and my grandfather never had a good relationship growing up, but as my dad became a young adult it worsened. My father’s college years were peppered with fights with his own father that didn’t always end well. One fight in particular lasted for multiple years. Neither my father nor my grandfather was willing to break the years of silence and apologize until my father finally took the first step and wrote my grandfather a letter. It was simply the lyrics to a song that they had both listened to and loved many years in the past. It was about making room in their lives for what was new and exciting and still keeping love for those things that had always been there. Who knows if they would still be talking now if my dad hadn’t just given it a try. Years of nothing but animosity were broken with the lyrics to a song.
I have to believe in the power of music because it is so deeply entrenched in my life. Every song I listen to invokes feelings or memories from things in the past and as I hear new songs, I attach new feelings or memories to them. I’ve got music for every mood. Al Green pours into my ears when I’m feeling optimistic and happy about the world and everything in it. Something Corporate pounds through the speakers when I’m feeling just a little bit sick of how things are going. Norah Jones is on repeat when my life is calm and I’m having introspective thoughts. Right now, “The Pretender” by Jackson Browne is playing because the lyrics and mood of the song are exactly how I’ve been feeling this week. Music allows me to make connections with everything that is important in my life. I’ve got songs for every situation, and if you asked me too I could probably sing them. Music is what keeps me going, so I believe in the power of music.