Several years ago, music was just sounds; sounds that became bound and woven together to make pleasant noise that bounced out of my headphones. One year later, my music became my identity. I began to hide behind the pretense of my music tastes. Often, I would listen to music not just because I liked the sound, but because it helped me find my identity as Daniel Melzer. Luckily, I have passed through that self-conscious phase, and I have reached a new meaning of music and its magical qualities.
Music has now become a way for me to identity and deal with my emotions. Through hearing the passion and feeling from artists through their music, I am able to really think inwardly about myself. Several months ago this year, I felt empty and cold. I couldn’t get along with my friends and nothing seemed to work correctly. After several weeks of this funk, I was sitting at my desk when my shuffle put on the Modest Mouse song, “Whenever You Breathe Out, I Breathe In”. The haunting lyrics wafted over my uncomfortable room as I sat and listened.
“I didn’t go to work for a month
I didn’t leave my bed for eight days straight
I haven’t hung out with anyone
‘Cause if I did, I’d have nothing to say
I didn’t feel angry or depressed
I didn’t feel anything at all
I didn’t want to go to bed
And I didn’t want to stay up late
When you’re living your life, well, that’s the price you pay”
I sat there, numb, just thinking about the lyrics. I imagined this singer, alone in his Issaquah mobile home writing about what he felt. The feeling of emptiness described in the song through the floating lyrics and moody chords made me realize that this was my issue. I had been in a state of abeyance and was bored, tired, and irritable. Soon after, I tried to be more active in all of my activities. Several more weeks passed and soon I was back to my normal self. This experience opened my eyes to the emotion of my music.
I believe that music can express emotion in its most fundamental form. It has the mystical ability to change moods and help bring out personal emotions. Having music tastes that range from fundamentalist Islamic rap, to soft emotive folk, to classic dinner jazz, I have felt the emotion and the passion from all sorts of people through their music. I feel their sadness, pain, elation, and hope through harmony, melody, rhythm, and vocals. Once I am comfortably ensconced in my mind, I let the music overcome my senses and I am able to think inwardly about my life and its various activities. I don’t know why, but when I have music playing I am able to reflect and think about my emotions and identity them through the music.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.