My mission today – and I decided to accept it – was to use the word ‘song’ to inspire me to action. The action I took was the following essay.
I could write volumes about this one, and I have if you accumulate all my writings on the subject.
What, in my opinion, is a song? Technically it’s a collection of musical notes with or without words that is aesthetically pleasing, at least to the creator. Emotionally? That’s where ‘volumes’ enters the picture.
Certain songs set my teeth on edge. They are either poorly constructed, crafted by someone not a craftsman, or they just to me sound off somehow. A good example of the latter is “Hotel California” by the Eagles. It’s not poorly constructed and the Eagles are definitely able craftsmen, but that song has always been on my ‘change the channel as soon as possible’ list. I couldn’t tell you exactly why.
The right song, though? The right song is like oxygen. I need it to live. The right song can enhance a good mood, change a bad one, or allow me to deal with whatever demons are haunting me at that moment. An example: when my best friend from high school died after a long illness I listened to “My Ride’s Here” and “I Have To Leave” (both on Warren Zevon’s wonderful album My Ride’s Here) repeatedly. I’ve always had a tough time expressing and processing grief. Those two songs allowed me to do both. I’d listen to them on the way to work and sob. That release helped me be able to do my job. To this day I think of my friend whenever I play these songs. In addition, The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” was played at his memorial service. It’s always been a favorite of mine and it has taken on another layer of meaning for me.
I opened this essay with my technical definition of ‘song’. Here is *my* definition: a song is a way to experience the world through new eyes. A song is a great friend and a wonderful therapist. A song is not just aesthetically pleasing, but emotionally and (dare I say it) spiritually pleasing. A song is the universe captured in 32 bars.