If there’s one thing life teaches us, its that there is no real, tangible explanation for some experiences and phenomena. Whether it be an eye opening recreational adventure that lead to a near death encounter we’ve had or heard about from a close personal loved one, or a wildly unexpected and short-lived romantic relationship that almost seemed like a dream we had an another dimension; there are just some things that you can’t describe, you just somehow feel them deep within the loins of your soul.
For longer than I can remember, music has had this effect on me in various ways. I remember being 7 years old and feeling something within me being brought to life as I listened to cassette tapes of 50’s classics from Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Isley Brothers, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, or the Chordates. Even though I was born in the 80’s I somehow immediately was able to connect with music from previous generations before falling in love with the Pop/R&B sounds of my time which included Michael Jackson, Prince, The Police, Journey, then eventually Bel Biv Devoe, Boyz II Men and TLC.
Fast forward to the mid-late 90’s and I was obsessed with 2pac, Notorious B.I.G, Scarface & The Geto Boys, Bone Thugs “n” Harmony, Wu-Tang Clan, Outkast, Nas as well as countless other artists whose lyrics guided me through a tumultuous adolescence in a conservative small town whereas traditional family values were blanketed with the importance of social status & reputation. Throughout the struggles and hardships of a child dealing with the death of a sibling and parental divorce there was one thing that kept me from committing the most drastic of tragic acts, and that was music.
There are still songs to this day that I can play and it’ll immediately serve as a vehicle taking my consciousness back to that moment in time and saved me from doing something that I would’ve regretted or that would’ve had a permanent effect on those who care about the most. If you’ve ever been through any type of tragedy that caused you to question the purpose of living you know what I’m talking about.
Its not just tragedy where music seemed to be the only solution to my despair but moments of doubt and internal conflict, in search of finding who I truly am. Through lyrics and song i was able to offer myself the confidence I needed to make it through high school, then the mindset to steer me through the three and a half years I spent in college before seeking fulfillment elsewhere.
It isn’t just the lyrics in songs that ignite that fire within. Its every part of the production from the vibe and tempo of the percussion to the emotional translation of the strings and keys that have always spoke to me. Typically, when I hear the song I can hear every element of it without needing to be told what instruments are being played. I can separate them out in my head to pick up the melody and hum my own version of the track before a note is sang or a lyric rapped. Eventually this understanding of music would lead me to pursue a career in it as an artist and now a brand owner and aspiring talent manager.
If you’re an artist, producer, songwriter, or even blogger you have at least a surface understanding of what I’m talking about when I say music opens us up to a different aspect of our own psyche that connects us to other dimensions, frequencies, even worlds that exist somewhere in the depths of the imagination. Those feelings, ideas, and memories are encapsulated with every note played, lyric mouthed and melody sung. They forever exist to remind us of who we are and for what purpose we were placed on this planet during this time in these moments.
Its for these reasons so many artists, enthusiasts, and fans stand up and defend the legends and greats that inspired them throughout the years against the one-hit wonders and trendsters that monopolize press publications. There’s an overwhelming difference between music that moves you and music that is basically background noise in a passive setting where our eyes are leading our senses such as a bar or night club. Regardless of who is arguing in a debate on music that is short-lived versus music that lives on forever, there is a reason for that debate and as long as the imbalance in the focus of popular music is present, it will continue on through every article and billboard placement.
The power of music is so strong, this is what it does to us. It enrages some people, it motivates others, and even numbs those who don’t want to incite critical thought or comprehensive emotion at all. This is what many bloggers fail to point out or even realize when they complain about the endless debate between fans and artists alike in regards to who deserves to be admonished in the reaches of success, earning fan’s hearts and financial esteem. So many are focused on the charts and whose popular, they overlook the quality that should be considered when covering a revered single or body of work. This is what’s led to the downgrade in music journalism, especially in hip-hop/rap conversations, although there’s no need to dig deeper into that issue right now in this particular moment.
What I’m trying to say is there is more to music than record sales, chart placements, grammy & music awards, YouTube views and song streams. In an age where the lines are blurred between what’s considered “good” or “classic” and what’s “hot,” its become difficult to understand what’s most important in the music we’re exposed to and share with one another; and that’s the temporary and permanent effects it has on us both internally and externally, in the habits we pick up and the relationships we form throughout the process of experiencing what that music has to offer. People overlook what matters for what sells and that is not how music should be portrayed; that’s not how artists should paint the reality they share with they youth. There’s more to music than that because there’s more to life than that. I know it, the artists know it and you the fan knows it. If only the industry cared as much as their consumers do.