Word and Sound: How We Connect To Music
Music is a pretty amazing part of the universe. It has so many pathways to express what it means to be a part of the human condition. I’ve been thinking a lot about the different ways we connect with music, and why we all have such a different musical taste. There are a lot of influences to what shapes our personal taste in the songs we love; culture, religion, emotional state of being…the list could go on and on!
For this blog post I decided to narrow my field down to just two different ways to connect with music, and how it may influence whether we love or hate a song: Sound and Lyric.
There are certain songs that, by the instruments alone and the structure of the song, I feel anything from joy, to heart ache, to hope, or sadness. I have certain songs that I can say, “Oh that song wrecks me”, but if you asked me the lyrics…I probably couldn’t recite them back to you at all, because I connect to the sound of that song.
In turn, I could be listening to another song that may be no less simple in structure, yet if I tell you what I love about it, I’ll be saying, “Oh my gosh this lyric, it blew me away, it’s so brilliant.” So below I’ve listen a few of my favorite songs and how I connect to them.
SEND THE RAIN, by Noah Gundersen
I will start off by saying this song is a mix for me because I do think the lyrics are damn brilliant, in their truth and simplicity. But why I decided to put it into the sound category is: The simplicity of the lyrics would be lost on the listener if structured in a simpler manner. I wrote a full album review of Noah Gundersen’s White Noise, and this song, when the album was released in 2017. I decided to revisit my own review, to see what my initial reaction to the song was.
The song starts off so quiet you can hear Gundersen take a deep breath as he begins to play the acoustic guitar, and his first verse is simple and raw. It’s such an intimate start, there is almost this feeling like you should hold your breath while he’s singing. The song then builds, almost cinematically, into this completely enveloping, crescendo of sound
It’s truly one of my favorite songs I have listened to in the last decade for how it manages to say SO much with the music alone.
All My Life, By The Staves & yMusic
This collaborative album The Way Is Read by The Staves and yMusic is so gorgeous! I studied ballet for 10 years (yet another way to express music) and listening to this album had me deep in my ballet feels all over again. It is a perfect example of expressing emotion in sound vs. lyric. To create this album The Staves dove into yMusic’s catalog of contemporary classical compositions, and paired pieces that fit with their lyrics and vocals. The end result is gorgeous and lush, and All My Life is one of my favorite songs for its emotional drive from yMusic that sets the stage for the sparing lyrics and vocals from The Staves.
Dreams Of Cannibalism, by Typhoon
I have forever loved Typhoon for their lyrical brilliance. I could list just about every one of their songs and tell you what lyrics are spot on in each song, but I chose this song specifically because my favorite verse is the very first one, and it punches you with a deep truth right off the bat!
“Unhand me, I am not a criminal. But I’ve played a guilty part. In the modern sense that one pretends their love is original.”
I love any verse that you listen to, and feels like this obvious truth, that you haven't ever realized until hearing it in a song.
Then Came The Morning and Come Break My Heart Again, by The Lone Bellow
Who doesn’t love a good break up song? I think The Lone Bellow have really mastered the heart break genre. Because both of these songs are such great break up songs, in different ways I couldn’t choose so I featured both. In Then Came the Morning, my favorite lyric is:
“Take my words, breathe them out like smoke. Burn every single letter that I wrote. Let the pages turn to ash, I don’t want them back.”
It’s one of those lines I think is so universal. We’ve all been there, and set those lyrics to a bluesy anthem like this; you’re bound to scream it out of a car window through some tears at some point.
My favorite lyric from Come Break My Heart Again, is partially the title of the song, and the chorus.
“Come break my heart again, so I can feel it. I know you need it, I know you mean it.”
Oh the honestly. Oh how we have all been in those shoes. When I first heard this song, my initial reaction was, “Ouch. Why you gotta poke my heart with a stick like that, Lone Bellow?” It’s the brilliance in the cliché that the truth hurts. It’s a beautiful song, and one of my favorites from The Lone Bellows latest Album, Walk Into a Storm
Thank you as always for reading and listening along with me! I encourage you to take a little time to pick whatever music you love, and pay attention to what connects you to that song. You may find the song sits completely different with you after you listen to it from a different stand point.