Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Embrace the Inner "Music Freak"

Yesterday I was listening to Bob Dylan's track "I Want You" [see video below] from the album Blonde on Blonde, and I found myself struggling over the kinds of contradictory thoughts I was having. "I Want You" has strong, serious lyrics. The melody is inspired.
However, Bob Dylan sings it.
Or at least, he's trying to.
And I know that therein lies his idiosyncratic style. He's no Pavarotti, he never pretended to sing conventionally, and I'm grateful for that.
Here are some of the thoughts I had with nigh perturbing synchronicity. 'Ha. He sounds bad but it's the kind of bad I dig.'
I suppose, I do say 'dig' for 'like' when I'm thinking. My vernacular is truly authentic in my mind, apparently. I suppose it's because I keep it on a leash quite often.

The thoughts continue.
'Hmm, I like the guitar here.' 'Strong lyrics.' 'Ha, ouch, this is bad.' When Dylan says: "The cracked bells and washed-out horns/Blow into my face with scorn,/But its not that way,/I wasn't born to lose you./I want you, I want you," you're bound to pay attention. This, in my mind, is solid poetry. But then he sings it, you know, in that sort-of-talking-sort-of-reciting sort of way, which, I know, is his shtick.
And what a shtick.
It's what makes him Dylan, after all.
So, the mixed reactions contain much seriousness, respect for the art form you're experiencing, and, well, humor, too.

I mention this to make a point about music and how I view it. To me, music is a kind of umbrella that has room for an array of reactions that reside in the cognitive and the emotional at the same time.
And it's in its comprehensive policy wherein its significance lies.
Music is so big that it consumes the totality of my attention.
In that regard, it eclipses everything and everybody else. Bar none. I've come to accept this as a character trait, actually. I know what my limits are and I most surely know how to frame everything else around it.

Granted, many people like music. Humans, for the most part, respond to it instinctually. Some, however, love it with another degree of intensity.
Music-loving is not for the faint of heart.

I was scolded (I'm told in retrospect) a number of times a while back for giving all of my attention to music when engaged in some form of conversation with the other one. The thing is, I've never been able to ignore music. If I was contractually bound to music, I'd never succumb to any other visual temptations, if you catch my drift.
I always go back to this awfully long car ride I once experienced and the other person telling me that every time music is in the background, I leave the premisses. I'm in a different realm. 'You're elsewhere whenever there's music around.' said the other party with a good dose of disappointment. I couldn't understand why my unequivocal dedication to music was taken so personally.
I've loved music since birth and if I'll be asked to make a choice, well, I've loved music since birth.
At the end of the track I said, 'I'm sorry, what was that?'

Music, in other words, is never inconsequential to me.
It's not inconsequential in my personal life and it, most certainly, isn't inconsequential in my professional life. Music accompanies all I do and it's, as I often say to many, my mode of journaling my quotidian experience.

In terms of philosophy, I always reference Nietzsche's discussion of the superiority of the 'language' of music in his Birth of Tragedy. The moral of that story is that the blind, dying music-loving Socrates does, after all, privilege music above all.
And I concur.

I read a good bit on the Rolling Stone magazine yesterday. When asked about his new Web-only show about music, Brian Williams, the news anchor of NBC's Nightly News, had this to say:

"I'm just like everybody else. I love music. If you ask my wife and kids, they don't necessarily know the guy they see for a half-hour on the nightly news. They know me as a music freak."

Openly embracing one's music-freak is key to acceptance, I find.
Yes, I am a practicing music freak.

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Thom said...

I dig this. It's honest.
"In that regard, it eclipses everything and everybody else."
I laughed about the Dylan bit.

Sra said...

Is your music experience synesthetic? Do you see, touch, taste, feel music?

Wouldn't that be nice?

Liam said...

i wonder if music is the oldest art form.

JJ said...

This, I dug, "I've loved music since birth and if I'll be asked to make a choice, well, I've loved music since birth."

B.R. said...

-The Dylan songs makes me laugh out and I'm not so sure I quite understand why. It's a combination of his vocal range, satire-informed lyrics, and the harmonica, I suppose.
It is, however, a very good song. Otherwise, why would I keep listening to it?
-Interesting question, Sra. I'm not sure whether this is a case of synesthesia although the fact that music begs for my full attention might have something to do it. Music allows me to immerse with more facility in other interests that I pursue. Even menial tasks like doing laundry or cleaning make more sense when music is present. Food tastes better when music is in the background that's why I like to eat out in places where music is played. Music, in short, informs all activities, be they examples of seriousness or levity, and therein lies its power?
-I have thought much about the fact that music is universally respected. Our brains seems to be trained to react to it which makes me think that we are perhaps evolutionarily conditioned to do so.
Music, after all, is a complex language and it is very much a text of intelligence.
Hm. I need to look at Donald's A Mine So Rare and see if there's anything specific on the topic in there.
And as frequently maintained, there is nothing inconsequential about an art from that is characterized by high-frequency.

nila said...

I'm not sure I get this experientially.
"Music is so big that it consumes the totality of my attention.
In that regard, it eclipses everything and everybody else."
I tend to privilege silence quite often and perhaps that's why I don't follow....
A commonality would be that I seem to give silence the same 'lip service.'
Actually, my 'silence' doesn't eclipse everything, so I sort of take that back. ;)

Unknown said...

Music informs the senses with a kind synchronicity that few other 'texts' can. Therein lies the power.
I actually do 'sense' with it.