Everyone Needs a Song
We all, at one time or another, have wished deep down that our lives had a soundtrack just like the movies.
A daring romantic gesture accompanied by a Sam Smith number, shooting hoops to the Space Jam soundtrack; or, as was my only really life soundtrack experience so far, REM's 'Everybody Hurts,' playing in the store the day your 18 year-old self returns an engagement ring, left over from a relationship that crashed and burned (I know, right! True story. I swear on my life).
Why is this? Because music adds meaning. Music finds its way into the minute fractures of one's being that no spoken word could ever reach, and it makes sense of things that nothing else can. Music gives you permission to cry when everything sucks, but will pick you up off the floor when it’s time to soldier on. It invites you to throw off the weight of the world when your shoulders are tired, and will shine a light into your darkest places in your time of need.
My love affair with music started young. I have a distinct memory of being dragged around some sort of swap meet or market as a young child, and being captivated at the sight of a little old rickety acoustic guitar. More than once I doubled back just to stare at it; small, with a faded sunburst paint job and a thick white plastic scratchplate - a real cowboy looking thing. I wanted it, desperately. Even then as a kid, it seemed to be some mystical thing which possessed a kind of magic that could take a person beyond the here and now. It was our ticket out of here.
Today I am fortunate enough to say that the guitar (though, not that exact one!) has become exactly that to me. Not just an instrument, but a way to transport myself and anyone else in the room to a better place for just a short time. And in recent years I’ve had the privilege of seeing first hand the freedom and hope that music can bring. Whether it’s one line of a lyric, one small lick or riff, or just the way a whole song sonically sticks together like glue - it has the power to grab someone right in the middle of their own story and, even if only for a moment, add meaning to it.
Because, see, everyone needs a song. We all need a song to tell the stories we’re too afraid to tell; to articulate the things we could never have the bravery to say. We need a song to make us stop and bask in whatever place we find ourselves. Music has a way of slowing life down for a second and urging us to embrace where we’re at.
Music can be the anthem to a nation wide revolution, and at the same time, is just as powerfully capable of being the anthem to a revolution of one’s own heart. Perhaps it’s because so often musicians are broken and confused people, riding the waves of emotional turmoil that come with possessing a creative personality. It’s almost like they speak on behalf of us all, just to let us know it’s okay to not be perfect.
Music is my medicine. It turns bad times to okay and good times to great. It is patient with me. It understands me and it asks nothing from me. It simply, selflessly keeps on giving. Not just to this one not-quite-altogether mess of a human, but to this not-quite-altogether mess of a world.
So as long as we have music, everything will be okay.