Friday, June 4, 2010
When I googled brain+music just a minute ago, I got more than sixty five million hits. It's a big theme in neurology at the moment. Very cool. This week I enjoyed this article from the NY Times, titled "Exploring Music's Hold on the Mind." This is my kind of science, oh yeah.
For me, the importance of music goes far beyond the brain. Music feeds my soul, it does. My life has a soundtrack, always has. It feels like a survival thing to me; that I would die without music. Perhaps that isn't literally true, but it seems that way.
As a kid, my life was accompanied by musicals and symphonies, the musical choices my father made. Coming of age was all about the Beatles, etc. Choose any time in my life and I can pinpoint a piece of music or at least a genre, that got me through the day. I remember even as a child listening obsessively to the ballet suites of Aram Il'yich Khachaturian. As a teenager I literally played James Brown, Live at the Apollo Theater to death. Who knew it was possible to wear out a record? You would think vinyl would last forever.
Fast forward to my twenties? Abbey Road. And on, and on.
A few weeks ago, I was all about Brazilian music, especially bossa nova and samba. It's such uplifting music, and too it smoothes my energy, polishes my aura, brings out the luster in my electromagnetic field. After a couple of weeks of bossa nova, abruptly (or so it seemed) I began listening to gravelly voiced guitar playing singer/songwriters, Eric Clapton in particular. Maybe my energy got too smooth, maybe my aura needed a little ruffing up. Or maybe I needed a piercing infusion of melancholy. Your guess is as good as mine.
Sometimes my theme music is very specific. For the last couple of days, I've been listening, over and over again, to the great Nick Lowe song, "What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding." I've listened to it so many times I may even end up memorizing the lyrics (quite a feat for me). I'm not quite clear why, though it's possible the song is acting as a spiritual tonic for the stomach-wrenching, heart/mind-wrenching reaction I have to anything I read about the oil spill in the Gulf. The pictures of the birds, covered in slime? I can't bear it.
Thanks, Nick, for this beautiful song. Here's a version in which both Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe sing the song that Elvis made famous. I embedded the vid in the largest format I could, as a metaphor for its huge impact of the moment. Hope you enjoy it.