I am/is/was a musician, sort of. I went to a performing arts school for music, and indeed, music continued in my veins via DJing through the better part of the last decade. While I might not take lyrics seriously enough to appease one of my exes, it’s because it’s a singular component to a good song. We all have certain things that make music meaningful to us, and for me, it’s the whole package. Lyrics in isolation are just words, no matter who is delivering them. I war with heatherbat over Leonard Cohen, for example – I find him passionless and dull, while she finds him inspiring and clever.
I also generally like songs individually, rather than the entire works of an artist. There are exceptions, obviously – I love Nine Inch Nails up to a point, large swathes of Marilyn Manson, Ween, Angie Aparo, Smashing Pumpkins, etc. You could probably pick out more by looking over a chunk of my DJing history, but even amongst the artists I generally like, there will always be especially stand out songs. Their lyrics, composition (Music major, remember? Structure counts!), and above all – passion… all these parts have to be there for it to especially stick to my soul. That doesn’t mean that everything has to be a labyrinth of key changes and clever tricks, it just has to meet my specific definition of good. That, of course, is one of the most damned subjective things in the world, and as it were, subject to change anyways.
So anyways, I will get periods where I have -a- song. It is the only song, and it is all that I need to keep sane for that period of time. Or not sane – sometimes, my head fixates on something especially bad for it, which doesn’t help me fight off the funk (The Fragile is an especially bad one). But generally, I find a song, I put it on repeat for a few days, and it’s good. And actually, I wanted to share a couple of those, starting with the one I’m earworming right now:
Silversun Pickups – The Royal We: Okay, I’d not heard this one in ages, but the phrase ‘We are not amused’ made me think of the concept of the royal we, and so I absolutely had to hear it. Apparently, it’s the right mix of elements to just keep me happy, and suits adventuring a la Lord of the Rings Online, so I’m quite happy to keep it going. Plus, the lead singer looks sort of like my idea of Bernard Mickey Wrangle from Still Life With Woodpecker – bonus!
Tool – Parabola: I couldn’t tell you precisely why, but this song is a mega depression buster. Oh wait, maybe it’s to do with the lyrics. See Tom, I do pay attention to some words, ha ha. It is, at the heart, an empowering reminder that I can hold it together, that the pain is a trick, that I should do my best to hold to the moments as they come. I’m sure I’m explaining it poorly, but how does one explain the soul? A job best left to the poets, methinks.
Nine Inch Nails – The Fragile: A fantastic song, a terrible earworm. I try to avoid getting it stuck in my head, because that’s a cryin’ time. Why, you might ask? Because it reminds me just how damned broken I am, and all the waiting and picking (and picking and picking…). That y’know… all my trying to stay strong is for naught, ’cause then people just see it as an excuse to try to destroy me for their own pathetic edification. Lose/lose? You betcha.
Pop Will Eat Itself – Wise Up! Sucker: My husband takes the blame for what PWEI I know – thanks love! It’s another strength song; the whole of the lyrics makes complete sense in a way that I absolutely cannot define. It just… does. I guess there’s defiance. We all need a bit of that to haul ourselves up.
Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Possess Your Heart: This is an odd one, insomuch that it entered earworm status because of a dream. The dream was about me and one of my friends from high school who I rocked a microcrush on, and in a rather bad spate of depression, my brain was trying to make that incredibly resurgent in an attempt to force me to destroy my marriage and life in its entirety. I won, obviously – my life is intact, my doctor helped me make that final push to be properly medicated and diagnosed, I turned it into a story (names changed to protect the guilty and innocent, natch), the particular friend is probably still blissfully oblivious, and the song serves to flutter my heart slightly with its sweet poeticness.
Obviously, there are older earworms that escape my mind, and minor ones as well, but those are some of the biggest ones of the last year or two. Most of them help me keep sane and strong. For that, I figure they’re worth sharing. They might mean nothing to you, but that’s fine – I’m sure you all have your own fantastic songs that serve in the same stead. Feel free to share them – I’m all for more music!