Sunday 10 February 2013

A2: S3 - Anything but music

I sit in silence a lot of the time.

The majority of people I know have an inexplicable and intrinsic link with music. They never go anywhere without their ipods and headphones, have countless playlists and dedicate hours to looking up new music. Everyone has their own specific tastes in music and religiously follow their favourite bands and artists. At first I thought, well I guess I'm just not a musical person. But I knew that wasn't true. I have a  very refined and particular taste in music, and I love to sing and play my ukulele. That's when I realised that it's not that I don't like listening to music, it's that I just...can't do it.

Most music is fine to listen to, and when I do, I really enjoy it. It's just that there's one particular type of music which I just cannot bare to listen to, for fear of what it'll do to me. This is not a genre of music like hip-hop, indie, rap, or country - it's a type of music. I tried to explain this to someone the other day, and I'm fully aware of just how ridiculous it sounds, but when I really, really like a song, I can't listen to it. When it comes on I get agitated and my skin starts to crawl and I desperately want to change it straight away, just because I like it so much. It's not a preservation thing either, not like I'm being cautious of over-playing it. I just can't bring myself to listen to music I like.

For me, there's a spectrum - songs that I hate, songs that I don't like, songs I feel nothing about, song I like, songs I really, really like, songs I love, and silver songs. It's those silver songs, songs that really stir something deep inside of me that does not stir often, music that seems to wake this sleeping silver beast who opens its eyes, stretches out its legs, cracks its knuckles and entirely takes over my soul. These songs tap into this part of my brain which just convinces me that I am the most important person in the world, I am here for a reason, if there ever was one then I am the chosen one, and the fate of everything and everyone rests in my hands. The emotion is so trembling powerful and earth-shatteringly overwhelming, that when I stop listening and get out of my musical funk, I feel so emotionally, physically and spiritually ravaged that I am genuinely exhausted from just listening. The intensity of these emotions about music I like, makes me not want to ever listen to it, despite the fact, and for the very same reason that, I just like it so fucking much.

The first time I felt this was when I watched the first Transformers film. It may sound dorky as hell, but I became obsessed with that film. To this day it still remains one of my favourite films of all time. Everything about it is just perfect, including the music. The score, written and composed by Steve Jablonsnky, was like nothing I'd ever taken the time to listen to. It made me shudder to feel the pure unadulterated power beneath that music. One song in particular just took a hold of me, shook the hell out of me and threw me to the ground, reeling. The Arrival to Earth.

I used to sit in the dark, night after night, with headphones on full volume in my ears, dreaming of the most unfathomable ideas, inventions, journeys, adventures and challenges that I could do with my life, all spurned from feeling the power of the drums and the violins, and the strength it gave me. It was like a drug, and I couldn't seem to express to anyone just what it did for me. I was about fifteen when I first heard it, and I remember forcing my friend Charlotte one day when she came round my house, to sit on the stairs on her own with this song blasting through headphones, then to come back and tell me what she thought.

She came back, and I looked up expectantly at her blank expression, and only managed a feeble "Did... did you feel it too?" and she kind of looked at me with this slight frown and said (I'll always remember this) "It just made me feel, like, you know when you have a problem, and then it seems like a huge deal, and then you overcome it. That kind of thing?" and I couldn't hide the disappointment in my face.

 Because listening to the silver songs, it doesn't just make me think, or make me wonder. It fully takes a hold of the very essence of my life and soul and makes me feel things I never could've imagined that I'd feel. If I had superpowers, I imagine the first time they'd ever come out would be when listening to this kind of music, because it makes me feel such extraordinary emotions that I can almost believe I have moved past the human state into something entirely more remarkable. When my heart is pounding in my chest and I clench my teeth together, my pupils dilate and I feel all of the air coming whooshing out of my lungs as goosebumps tear across my skin, I become invincible, immortal. I'm listening to it right now, and I'm finding it super hard not to completely lose my shit in a feverish frenzy. Because when you listen to music like this, it really does hit this spot deep inside of you, a spot which everyone in the world has but has never been able to really admit to themselves. Secretly, deep down, you have this small but ever present feeling that perhaps, of all the people in the world, it was you that was meant to do something important. It is your life, your existence above everyone elses that is the significant one.

My most recent silver song discovery is Run Boy Run by Woodkid.

I urge all who are reading this to go onto Spotify or YouTube and put it on right now, then continue to read.

Go, now! Or this next part will not be the same.

The bells. Then Drums. Those drums go right through me. Like a tribal march they infiltrate my body and replace my heartbeat and my pace of being alive. This song make me see. I see such power and passion beneath my burning eyelids. I have to clench my jaw together tightly because I feel like my head will explode if I don't try and take control of what I see. I see people, humans, in their masses, stomping and clapping, their expressions furious, pure animalistic humanity. I see earth cracking, crushing and breaking, crumbling away and rocks crushing together. I see fingernails digging deep into the sand and grit. I see the pure, raw power of a human being, and the potential that one person has. A soldier, a warrior, running, shooting, flying across the mountains and the skies and the trees and the rocks and waves and water. I see the passion in creation of all who have lived, all that has existed and all that will continue to thrive on our planet, trembling with life. Images flash before my eyes of the deserts, the mountains, the cities, the marshes, storms, rocky waterfalls, rainforest's, icy tundras and Savannah's, the whole world smashing together all at once and pressing down upon my soul and burning into my eyes, because the earth is mine. The earth is here for me to create beauty with and here it is, laid out before me. I can be so great. I will be so great. I feel the power in the wild tribal beats of my heart because I am an animal and I am made of pure passion. I want to run out into the rain and stomp and splash around and scream so loudly to mark place on earth, and shout "HERE I AM!" and for the world to see me, and to acknowledge me. And then,

It's over.

I feel raw. In the silence I hear my own frantic heart and my breathing and I instantly feel foolish. Because when I take out my headphones, all that is gone. I'm back in my bed in my pants, with a few books on my bed, ukulele in the corner and Simpsons on the telly, and life is mundane and average again. It doesn't seem possible that these two worlds can co-exist, the world I find when I listen to the silver songs and the world that I actually live in. 

It's like when you're in the cinema and you get so caught up with how incredibly moving a scene is, that you actually weep at the sheer sorrow of the characters. You become so immersed in the plot that you entirely suspend disbelief and real empathy appears and you cry for them. Then the lights come up, you look around and you laugh at the fact that you were just crying, 'cause you remember that you're actually in a cinema in south London, and not lying on a dismantled door of the in the frozen Arctic sea, watching the love of your life die.

And you're able to laugh because you come to your senses again and realise that what you were just seeing, was complete fiction. It's the same when I stop listening to music. I feel a bit of a dick at how emotional I just got as I instantly snap back to reality. But you know what? I don't think that was fiction. That place I go to when I listen to the silver songs is not a movie or a character, it's getting completely lost in the silver, and it's real. The world I see is the world I live in, just viewed through such a different perspective, it seems like an entirely new word altogether. Like normal planet earth, but viewed through a kaleidoscope of passion, strength and power. If I had the choice to live in that mentality I go to when I listen to silver songs, or the coming-out-of-the-cinema feeling after, I know which one I'd choose.

So I guess that is why I actively avoid listening to music that I like. Because it's not just 'listening to music'. However pretentious it sounds, it's not just listening. It's a full emotional, spiritual, physical and biological journey, a complete onslaught of the senses where I am entirely catapulted into another universe and I see things, that one could never dream of seeing.

Hey, maybe I do have super-powers after all, and my power is that when I listen to certain music, I can bridge the gap to another world.

I like that. Let's go with that.