[EDIT:] The website will be updated tomorrow as normal–moving and graduation slowed me down for a bit, but I’m picking back up. Apologies for those who checked for new content and were disappointed. ^^;
This post is partially about songs.
Anyone catch the William Blake reference?
Music reminds me of important things I forget. It’s rarely directly–art in general has that important power–to communicate to us obliquely. By getting lost in the artwork, be it a transfixing song or a transfixing image, we receive something communicated, something evoked within us.
An artist’s job is to be an evoker. Okay, the DND players probably got that reference. We evoke realities within our audience through transfixation.
I got lost in a song today, and it reminded me what I think we all forget at times–that we should like things because we like them, not because we think we can justify them to the people around us. Especially when we often aren’t even thinking about what the people closest to us will think–we worry what the vaguely-shaped form of society might think. If we lose sight of truly enjoying something, and instead put it through the filter of what we think we’re allowed to enjoy, then our experience no longer has the same depth of meaning.
Example? Music itself. We get caught up in trying to look “sophisticated” with our music choice. On a small scale, we avoid pop. If it gets really bad, we avoid all major chords entirely, or even time signatures (especially 4/4).
Most commonly, we think certain songs are “unoriginal.” This is fine if you truly don’t like the song. But when you won’t let yourself like a song that deep down you find yourself drawn to, it becomes a problem. Why? Because you’re filtering out potential depth and meaning. Even when we do admit to liking certain songs, we often describe them as “guilty pleasures,” still giving some sort of “homage” to this shapeless specter of society. The tiniest little note, the change of one line can change the entire meaning of what is evoked within you. I’ll be talking about Chaos Theory here in the near future, but suffice it so say small differences can be amplified to make huge impacts.
It reminds me of what Daft Punk said, when discussing their amazing album Discovery:
“When you’re a child you don’t judge or analyze music. You just like it because you like it. You’re not concerned with whether it’s cool or not. Sometimes you might relate to just one thing in a song, such as the guitar sound. This album takes a playful, fun, and colorful look at music. It’s about the idea of looking at something with an open mind and not asking too many questions. It’s about the true, simple, and honest relationship you have with music when you’re open to your own feelings.” (Daft Punk, on the album Discovery. Source: wikipedia)
I couldn’t say it better myself, but I want to add one thing–often, the surface of a song, a painting, anything, isn’t important. I’m a big advocate of depth, and that’s the thing–what’s important is what the art evokes within you. Sometimes the meaning that’s evoked within you can be completely opposite of what the surface looks like. Sometimes the strain of the violins and the metaphors chosen in a pop love song can remind you what true freedom is.
And when you sing out loud and nobody understands why you’re breaking character, you can chuckle to yourself and laugh it off.
Heh, speaking of artwork!
Artists, musicians, we would do well to remember this lesson too–create what you love to create, not what you think people want you to create. Otherwise you aren’t giving anyone real depth, you’re just giving them an image polluted by that filter. And if you don’t think they’ll understand it, remember that this is poetry, not prose. You aren’t telling them a message–you’re having them feel.
All images, writing, characters, artwork and related indicia are (c) Earl Isbell
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