This was my first line in Shakespeare’s play, Twelfth Night, and the only line that I remember. I was ten years old and it was nearing the end of my final year at primary school. Back then, music meant little to me; I had a few songs that I loved but did not fully understand and I was oblivious to its importance. Now, nine years later, it is something that I truly love. I have no idea who I would be without it and every single day I must experience it, sing it, feel it.
When I am listening to a song, no matter the genre, it must evoke a passionate emotion. So if I am listening to rock, it must give me energy, surprise me, have flow and stamina. If I am listening to pop, it must give me breath, light, a feeling of love and lust. If I am listening to R&B, it must have soul, a message, a voice to speak to me. So my collection of music is incredibly varied and growing all the time, though while the range may seem random, it is something inherent in the song, the voice and the meaning that speaks to me and influences me to want more from it; the category of a song means nothing to me.
Sometimes I will love a song because of the speaker. Take Lorde, Tori Kelly or Wesley Schultz from The Lumineers for example. I often write about Wesley in particular because he is a captivating person with stories to tell and a feeling in my mind surrounds him that he is perhaps someone I wish I was like: free, beautiful, humble, talented, heard. I do not feel like that and he is loved too, again a feeling I envy so much. Listening to his songs, the honesty and imagery is something I can relate to and the relationship he has with the listener, I feel like he is telling me the darkness and insecurity in his heart and I wish someone would tell me that so that I could help and pour my heart out back to them.
Lorde and Tori Kelly, they both have unique and incredible voices. They are young and successful, untainted by the modern world and they live their lives as themselves, doing what they love. The fact that Lorde stays true to her roots and Tori stays true to her religion in a globalised and fearful world truly astounds me that they seem unaffected and so strong. Even though they are not in love, they are loved by friends and family with a deep connection to them. I love these people and despite not having ever met them, the honesty, soul and character they each have makes me feel love for them. When I hear their songs, I feel a love and connection with them that I lack in my life.
Sometimes I will love a song for the lyrics. Recently I have been obsessed with the song ‘Hard to Love’ by Calvin Harris and Jessie Reyez. The portrayal of a broken girl who admits her flaws and guilty pleasures, feels ugly and labelled; I feel like that too. I have spoken about how I feel labelled before. I feel invisible and a face that never gets seen, it makes me feel ugly how no one looks. I fall in love too easily and I come broken too. However, I like to think that I am still a nice person, I don’t like to talk but I love to sing and I don’t smoke but I find myself lately loving drink more and more. I just cannot help myself; if I am not seen then I can do what I want to myself and be myself, no one is going to look. If anyone ever falls in love with me again, I feel like this time it would be for real now that I know who I am and what I need. The real me is on show for anyone to look at and notice. This song just makes me want to be myself even more and dance like a weirdo just like Jessie in the music video.
Countless other songs like Starboy by The Weeknd, A World Alone by Lorde and Somebody Else by The 1975, they speak volumes to me. I feel like when I sing them it’s my voice speaking out the honesty inside. Starboy is my arrogant dark side that likes to come out, A World Alone is my lonely, unique side that likes to hide and Somebody Else is the confused and broken side that haunts me. There are so many more songs with lyrics that feel like my thoughts and when a song can feel like it has come from you, it makes you feel a guilty pleasure for it.
Fancy by Iggy Azalea is another side that I feel and love but we won’t discuss that! 😀
Sometimes I will love a song for the melody. The ability to adapt through a song, change style throughout or surprise with little intricate sounds in places, a symphony can come together to perform the most mesmerizing of songs. The layers to some songs give you a different experience every time you hear them. Take ‘Little Something’ by The Amazons for example; when I first heard it, I was thinking of the bigger picture of the song. I was not focussed on the lyrics or the little sounds, just the feel of the song. The feel was nothing groundbreaking for me though I still liked it. And then with a dozen more plays, over a few weeks it grew on me. The raw emotion in the singer’s voice began to feel incredible, feeling broken, desperate and obsessed. The lyrics were brought to life by that and then with a few more plays, the abrupt change in the middle of the song in which all sound cuts off except for one guitar forced me to feel even more. This song was developing in my mind every time I heard it. Every layer began to come alive and I could understand it, feel it, relate to it. The drums and guitars come together to give me the energy and emotion to sing the song too. The evolution of the sound of the song and the growing intensity of it right up until the end forces me to love it.
I remember the feeling of paranoia towards ‘my little something’ when I was in love before. When I was apart from her, I felt frustrated that I could not be there with her. I wanted to know where she was hiding and running and ultimately, just like it feels in the song, the relationship between the two of us was wrong. Built on one person’s obsession and the other person feeling unsure, hiding and running, the relationship was built to self-destruct. I think of that every time now when I hear it, the girl who self-destructed on me. Many songs make me think of her and what she did, at least now the songs are a constant reminder of how a relationship should not be. No one should be running or hiding, there should be no obssession or frustration. I do not want a little something, I want someone special.
And finally, a song can paint a memory to me. While some are more random than others such as ‘Do You Even Know?’ by Rae Morris makes me think of McDonald’s as it always plays in there, some songs like ‘Starving’ by Hailee Steinfeld make me feel a memory I want to forget. It was a song that I shared with one of my exes and it just cannot be one of my favourite songs any more, I only feel anger. I can try to suppress it so when I hear Starboy for example which I also listened to with her, the memory only adds to the lyrics and feeling of a dark side in me. My love only deepens for it.
So when I listen to music I feel more than just sounds and vibrations; I experience memories, I feel emotion and get chills, I feel an energy and a love inside of me and it is always something pure that comes from music for me. When I sing I feel like I have someone to talk to and be honest with. The perfection in the vibrations resonates with me and gives me a pleasure, like I am one of those people who gets chills from music and singing only makes the emotion stronger. I love music and without it, I have no idea who I would be. “Give me excess of it.”
Much love from your friend,