Some music simply strikes you; a revelation, it grips a part of your soul, and never lets go. It programs itself into your mind until you know the numerous intricacies which ebb and flow for a few glorious minutes before leaving you wanting more. There is something innately passionate about music. For me, it inspires sensations like these:
Pure, unrivalled, untainted bliss like liquid light dripping sensuously into my ears, simultaneously making my skin ripple in shivers and warming the tips of my fingers, the back of my neck, the peaks of my cheeks as they are lifted into an uncontainable smile. It happens at the resolution of a crescendo, when the tension is freed in a cascade of kaleidoscopic sound… It appears when I read praise or interview of a beloved artist and realise the depth of their respect and passion… And sometimes it makes its appearance by humbly attaching itself to a memory, achieving perfection, freezing a moment for infinity in its chords.
I believe in music. Music is both medicine for frustration and the best way to revel in happiness. It can drown out the world or bring everyone closer. Music is a universal language; it connects, celebrates, and transcends. It adds colour to life. Exchanging, listening, playing, reading about, discovering; it’s a hobby, a lifestyle, a happiness.
As music has such a massive place in my life and the lives of my friends and family, I would like to share some of the songs and artists that make me smile. I realise music is deeply personal and, like art, is not universally enjoyed; I only hope some of the material shared here inspires joy in at least one other person.
One of my favourite bands is a British group called Elbow. I recently saw them perform in Chicago after the release of their latest album; they were magnificent. The musicality and instrumental arrangement of their songs speak for their deep respect and interest in music. So does their artistically poetic and metaphorical lyricism: from The Birds, the eight-minute introduction to 2011’s Build a Rocket Boys! (“I wore your glacial patience to a smudge of bitter dust; on the last day you embraced me with a glistening sapling trust…”); to Scattered Black and Whites down the back of their 2002 debut album Asleep in Back (“She scruffs my hair in the kitchen stream, she’s listening to the dream I weaved today…”) Choosing one song is painful considering their vast collection of incredible music; this is the symphonic opening track from their Mercury Prize winning album Grounds for Divorce. Please, if you enjoy it a much as I do, go and discover more. It’s a little bit of magic.