Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hi. My name is Ben, and I love music.


"Let me whisper things

You've never heard before"


Sometimes I feel like I need to go to a support group for people who love music. In my daydreams, this group wouldn't try to encourage me to quit music, but would encourage me to get more and more into it. Someone would bring a new album every week, and we would listen to it, groove to it, and deeply contemplate the lyrics. And we would be so good at it that we could make money. That way my title would be: Benjamin Rhodes, Music Lover.

"I read bad poetry
into your machine.
I save your messages
just to hear your voice.
You always listen carefully
to awkward rhymes.
You always say your name
like I wouldn't know its you..."

Melissa and I were talking the other day, and I mentioned that I love music for the lyrics - I love the message of the song. The music simply give the lyrics motion. Unless, of course it is classical music (think Bach), or an overpowering guitar solo, then it's all about the music. (Sigh...where is the philosphical-conceptual space for music?)

"But every now and then I'd swear I'd see
you standing
On a sidewalk,
In a restaurant,
From a taxi passing by."


Music to me whispers message about people I've met. It whispers things about places long in my past that I want to keep connected to. It reminds me of situations that made me laugh or cry or feel alive. Music speaks to me of God, and his connection to me. It speaks to me of myself, and my connection to God. Certain music becomes a soundtrack for a place and time. This doesn't happen because I sit down and listen to the song, it happens because my soul sings these lyrics to me - it whispers them when I think of people and places from long ago. Truth is, I sing about almost every person I have a meaningful relationship with in words that aren't mine, but have become mine. Sometimes I feel bad that I think most Christian music is technically and lyrically inferior to secular music. Then, I just pop in a new CD and all my worries fade as the music sweeps me away.

"He used to do surgeries
On girls in the eighties,
But gravity always wins."


Sometimes, lyrics frame how I think about things. When people analyze where they are in life, how they've fallen into particular patterns and situations, I think of music. I think of the way lyrics turn a certain phrase. I think of how creatively and descriptively and subjectively these lyrics describe life. They hold me hostage to ways of thinking about the world. Hostage in a good way.

"I stood on the edge
Tied to a noose
But you came along
and you cut me loose"


Music releases my inner muse. Music makes me more creative than I would otherwise be. I live in the lyrics. I find my space between the notes and words. I create whole worlds there and derive stories out of those worlds. I find meaning and purpose there. When everything about my bourgeoisie life seems droll and dull, music reminds me that there are ways of thinking about things that are full excitement and life. Music pulls me from crisis to creative.

Here are some of my favorite lyric snippets. (Can anyone identify where they come from?)

What are some of yours?

"Tears Stream
Down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace"


"Oh Simple thing
Where have you gone?
I'm getting old
I need something to rely on."


"Are the streets you're walking on
A thousand houses long?
Well that's where I belong
And you belong with me,
Not swallowed in the sea."


"Sundays were made for this..."

"On a platform I'm gonna stand and say,
That I'm nothing on my own..."


"The more skin you shared
The more that the air in your thoat would linger
when you'd call him your friend."


"I was waiting as you drove away.

The sunlight was falling
you were writing backwards
on a dusty window pane."

5 comments:

KellyC said...

I love music too, but in almost the exact opposite way. I could hardly tell you the lyrics to any song, I might be albe to come up with the main line of the chorus but that would be the extent of what I could recall. I find it hard to even hear the lyrics at times, maybe I am just more tuned in to the instruments or maybe I just can't hear the frequencies of the vocals as well.

Nonetheless, I love music for the way the notes, rythms, and silence fit together. They carry you on a journey that leads to a different place every time. I can sit and play my guitar for hours and not play anything in particular at all.

There is something very innate about music. I think it is cool how different people can get different things out of the same music. Oh and don't know any of the lyrics in your post :( But reading them does make me want to pay more attention to the lyrics that I hear.

Benjamin said...

Yeah, isn't that interesting? A lot of people I know care more about the groove of the music than they do the lyrics. My wife is one of them. That's why a club would be important, see - you could talk about the music, I could talk about the lyrics.

I don't seem to remember you playing much guitar when we were roomies. Did you wear headphones or something?

KellyC said...

I don't remember playing as much back then. When I did play it was acoustic and probably pretty quite. Well, and your "blanket-wall" stopped any of my music getting through. :)

But really though, I have sort of grown into it over the years. Maybe it hasn't been quite so many years, but it seems like forever.

stephanie said...

I've thought about the same kind of club, except I usually play the part of the person bringing the new music. And of course, in my day-dreams, everyone always loves the new music I bring.

Is the first quote from a Sister Hazel song??

How about this one:
"And I always see the back of your head in the crowd
But don't turn around
It's never you
And it ruins those memories"

Benjamin said...

Steph: No, none of my lyrics are from Sister Hazel. In fact, I don't know any Sister Hazel lyrics.

I also don't know where the lyrics you posted are from, but I like them.

Kelly:
You might be right that I couldn't hear you in my padded room. At some point Billy moved out and I got a 'real' room, but I don't remember if that was early on or later. It's hard to believe that was almost 10 years ago.