Sunday, January 15, 2012

Nuances - Musical and Lyrical

I don't think I have ever met anyone who said, "I hate music." Surely, soulless individuals exist, but fortunately we've not crossed paths. I know that I am not alone in my love for music. It's powers to elicit emotion, motivate rump shaking, and conjure nearly forgotten memories transcend us all. 

I am not certain when I fell in love with music or first obsessed over a song. Pretty sure it was Madonna, Prince, or Michael Jackson that ignited music loving in my soul at a young age -- or maybe it was Kenny Rogers or Lionel Ritchie. I was in love with Mr. Ritchie. I remember asking my mom if I ran into Lionel Ritchie on the street would I call him "Mr. Ritchie" or "Lionel." I was probably about 7 years old.

En route to countless softball practices and games, my dad and his buddy, Skip, (and my best friend's dad) rocked Journey, John Mellencamp (Johnny Cougar,) The Doors, ELO, and Roy Orbison. I knew every nuance of "Authority Song" and "Faithfully." Connecting to one small chord, note, or line of a song made it feel like "my" song. In "Authority Song," for example, the drums beat deep, and then John throws in the "Kick it in." Ahh...I love it. To this day, I love it! Dad, Skip, Kristen, and I would hit the line each time and be pumped up for another softball practice.

The nuances draw me into a song -- I feel something, an actual physical reaction to the song. I can't tell you how many times I have repeated "China Doll" on Grateful Dead's Reckoning -- specifically at 4:15 when Jerry starts into "Take up your china doll...It's only fractured. Just a little nervous from the fall." The harmony on the last part literally melts me.

Similarly, and because it reminds me of the aforementioned Dead line, Ryan Adam's "Two" gets me on so many levels, but shivers go down my spine each time he sings, "I'm fractured from the fall, and I want to go home." Makes me wonder if "China Doll" offered him some inspiration.

Sometimes it's is a guitar or other strings chord that pulls at my heart. I highly recommend the entire Charlie Hunter Quartet Natty Dread album. The "No Woman, No Cry" is a melodic, instrumental treasure. Right at 2:03, Charlie Hunter unleashes magic on his 8-string guitar. I melt. Melt! Another melt-inducer for me is the guitar at 3:00 in The Rolling Stones "Wild Horses" on Sticky Fingers. Don't get me wrong, every other aspect of these songs earn them kudos, but it's these nuances that connect me to the whole.

And, just a few more nuances...
"I'm in love with a girl who's in love with the world and I can't help but follow" -- Amos Lee, Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight
"I dig it when you're fancy dressed up in lace. I dig it when you have a smile on your face." -- Van Morrison, Warm Love
"Love the girl who holds the world in a paper cup. Drink it up. Love her and she'll bring you luck. And, if you find she helps your mind, buddy, take her home." --Kenny Loggins, Danny's Song
"And, I am ready to suffer and I am ready to hope." -- Florence + The Machine, Shake It Out 
I am sap and these songs, tunes, chords, lyrics, melodies, harmonies help me shape my ideal for life and how I want to be treated. How does music affect you and your life?

My theme song:


  1. Indescribably. Magic. Usually a note, small harmony piece (jagger-Richards harmony "some things well I can't refuse" on Let It Loose/Exile). Provides instant time travel back to when I heard it first. Few things provide more powerful combination of enjoyment/physical reaction/coolness. Smiles. World melts away.

    Those notes, harmonies or lyrics nstantly put me in a car, windows down, going to a place where there was freedom, no responsibility, sunny and 17. The Open Road.

  2. Pretenders James Honeyman Scott's solo on Private Lives-

  3. Anonymous 1/19 - you totally get what I am saying, and I am picking up what you're putting down. I love how music can transport to a time and place or one small moment.

    Anonymous 1/20 - I would like to be just like Chrissie Hynde when I grow up. Thanks for the Private Life shout out. Hadn't heard it before and loved the unsuspecting guitar rif you mentioned.

    Thanks for the comments!

  4. Don't forget one of the most endearing lines of Franklin's Tower......if you get confused listen to the music play!

    One of your best blods yet


    1. Thanks for reading and commenting...much appreciated.