Music is a crucial component in the life of me. I love it, I need it, I want it. The beautiful thing about music ,like with a lot of things, is that it comes in a vast array of forms, styles and intensities. Regardless of your mood or where you are within yourself, you will be able to find the perfect, aurally compatible companion. When I read the days mission statement for the Writing 101, I was greeted by an alien cocktail of emotions. You would think I would have been filled with excitement, receiving that green light to talk about something that moves me deeply. The emotions weren’t so clean cut. I was engrossed with panic, and the tiniest flicker of sadness. These emotions where sparked by such a minute component to the days brief, the number, “Three”. I was required to do the seemingly impossible. To reduce an endless assortment of important songs, down to only three that meant a lot to me. Hours of head scratching later, I ruthlessly cut the roster of ‘important songs’ down, and I believe I have managed to pick out the three songs that have a significance importance to me.
First on the list, is a gift from the French, with one of Claude Debussy. He was a french romantic composers preludes, one of which was “le fille aux cheveux de lin”. What a seductive title, The girl with flaxen hair. This was a brilliant piece that entered my life in the final years of studying A level music. For a portion of my final grade, I was required to play a hand full of solo pieces. Having played piano early in my life, and fallen in love with the swinging jazz melodies, classical pieces were truant in my list of favourite pieces to play. This piece defied precedence and won me over instantly. The notes held character, a smooth tonal topography of … bliss. I had to acquaint myself with ‘ the girl with flaxen hair’ . The journey to a mutual understanding, between her and I, was long and fraught with many trying at times. However, every time I battled against the sporadic dissonance or frustration and emerged victorious , I would melt inside the notes. Fingers dancing to the choreography of Claude Debussy, I would run away with my Flaxen Haired maiden till the last note rang out and I was forced to re-enter reality. Heartbreaking.
Now I bring us all forward in time. We have reveled in the beauty of the work of a 19th century, romantic french composer, Monsiuer Debussy, now we must press on. Here we enter a time more akin to this day and age, 1992 to be more specific. This was the year that Eric Clapton first performed his song “Tears in Heaven”. This solemnly strummed song was inspired my an emotionally devastating event in his life. Eric Clapton had lost his son the year before, and this song was written as a touching ode to his seed. Whenever I get a chance to step closer into the music, it deeply enriches my experience of it, this was the case with this song. This was one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar, and it remains one of 3 songs that I can partially, pluck, strum or fumble my way along the fret board to – doing it no justice to any chance listeners. This delicate melody and heart felt verse helps to encapsulate what makes music such a potent form spiritual libation. The music and lyrics are vivid with this message, “Would you know my name, if I saw you in heaven?” He yearns for his lost child, and his mind toils with a reunion in the afterlife. The melancholy chord on beautifully played acoustic guitar massage you into his hearts view of thing, “I must stay strong, and carry on, because I know, they’ll be no more, tears in heaven” . How could his sons memory ever fade, even to stranger such as me. The music is so genuinely filled with emotion, sentiment and rich sounds.
So we reach the final leg of my race to share my three songs. This tour in time and in my tastes leads us even closer to the now. Here it is, from Compton California, we have, Kendrick Lamar. He had an album titled “Good Kid Maad city” which featured a track titled “sing about me”. Not only is this track a redemption of the lyrical capabilities of modern hip hop, but it incorporates what i under stand to be important in music and in RAP, Rhythm and Poetry. “Sing about me” takes you through 3 verses from different perspectives based on real events. It travels along the concept of retaining a legacy, a story, with different reactions to being immortalized in discourse. “When the lights shine off, and its my turn to settle down, my main concern is promise that you will sing about me … promise that you will sing about me” The first verse is spoken in the voice of a hard nosed young man, victim to the violent cultures of his surroundings, aware of his premature exit to life and hopes that he is remembered. The second verse is a touching conversation with a young promiscuous woman who resents the speaker for speaking of her sisters habits, without an understanding of the way she sees things, “… And if you have an album date, just make sure I’m not in the song, cause I don’t need the attention, bring enough of that on my own…”. As a writer and a musician myself, I hold individuals who can communicate with skill, in an entertaining fashion, in high regard. Kendrick Lamar was feeding perspective, Kendrick Lamar was telling a story, Kendrick Lamar continues to imprison my attention with “Sing About Me”.
Music will always have a special place in my life. This was a fraction of keyhole glance into what music touches me. I picked these 3 songs because they represent different corners of my broad taste, each song played a part in fanning my passion for music and its power communication. The clarinets words aren’t learned by all, in those room we filled into when the school day began, however we know when its stories are sad or cheerful. That the beauty of music. A universal Language.