Someone (I can’t remember who, and I can’t be bothered to look it up), once said ‘A life without music is a life not worth living.’ I disagree. I believe that a life without music doesn’t exist. It’s just a matter of whether you take the time to take a look around and hear it. Music is the greatest thing on earth, and the fact that I am very mildly drunk doesn’t change that in the slightest. And I’m about to prove, without a shadow of a doubt, why that is so.
Music has permeated every level of culture, from film to games, theatre to art, even. Hell, I’m sure if it were possible, author’s would have their books come with a headphone socket so you could listen to the tracks they want to create the atmosphere. I know I would if I could. I even listen to certain types of music depending on the mood of the piece I’m writing, as it helps bring those emotions to the fore and therefore lets me channel them even more.
I’m sure if we went back, into the depths of time, we’d see that music is the first form of art to arise from the depths of the caveman intellect. Of course there’s no way to know this, while we can see the cave drawings that they made. However, it’s far more easy to drum a beat on your knee than it is to depict the hunters taking out a tiger. This is probably rather sensationalist, but as I said, I’m mildly sozzled, and I don’t much care how you take this. I just want to get across the point that you need more music in your lives.
I just walked back from a friend’s house (hence the mild stupor), and I brought my Zune along with me because I anticipated the walk. I threw on some RJD2 (an excellent example of whom can be found here), and set off on my saunter home. It’s probably the better part of a mile and a half back, but I really didn’t care. I had some great music in my ears, it was dark enough for no one to know who I was, and there was a nice briskness to the air. I pretty much did a subdued dance home. I know what you’re thinking, that’s pretty crazy, or sad, or both, but fuck it if I didn’t enjoy the hell out of it. I got some odd looks, but no one knew who I was so who am I to care?
The point I’m trying to make is that music is the lifeblood of all culture. It is what inspires people, and what drives people. I know that pretty much everyone on my rugby team listens to something in particular before a big game, something that will inspire them to do something extraordinary. You don’t get that same feeling from anything else, be it game, film or book, even if they’re brilliant, they can’t move you in the same way. I’ll grant that perhaps film may be able to, but I’d then argue that it’s only because of the music in the film that that’s possible, even in the cases where the music is conspicuous because of it’s absence.
The second big point I’d like to make is that I don’t think anyone has enough music in their lives. I’ve got over 8500 songs in my media player, and I’m constantly on the look out for something new to catch my ear. I know that I’ll probably find something in a few weeks that will become and instant favourite of mine, and that’s not because I tire easily of songs. It’s just that I know there’s no way I can hear all the great music in the world before I die, and so to dwell too long on one particular artist would be almost sacrilege.
Most people chug along listening to what they’re told to, and I guess this is where the manifestoesque part of this article comes in. Stop, just give yourself a second to browse through a program like Last FM and just let the thing take you. Start with something you like and just keep bouncing from ‘sounds like’ stuff until you find something extraordinary. Only I’d urge you to pick the most obscure thing in your collection, because mainstream tends to beget mainstream. To branch out it does require a effort of will. But it’s so, so worth it.
A warning; once you awaken the inner music lover in yourself it’s impossible to get it back in again. You’ll devour great artist after great artist and it won’t stop. You’ll never be sated, and you’ll constantly be on the look out for the next tasty morsel. But when you get that hit it’s worth it. It reminds you why you don’t put up with being told what to listen to. It reminds you why music is music, and it reminds you why you love it so much.
Music is the lifeblood of civilisation. I am very aware of how pretentious and pithy that sounds, but I’m of the firm belief that without music, and more specifically, without the availability of great music, the things that make life worth living will die out and we’ll only be left with an Orwellian husk of a society.