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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The XX factor and the emotional connection to music

I don't know how many times my lovely wife has told me Steve "Gawd this album / song is depressing" and its not just her, good friends of mine won't listen to the stuff I suggest because its going to be depressing LOL.

I never hear a depressing song, I hear songs which bring to life, emotions. I hear a song gifting you a moment to reflect, lifting memories from deeply hidden places. letting them wash over and through you. Enticing them closer to the outer shell we present to the world. Thats musics gift, it presents you a little opening. Then its up to you to see how far you want to expose yourself (ohhh errr, not in a rude naked way. But then once listened to Barry White one night and....... Ummmm different post is needed for that one ahemmm)

Its an interesting concept and its one Ive thought about on and off for years. It's the old chestnut. Does the mind rule the body or does the body rule the mind? Ohhhh I don't know!!!! But I'm going to phrase it differently.

Does the song make you miserable, or could it be your life experience which we attach to it, is music just the lubricant? I know what I think, what are your thoughts? In the words of the enigmatic wordsmiths The Flight Of The Conchords....Think....think about it.

Ive been a long time Smiths listener, and I adore everything about the Smiths, the guitars, the rhythm section, the voice and of course the lyrics. The Smiths encapsulate all that music can and should be. That band helped me through some very hard emotional times, I never felt alone when I had them with me. Its not just me with The Smiths though, many people think of their favourite bands as good friends.

What got this idea for a post kicking around in my head was the new release from The XX - Co-exist. Every track gently worked up something from deep inside me.

The XX the "to cool for school" band....Nothing seems forced, they aren't even phased by the dreaded 2nd Album syndrome. I didn't read or hear any whining about, its so hard!! its was difficult to make something better than XX, they just coolly got on with it. There is something so pure about this band. I think its in making the music sound so effortless. They know what they are good at and there is no variant to the journey, Steve from @SGSN Blog (Great blog go read it) pondered if the music would blend into the abyss, I quickly jumped in with "I didnt think so". My opinion hasn't faltered in the slightest. I think its going to be a regular on my play list for a very long time.

The first track Angels, took me back, did it take me back to me meeting my wife? My first lover? No it bloody took me all the way back to Junior Primary school days 10 yrs old <rolls eyes> Crazy isn't it. I'm imagining this 10 yr old bucked tooth kid, and all the things I wished I had the courage to say and felt. As an adult, I wear my emotions on my sleeve, be them lovey dovey happy as Larry or grumpy as hell, there's no hiding behind a facade of feakness. As a child though....that wasn't the case. As I type this, I can picture him now. I don't think my world would be a different place if I had spoken of how I felt. But I wonder, why does a song in 2012 take me back all those years?

Unexpectedly, I then had a brief conversation on Twitter about sad songs and nobody seems to like happy songs anymore. Do we like the sadder songs because we know there is someone out there who felt or feels exactly how we have felt? There is a schism in this place, there are more humans on the face of planet and yet lots of us feel lonely at some stage. In the words of another great sage(ess) Mrs Agnes Brown, You can be lonely in a room full of people if the person you are missing isn't there...Music puts that person in thoughts reach....almost close enough to touch. A memory can be a stronger way of connecting, more than a momentary tactile touch. With touch, you feel a warm and a sensation. With thoughts you feel those same sensations but the whole environment leaps to your mind. The air, the temperature, a picture of everything around becomes vivid and clarity wrenches at the heart for what you miss and search for once more.

One song speaks to me on this album like no other, Sunset...track 6. Such an emotive track for me. Recently preformed on Jules Holland show also, go check it out. Its a break up song, but it goes beyond the initial hurt. For anyone who hasn't been lucky enough to lose the person they love unconditionally, this song could be even related to by the ending of a heart held friendship. If you notice I said "lucky to lose" I have always learnt more about myself from the loss in my life. Possibly the reason I still have some of the most treasured friendships/relationships is because of the ones I lost previously. You always learn more from your losses, but can a lost love be categorised as a failure? I think not. The words in this song, pull at my heart. I listen to this and emotion swells to the surface, generally a tear wells in my eye. Does this mean I'm sad or "depressed" NO, it means I'm a big sookie la la, a human, that has been touched by a connection found in music.

What The XX do perfectly.....They "play" the spaces, the silence between notes, giving you a moment to connect, time to think and bring yourself into the experience of listening. That's an invitation I never want to pass up.....

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