Although I have written many posts here at Conspiracy of Light most remain unpublished. They consist of ideas that I am still working on, venting moments, or half baked ideas. However, the idea that sticks out to me this week is to write about my relationship with music.

Although music therapy exists as a therapeutic modality, most of the books and articles I read only speak of the value of the tune and the emotional tenor of the music itself. Very few recognize or even acknowledge the impact of the word, the lyric. It was for this reason that I introduced a section of the Soundscape Progcast called “Lyrical Spelunking”. The idea was to get at the emotional and philosophical content that was buried in the words of the music. However, that was not complete enough. It did not recognize the way that the tune itself also pierced into our world. So then I introduced musical spelunking. Well, Soundscape is an ever changing animal, built to evolve with time and the motivations of yours truly. It has more recently become a platform for exploring theme and delving into the hidden layers of prog rock. This week we will explore the strange overlap between punk and prog. That is enough for several episodes and I am trying to condense it into one, so needless to say there is less and less room to delve into lyrical content or the meaning of the music.

My relationship to music has always been such that it fuels my weekly life. It motivates me, reflects my mood and thoughts, it serves as a friend in times of distress and a catalyst for all the rebellious energy that hides beneath my otherwise calm appearance. (You know I appear calm so just accept it). As a result I often feel the need to shout from the rooftops the joy and the depth I find in the music I listen to. Actually one of the purposes that Soundscape serves is for me to share my musical adventures with others who are interested. Sometimes though Soundscape is not enough. I need to wax philosophical on my experience. I also still want to be able to connect music to psychological content as I think a connection between clinical needs and music could be made for those who need it.

The piece that lit my fuse this week is from the new Ben Folds Five CD. It is a song called “Do it Anyway” This song has been my motivator this week. Anything I have been fearful about or procrastinating about I have just chanted the mantra “Do It Anyway”. While this song may not be motivational to everyone who reads this, I think you can see how it does motivate. Artists provide a ritual chant, an emotional texture, etc. They pronounce the cultural memes which we will all follow.

You might put your love and trust on the line
It’s risky, people love to tear that down
Let ’em try
Do it anyway
Risk it anyway

And if you’re paralyzed by a voice in your head
It’s the standing still that should be scaring you instead
Go on and
Do it anyway
Do it anyway

There will be times you might leap before you look
There’ll be times you’ll like the cover and that’s precisely why you’ll love the book
Do it anyway
Do it anyway

Tell me what I said I’d never do
Tell me what I said I’d never say
Read me off a list of the things I used to not like but now I think are ok

Sometimes it’s not subjective: wrong and right
Deep down you know it’s downright wrong but you’re invincible tonight
So you
Do it anyway
It’s done
You did it

Despite your grand attempts the chips are set to fall
And all the stories you might weave cannot negotiate them all
Do it anyway
Be honest, anyway
So tell me what I said I’d never do
Tell me what I said I’d never say
Read me off a list of the things I used to not like but now I think are OK
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Woah woah woah woah

It’s gonna be so very hard to say
And watch the trust and joy all drain from her innocent face
But you must
Do it anyway
It sucks but
Do it anyway

Call it surrender but you know that that’s a joke
And the punchline is you were never actually in control
But still, surrender anyway

Tell me what you said you’d never do
Tell me what you said you’d never say
Read me off that list of things ’cause I used to not like you
But now I think you’re OK
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Woah woah woah woah

Everybody knows that you just gotta do it anyway

Do it anyway
Do it anyway
Do it anyway
Do it anyway
Do it anyway
Do it anyway
Do it anyway
Do it anyway

Cause you don’t do nothing to avoid self punishment
You won’t do nothing
You won’t feel nothing
Gotta
Do it, do it, do it anyway
Ah
Do it anyway- Ben Folds Five

Ben and his band have sounded a rallying cry several times in my life. But when I think about this, there are so many other bands that feed my fire. When I was much younger (so much younger than today), I found music to be helpful for the issues of the day. I remember listening to Marillion after they put out Fugazi. That album did not connect with me personally so much. I was too young to have been through a marriage, let alone watch one fall apart. But I knew that the efforts put into the lyrics by Fish were coming from real experience. They echoed the sentiments of someone who was dealing with loss.

It was not until much later (after Fish left the band) that Fish put out his first solo album; Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors and his words finally connected to my personal life. It was in fact the title song that made that impact. One of the key lines was “For now just our t-shirts cry freedom” that has since been one of my mantra’s. Now for you this lyric may not hold meaning which is precisely the reason that theming music to a psychological diagnosis is so difficult, but for me it connected to a constellation of rebellion. For me that line means, we are not acting on the things that need to be acted on. Instead we wear t-shirts that speak our truths. A cry in a wilderness of mirrors where everything reflects only me and no one else can be allowed presence. The song calls me to a life of action, or at least attempted actions. I do not want to live in a world where the only means of rebellion is to print our favorite band, saying, or mashup on a t-shirt. Instead I want to live a life of being the change I wish to see. I do not want to be just a voice in the crowd, and Fish in all of his marvelous wisdom was using this song to call for uprising, for change, and for collaboration.

Another song that I have found to be quite uplifting comes from The Alan Parsons Project The song is “Turn It Up” and the key motivating lyric for me “If there is something you’ve got to believe in, then the message must get through, so don’t just sit in silence, when you know what to do, Turn it up, Make it louder”. Again a call to action, rise up, don’t get caught in the folds of life, turn up the volume of those things that you find meaning in, and make them louder. Share your voice with the world. Live deliberately.

Each of these songs for me presents a call to action. Maybe I just get off on the call. I find it amazing that I can be lost on my journey and a piece of music can bring awareness to all the ways in which I could yet again move forward, kick start my motor and send me ever onward. This then is a deep interest of mine; How do lyrics propel you forward? Are there moments in your life that you feel lost, and a song either bursts from the depths of your memory and awakens you, or a song you are exposed to sends you throttling forward? A collection of such songs would be very different for each person. Obviously there is a huge catalog of sounds in the world and each calls to us in different ways. My musical taste may not be echoed in anyone else, yet I feel motivated to identify where these experiences cross paths.

For the conspiracy of light to make itself alive, it seeks subversive methods. Our music must reflect the reality we would like to see so that we can propel things forward, and our music must express the mood of the day, the zeitgeist under which we play so that we can express our feelings be they pain or celebration. I ask all of you readers whomever you are, what part does the music you listen to serve and what are the examples of how it serves you best?

 

 

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