I am a music lover. I love it so much that I don’t understand people who don’t love it. I love it so much that I am afraid.
I am afraid that it will stop making me feel like I might get lucky, like I am a teenager, like I am about to die, like I am a million miles away, like I am nestled in the heart of everyone I love whom I’ve never met, like they are up at night with me, alone. Beauty is the feeling, I guess. This nostalgic, hopeful, transcendent feeling. Even angry music becomes sublime, if it is music I love.
So, mainly, the thing about music is the feeling of listening to music.
There are other things about music that either grow from that crazy feeling or contribute to it.
That music is made by our minds, bodies, and machines – human minds and bodies and machines – makes me think that humans are good. Not much else makes me think this. Human life seems mostly a desperate struggle to justify its violence, until the song starts to play.
Music can almost be explained. Or more accurately, it can be explained forever, but never explained away. We can analyze it’s math, explore our personal associations with it, describe its cultural influences, make up metaphors about it, but it still holds it core of mystery.
Music teaches us about time. Although time is a mystery in itself, our understanding of it is based on movement, the beat. The tick of a clock seems to suggest that time proceeds relentlessly, reliably forward, but our experience suggests something different. Now, the part of time we all live in, stretches and shrinks. And with music, we can play with now, play with this moment’s relationship to the next. We can hear time in a song – and be okay with it slipping away.
Music was what made me call my friends friends – it defined my identity and still does. The pain and awe and love and sadness that we all feel alone is shared in music.
Music makes it all worthwhile – listen to some music and know that it is not going to be alright but that’s all right, because these sounds were here and you heard them and they were beautiful.