Saturday, June 4, 2011

Music and emotion

A song heard at the right moment can change your day, your night, your week. Isn't it something that one's whole mood can be lifted or dropped by a combination of melody, voice and lyric? It's true for me anyway. But it's not so simple. There are other variables operating, because that very same song can, under different circumstances, be just background noise. A song might bring out a variety of feelings depending on the context and mood one enters into the listening with, as well as the context and mood of the memories triggered back to when that song was first heard. Here is a song that never fails to brings out a complexity of emotions in me. Nostalgia, longing, sadness, hope, grief, excitement, despair, joy... how is that possible? If I want to know how I'm doing these days, I think I can play this song and the emotions elicited will inform me. Good grief...who needs the MMPI or Rorschach when there has been music like this out there? I know there is good music here and there coming out these days, but it takes so much time wading through all the crap to get to it... and with all the good ol'stuff reincarnated and uploaded on YouTube... it's nice now and then to drift back to those days. Some music ages like fine wine... some turns rancid. How could Leonard Cohen write so haunting a song? It's too much... It's almost unbearable! And his zombie-like delivery just makes it all the more intense. (Caution...if you are too young to be acquainted with this song... there were times in years past when I was on the edge emotionally that this song was just too dangerous to listen to... hmmmm... perhaps that's a reflection of my past angst and not the song...nevermind...)

1 comment:

  1. This was the first version I heard at 15.... and so far the only one that resonates with me - - I confess what may seem a horrid "weakness": I can't listen to singers who can't sing. I can't get past it. Includes Dylan. However the aching beauty of this song tugs at a revisitation.... I miss the friend with whom I listened to this album and saw Judy Collins live at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. I miss him something fierce. We were both fifteen.