Music Is Life.

Music Is Life.

That's why we need to listen.

Welcome, Friend!

I explore an unconventional mix of rock music, guitars, personal development/self improvement, and mental health.  I invite you to come with me on my journeys, so I can share what I learn.

Ari Portrait by Amy Colleen

Topics

Music Commentary
As a music fanatic, it means a great deal when a song speaks to me.  Good songs are like air and food to me, I need a steady supply of them to fuel my life....
Life Insights
I'm constantly on the lookout for deeper meaning and understanding of life, with a particular focus on psychology and mental health.  I'm forever a student of life, and they say the best way to learn...
For Musicians
Music is a challenging pursuit, so I enjoy sharing lessons learned with my fellow musicians.  Particularly, I have something to say about songwriting and guitars, but I sometimes touch on arranging, singing, recording production and music...

Song Reflections: Jerry Cantrell “Psychotic Break”

This is a heavy song, in just about all aspects.  It’s not a song I can listen to casually, because it’s so intense.  But sometimes we do feel that intense, the weight of our situation, our interpretation, our gifts.

I feel the fear take on
Reside in darkness, thrive where most won’t go
Adrift, I curse my gift
And hope you never know

Taking it gracefully is my modus operandi in stressful situations.  Stay calm, don’t act from emotions.  But that means sucking in the strong emotions that exist, not letting them show.  So I really relate to this song, when I feel like I’m given something, and I’m trying to hold it in, hide it from the view, because I don’t want you to know what I have.  It’s a secret I really don’t want anybody to know.  That’s how I maintain peace, at least outwardly.  Be the calm in a storm.

Of course, you can’t go on forever like that, you need an outlet.  That’s where these heavy songs come in for the rescue.  Difficult situations are like gifts you didn’t want (even though a lot of times they end up being what we needed, in a character-building sort of way).  One more secret to add to my pile, the ones I need to make sure you don’t know.

So I listen to Jerry curse his gift and struggle to hide it, and I find comfort in knowing that I’m not alone, that a song was given to me to let me know that I don’t have to keep on carrying these secrets.  These songs provide me places to go, to unload the burden.

Song Reflections: Dishwalla “Counting Blue Cars”

I have a soft spot for songs about God and meaning of life.  This song paints a picture of that moment in life where you stop and go “why am I here? What am I doing?”  And while our religious traditions try to give us answers, a simple twist such as calling a traditionally masculine God “her” gives the song a fresh feel.  A pure, unadulterated child-like point of view, who still hasn’t learned that we’re not really supposed to put God and “she” in the same sentence, allows us to ask honest and pure questions like “what’s out there?  What’s the point of life?”

We all would like to feel secure in our knowledge that our existence is justified.  Ideally that comes from being a child raised in abundant, unconditional love of parents, but —  for most of us, we have issues that prevent us from being comfortable with that notion.  We know what we’d like to believe, but we have doubts, reasons to believe why it may not be true.  So we keep looking out, keep looking for something beyond ourselves, something bigger and greater, to come down and validate that yes, it’s good that we exist.  It’s good that you exist, here and now.

But since we’re uncertain, we keep looking, we keep asking — and this song is about those moments of uncertainty.  It’s a feeling quite familiar to me, so when I come across a song who seems to share that sentiment, I feel very grateful.  It’s such a gift.

Song Reflections: In Flames “In Plain View”

This song is the epitome of what I call “hard music for hard times” — heavy songs conveying really heavy, hard feelings.

One of the biggest fears we have in life is disappointments.  When you think about it, so many of our fears boil down to trying to prevent letdowns.

This song is about letdowns, when you thought the path was clear — yet you cannot proceed because fear is holding you back.

Deep inside
The memories that are left behind
Close my eyes
I’ve been hopelessly lost in the fear

Fears are learned, they come from memories, those of painful experiences.  And they get stuck.  They get stuck in our body, and a lot of times we are not even aware that it’s there.  The path looks clear — in plain view, there’s nothing in the way.  But you may find that you still can’t move forward.

It’s because the fear is still in you.  Holding you back.  You need to get it out, be free.  I realize I’m talking about something huge and heavy, something not to be treated casually.

But the basic notion is the same.  Fear lives inside.  You need to get it out.  How, there are ways, some will work better for you than others.  But fear is something we all should aim to purge.