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: 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.

Song Reflections: Vertical Horizon “Everything You Want”

This seems like a poppy, romantic song on surface, but underneath, it’s about something more sinister.  A desire to manipulate the world, to have it give you something exactly the way you want.  And while we all have such desire from time to time, there is tension and stress involved in being attached to particulars about your desire.

The thing is, even if it were to really materialize — you get exactly what you asked for — there still is no guarantee that its results work for you.  And the let down you would feel, after all the efforts to realize your precise requirements — it can be intense and profound.

There are two factors are play here.  The results you want, and reality that may produce them.  You push all the buttons and make all the right moves to make that reality, but does it really produce the results?  How do you know?  How can anyone?

I know I get attached to fantasies like that.  It’s a form of arrogance, to think that I know exactly what I want and what will give me that.  I need to realize that it’s a folly, a desperation, even, to develop and get attached to certain details and specifics.  A far better, if more vulnerable, approach is to keep my eyes on the results, but be open to what may give me those results, and have an honest look at my reality with flexibility and trust.

So this is a song that helps me realize that.  It’s not exactly a happy song, but it makes me feel melancholic and bittersweet.  It reminds me of what I need to let go.

Song Reflections: Queen “The Show Must Go On”

This song is about as cathartic as it gets.

This is the last song on the last album Queen released before Freddie Mercury died.  And they knew what was going on when they were working on the album.  Bryan May and Freddie talked about it, and Bryan put this song together for Freddie.

To hear his voice soar and nail those notes as brilliantly as he did, when he was so weak that he could sing only for a short while each day. To hear him sing these lines, while literally coming face to face with the end of his life.

Inside my heart is breaking
My make-up may be flaking
But my smile still stays on

It’s so heroic, I can’t help but tear up when I think about it.  What an amazing, inspiring song.

Song Reflections: Princess Mononoke Theme Song (English Version)

Complaining can be immature and ugly, which I don’t disagree.  But we Japanese always consider it a virtue, to never complain and hold our sufferings inside.  And that suffering will remain with you, it festers and grows, until it turns something very attached, and uglier.

This song is about that loneliness of being the person carrying a dark secret.  The person who smiles on the outside when inside s/he is crying.

Locked away in the forest of the night
Your secret heart belongs to the world
Of the things that sigh in the dark
Of the things that cry in the dark

Song Reflections: Alice in Chains “Hollow”

You know nobody’s looking, nobody will know.

Can you fight off the temptations and take the high road?

For example, bullies are not happy people.  They are taking it out on somebody who seems weaker.  Somebody who doesn’t, won’t fight back.

But when you sit in a quiet place — how do you feel about it?  Don’t you feel… hollow?

We have all done something we’re not proud of.  Stuff that you’d rather keep hidden.

But they will sit there, creating hollowness, until you dig them out.