Considering the Value of Your Dream in R.E.M. “Losing My Religion”

Famously, R.E.M. never explained their lyrics — so of course, what I’m about to say is not their message, but my agenda, my propaganda, my secret scheme to use whatever music as an empowerment tool for people making changes in their lives for the better. This song comes across to …

Learning a Sobering Lesson Vicariously Listening to Sting “I Hung My Head”

I sometimes wonder the value of telling tragic stories, and I do believe there are a number of good reasons.  Sting’s “I Hung My Head” is a sobering one but it helps me connect that sense of “what have I done” — an acute sense of regret — and feel …

Song Reflections: Genesis “No Son of Mine”

Family is everything.  At least, it starts out that way for all of us.  So when the world = family takes down our being, then we can’t help but go down.  I’m probably not exaggerating when I say that in the history of humanity, more bad parenting happened than good.  We are all carrying ungrown children inside, and then taking it out again on other children.

The history being what it is, if your family ever let you down profoundly, one of the safest places to turn to is music.  In music, you can relive those painful moments.  You can shed tears, howl in rage, unleash all the accusations you can come up with.  It’s not fun, but that’s what we must do, before we can begin to heal, forgive, and let go.

There is no salvation in this song.  Just a harsh tragedy.  It is that way for some of us.

All the more reason to be gentle with each other.

Song Reflections: Tool “Vicarious”

This song is quite possibly the meanest song I like.  I’m hesitant to admit that I relate to this song, but I do.  I have that selfish voice in my head, the one that watches someone in suffering and says “better you than me.”  And I really don’t agree, don’t want to agree with that bit about the world being a hostile, impersonal place — but I’d be lying if I didn’t wonder about that, too.

So it’s about accepting an inconvenient, against-my-value truth. But at the same time, there is a sense of relief in doing so.  I don’t have to lie, pretend or manipulate things to be what they are not.  And the question I come back to is, even if I have these against-our-values sentiments in me, am I still allowed to exist?  To be loved and accepted?

This song is lyrically very hard, but yet music is so majestic, propelling and heroic — that the ugly truths I have to accept in the lyrics, I find some sort of affirmation through the music.  As if coming to face-to-face with these truths has an element of courage.  I do fall way short of perfection or some sort of moral high ground, but I do make genuine efforts to become a better version of myself.  That’s an effort where I both try to improve my thoughts and actions and come to peace with accepting what I am — settling somewhere middle in-between.  And this song provides me with a sense of resolve to keep making that effort — to face hard truths, and to keep on living with it.

Song Reflections: The Jelly Jam “Stay Together”

All relationships come to either one of two possible ends: either stay together (till one dies?) or come apart.  And this song is the dread and desperation one feels about the latter end, and not wanting to accept that.  It’s a familiar feeling to me, that sense of wanting to hang on but your hands are slipping, you can’t hold on.

Relationships are fragile.  I have a number of long-lasting ones and I’d like to think that I take good care of people close to me — but I also am keenly aware that any of them could be completely destroyed at any time.  It only takes a single devastating act to obliterate whatever trust you built.  Not that I live in a constant fear that I could screw things up so badly any moment, I don’t — but I strive to remain diligent.  For example, that cliché about telling people that you love them — well, I do.  I hug and tell them that I love them, if something were to happen to one of us, I am hopeful that my loved ones know that I do love them.

I am grateful that for the most part, I don’t have to experience this feeling in my real life.  But I’ve felt it, and I carry with it, and it’s good to be able to feel it in the safe confines of a song.  It’s like being able to express my private feelings to a trusted friend.  I am grateful.