Music can change the world because it can change people. ~ Bono
Do you ever feel like sometimes you just want a little, tiny, minuscule vacation? Like the old bubble bath commercial catchphrase, Calgon, take me away.
Music does that for me.
And sometimes, one song can change everything and speak to me in a way that touches my soul.
What gives a song that power?
Sometimes it’s a memory of the song or some nostalgia built around it, like Aretha Franklin’s “Think.” First of all, Aretha, Queen of Soul, that big, soulful voice. But when I hear that keyboard intro to “Think” my mind immediately shifts to Aretha’s killer scene in a neighborhood diner in “The Blues Brothers” as she sang in a pink waitress outfit and house shoes, made all the more memorable by the girls who jumped off their dining stools to sing back up.
As the song continues and she sings, “Freedom!” I’m dancing. I managed to channel my best Aretha singing “Think” at Karaoke last year. I butchered the song, but did my best Aretha pantomime. So fun.
Deep thoughts put to music
Sometimes it’s the heart of a song that speaks to my heart, like “Closer to Fine” by Indigo Girls. It’s a catchy tune with great vocals and acoustic guitar, but for me, the song is about our search for truth and clarity and for some assurance that we’re on the right track in life, but there’s not one “right” answer.
It’s in the journey that we discover our truth for ourselves. “The less I seek my source for some divinity, the closer I am to fine.”
One of my very favorite songs of all time is “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie, first released in 1979.
I know. It’s an old song, but it’s amazing and also, as I was reminded the other day, completely relatable.
I was cooking dinner, listening to music, when the familiar baseline came on:
Doon, doon, doon, d’duhdoondoon.
Doon, doon, doon, d’duhdoondoon.
There’s a lot going on in the song, music swells, random lyrics:
Umboon, bah, bah, beh
People on streets.
And always goes back to the bass line: Doon, doon, doon, d’duhdoondoon.
Then around the middle of the song there’s a swell and overlapping of lines and sounds.
And then goes to snapping fingers to the beat. Snap, snap, snap.
Then the lyrics, “Turned away from it all like a blind man. Sat on a fence but it don’t work. Keep coming up with love but it’s so slashed and torn.”
Then another swelling of sound, drums, Freddy Mercury’s falsetto, guitars.
And then one word rises from the chaos,
Love, love, love, love, love,
repeated in a rush, as if in a flash of revelation, like, Yes! That’s it!
And then the lyrics that always gets me:
Insanity laughs and the pressure we’re breaking.
Why can’t we give ourselves one more chance? Why can’t we give love one more chance? Why can’t we give love, give love, give love?
It’s like a great release and simple answer to life’s pressure and the feeling that the world is closing in on us and there’s chaos and wondering how we can protect ourselves and our family and still be okay.
And David Bowie sings in the rush of words
‘Cause love’s such an old fashioned word and love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night and love dares you to change our way of (join voices and crescendo) caring about ourselves this is our last dance this is our last dance. (Slowly and more quietly) This is ourselves ….under pressure.
Baseline. Snapping fingers.
I think I love this song more every time I hear it.
When the music wells to the big ending it’s as if all the scattered thoughts and concerns — people in streets and good friends screaming let me out—and you feel the desperation and searching. All that stuff pushes down on you until the rush and realization:
Love, love, love, love, love.
This is our last chance, this is ourselves …under pressure.
Whoa! Yes! This!
Mindshift through music
“Under Pressure” is pretty much the perfect song right now, a great reminder of our connectedness and the call for getting back to the basics of love, for each other, for ourselves.
Or maybe it was the perfect song for me to hear at that moment when I wanted to shift my mind from negativity and bad news.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or discouraged or have just had enough of all the “latest news,” put on some music to transport your mindset to a lighter level.
It might provide the perfect short but great escape and may even have a ripple effect of goodness you’re need right now.
For more ideas about how to lift your mood, read Tips to Shake Off the Blues here on the blog.