|Im different, and I dont care who knows it. Randy Newman, Im Different
I often go for weekssometimes, monthswithout listening to music.
I still hear the inescapable jingles, background music on TV, and the stuff thats piped into public buildings. But little music I hear gives me any satisfaction. Most of my life is spent without a musical backing track.
When I was young, we almost always had a radio playing in the kitchen. During a thunderstorm, the speaker would crackle with static at every flash of lightning. Often we could listen to an approaching storm long before we could see it; we could hear it long after the storm passed by. I found something vaguely eerie about the crackle of an unseen thunderstorm, invisible but unquestionably real.
Our radio was usually tuned to WLW, a powerful station about a hundred miles away, in Cincinnati. Sometimes an unseen atmospheric disturbance would play havoc with radio reception, and the fifty-thousand watt clear-channel voice of WLW would contend with the drifting voices of lesser stations, or with a mysterious chorus of electronic crackles, buzzes, hums and whistles. Listening to these echoes from an unseen world, I could get goosebumps.
Goosebumps. Thats what I look for in music.
Humans and music have cohabited this planet for thousands of years now, but I think we havent really made much progress toward solving the great mysteryWhat the heck is that?
Where does this stuff come from? Why does it move us?
Music may have been invented before the spoken word. It seems almost like the language of another species. At its best, music seems to speak to a part of ourselves about which we understand very little. It can carry ideas and emotions when words fail. It carries echoes from a vast unseen world. It can give us goosebumps.
Goosebump music is exceedingly rare. When you find it, treasure it. Grapple it unto thy soul with hoops of steel.
It took me more than three years to realize I had been hypnotized.
Traditional Celtic music seems to be growing in popularity these days. Much of its current popularity can be traced to Stanley Kubricks decision to use the Chieftains authentic irish folk music in his film Barry Lyndon. In the years since, their music has been used in many films and television programs.
I didnt own a single Tull album when I saw the band live during the Aqualung tour. I fixed that the next day. The greatest concert Ive ever seen.
So, what do you think? Pretty laid-back music, something to go with your herbal tea, maybe? Does a nice, tepid live show? Well, on Halloweeen night 1997, Sarah McLachlan put on the second greatest concert Ive ever seen.
MacArthur Park is funny now. Someone left the cake out in the rainsheesh, the sixties were weird! The song is corny, cryptic and overwrought. But I liked it then, and I like it now. I like almost everything Ive heard from prolific songwriter Jimmy Webb.