Thoughts #6 — On how music is so entwined in the human experience.
Friday 24th November
I’ve been listening to King Krule (Archy Marshall) on repeat since circa 3am, redigesting his latest album The Ooz, and noticing there was so much more for me to appreciate in this project than I initially noticed in my piece-meal listens over the last month. This isn’t a review of sorts, but over these last few hours I’ve become really absorbed in taking in this album from head to toe, seeking out his interviews where he explains the process and thinking behind certain tracks, its dope the way music has so much depth to it.
Album artwork, samples, musical accompaniments (I just learnt this phrase from Archy, meaning an added vocal or instrument which supports or provides background for a song), track listings, track titles, track length, lyrics, vocals, storytelling, cadences, adlibs, runs, instrumentals, MESSAGE. There is so much depth to this art form, more so than I could every truly absorb. So much of my life revolves around listening to, and appreciating music from all genres, but I wish I was more deeply in tune with it.
I’ve been learning the guitar (only recently taking it seriously – although I wonder how long I can hide behind my green ears for), and my biggest issue with it is that I cannot yet express myself as deeply on the strings as I can through things writing and poetry. When I was going through a particularly bad break-up I didn’t know enough sad-boi chords to appease sad-boi Stein, it was so frustrating. All I can do was play the basic chords I knew or try and string together random notes in the hope they plucked at my heart strings too.
Some did, some didn’t, but all in all I couldn’t play at the level I was looking for.
Instead what I did was turn to artists already capable of expressing their emotions in wonderful ways, as King Krule is currently doing for me now. King Krule – 6 feet Beneath the Moon (homelessness), Homeshake – In the Shower (isolation after finally finding a home), Mac Miller – Faces (lacking direction post-graduation), Nujabes – Departure (my first solo holiday), Kendrick Lamar – Section. 80 (revising for my exams in uni), Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory (curled up under the duvet in foetal position, with my first MP3 player in year 9). Albums like these take me back to specific moments in time when I was going through visceral emotions and they resonated with me. Spoke for me and my soul in beautiful ways. They got me.
Have you ever listened to a song or album that’s made you want to cry?
I love how music underlines our collective experiences. How we can relate to each other through it.
2 days ago I saw King Krule perform live for the first time and was blown away by two realisations:
- Fuck. This guy is really one of my favourite artists of all time.
- Music is a medium of art we connect with on a spiritual level, more so than any other.
Please don’t misinterpret me on the second point, I’m not saying music is the art form we individually (or you specifically) connect to more than others, I’m talking generally, as a species. It’s easier for a random crowd of people to connect with a song more so than movie, a picture or a written piece. Music is a universal language. And the way it is so casually entwined within culture, we don’t really notice. It’s a fundamental component of the human experience. Festivals, television ringtones, cinema, theatre, dance, advertisements, sports, tribal practises, national anthems. All feature music as an integral element.
Music as a medium of expression is so potent. So powerful. Political and personal.
I watched King Krule rock a packed venue on Wednesday. Saw a crowd connect to one person’s expression of pain and love and life in ways most of us in that crowd could not. As if his emotion on these tracks were our own.
“OOOOOOOOOO I’m so lonely, so lonely blues” (Lonely Blues) – I felt that shit.
I can’t remember exactly why I originally set out to write this piece but I wanted to discuss something about the healing nature of music and how it connects us all.
I hope one day I could be a great musician in my own right.
Not necessarily to make a name for myself off it, but simply to have another medium to express myself though. To be a voice for people that need it.
Music. An integral part of the human experience.
To read about my previous thoughts on the intricacies of family dynamics, click here→pow.