Sometimes, all I want to do is share experience. I find myself feeling so intensely moved by a piece of music, a film, a book I’ve read, or the look in a loved one’s eye as they allow me the privilege of hearing their thoughts, truths and ideas, that I can barely contain it. I don’t know what to do with the emotion that I feel. Sometimes it’s so intense that I fear the reactions of others if they were to truly see what an emotional storm I truly have raging inside as I navigate the wondrous, exciting and terrifying waters of life; but the desire to share it all remains.
This post, as the title suggests, centres on 5 songs that are truly guaranteed to get me out of a funk; they are close friends I can turn to when I feel like life is getting on top of me, when I feel that I need to escape, or when I can’t fight the feeling that there simply must be more to it all than the banality that I feel that I am living. The pieces aren’t attempts at critiques of the music (there are plenty of very well qualified writers doing that already, and I could never compete); rather, they are one person’s unique experience as they listen, absorb, and respond (often, rather bizarrely, but that keeps life interesting..!).
So.. Here goes… (& thanks for reading!).
1. “See No Evil”
Album: Marquee Moon
From the opening seconds of this track my heart rate begins to rise in anticipation of it’s incredible energy and as Tom Verlaine’s shamelessly bizarre voice scrawls over the mic, wanting to fly fountains and jump on top of mountains, I’m hit by the wonderful realisation that there is some kind of loud peace to be found within and without the madness.. It begins to take over my consciousness until my body is free of all inhibition. Suddenly, I See No Evil!
While I experience the excitement of this wondrous discovery the mind turns towards the intellectual; nothing beats the perfection of the musicianship of Television, I say to myself excitedly as I jump around almost maniacally and the interplay between guitars creates perfectly symbiotic melodies, pounding flat drumbeats vibrate into my heart and all I can possibly do in response is live the wonderful feeling that everything, in this moment, is perfect.
The guitar solo sends me further and further up towards the clouds in the pale blue sky until I look down and have suddenly found the elusive freedom that I seek – for a wonderful 30 seconds I’m elevated, looking down at a glorious world.
By the end of this track I have truly experienced the euphoria of existing in a world where I choose to See No Evil. And I know, to my core, that I should pull down the future with the one I love. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t really mean anything. Nothing really does anyway. I’m free.
2. “Oh! You Pretty Things”
By: David Bowie
Album: Hunky Dory
The sound of a simple piano and the beginning of a story that promises to capture your imagination as a hand reaches down and the nightmares begin. They will never leave, but they do not scare you. They somehow inspire you to imagine and see pictures in your mind that you find yourself unable to embrace when condemned as The Lonely Explorer, shackled by your limited perception. As you lie back and let the words wash over you, you go on a magical journey, both scary and thrilling, to another realm of space.
You are no longer in this world. You are asking yourself the questions of this strange existence and suddenly you are Insignificance itself. In this universe, you are part of something mortal and fragile but you find a happy peace with the notion that soon, you will lose yourself to become part of something grander. Perhaps something that exists only in the dreams of the dead. There is no way of knowing. Your words no longer matter.
For a few moments, you were that sleepy – head. You felt the strangeness of realising, with absolute clarity, that you will make way. Even stranger, you didn’t mind. You managed to lose yourself completely, and find some kind of fleeting peace.
3. “I Saw Her Standing There”
By: The Beatles
Album: Please Please Me
Paul McCartney counts you in and your head is filled with the imagery of every photo, documentary and video you’ve ever seen of The Beatles bobbing their heads in unison in grainy black and white as teenage girls scream like jet planes; already you are infected with the energy of the music and it crashes, like a wave, into the fabric of your being. It wakes you up. You have no choice in this one; you are already dancing along and smiling uncontrollably.
A love story set on a dancefloor of beautiful simplicity and the glory of adolescent ignorance, filled with such youthful hope and passion that, try as you might to resist, you are already in love with the excitement of the tale being weaved through the music and suddenly.. McCartney sings “MIIIIIIIIINE!” and you ask yourself how it is possible that such fantastic musicianship could come from a group so young, all the while swinging your hips and allowing yourself to be part of the fairy tale that now surrounds and envelops you.
You feel as though you are falling in love for the first time; your heart racing as you experience the euphoria of the hope that fills you when you believe, truly, that one dance with that person is all that you could ever want in life, or need.
You are in a state of true joy. You don’t know when it happened, or even how, but you are exhilarated. You want to keep on dancing through the night and live this fairy tale. Everything is possible. You are truly alive.
4. “Sweet Thing”
By: Van Morrison
Album: Astral Weeks
This song starts and my heart begins to race and my emotions stir into a strange kind of action. Suddenly I am in an elevated state and I stop whatever I am doing and want to absorb every second, every sound, every beat and every word and I am swept along with the magical fantasy of this feeling. I want to jump up and allow the music to absorb my entire body, somehow, and I find myself unable to do anything apart from let the sound of this magical piece carry me through the moments of my existence that it enriches with complete abandon and live only in this world. The world where I am alive and present and my mind and body and heart and soul are filled with love and hope and happiness and I don’t need to see into the future or look back into the past because where I am right now, with this music, is absolutely and completely where I want to live.
I really love this song. Even better, it is the third track of an album that creates this euphoric feeling in me from the first seconds of the first song. Just thinking about it makes my heart jump a little inside. A full 46 minutes of bliss. 46 minutes that make me grateful to be alive. 46 minutes that leave me satisfied not to read in between the lines.
5. “Spanish Castle Magic”
By: The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Album: Axis: Bold As Love
Bye Bye World….You’re off on an adventure to somewhere far away. Somewhere so far from the reaches of your tiny mind that you can only reach it via the Dragonfly that lives in the deepest wells of your imagination..
You wonder what awaits you on this voyage…A strangely wondrous sound created by the magic of some kind of spaceman who is able to weave the strangest sounds on a guitar and make you imagine the possibilities that creativity and expanding your mind hold for you. Worldly concerns of the material no longer exist as you hang on and find out where music can take you when you allow yourself to be free and let freedom live inside you.
A magician so completely involved with his mystical creations that you forget yourself and are flying beyond the realms of your imagined possibility with every roll, thrash and pulse. You feel the true power of a lil bit’a daydreamin’ here and there and realise.. You don’t have to do it the same way, or think the same way, or move the same way as anyone else to find the magic. You just have to believe and love in it so completely that it’s all you ever want to experience. You’re limitless.