I want to start a new blog series. As I’ve been writing my next CD for the past few months, I keep being drawn to great songs and great albums as inspiration.
I remember a conversation I had with a guy a few years ago.
Somehow we were talking about music, and somehow I mentioned that August and Everything After by Counting Crows was one of the Albums That Changed My Life. He asked me what I meant by that, so I said, “you know, a CD that you listen to over and over and it impacts you on an emotional level and at some point you realize that you will never look at the world the same way after that.” An Artwork that changes you. It could be a play, a film, a painting, a CD—any Artwork of any genre. But it changes you. You are not the same.
I never was able to make the guy understand what I meant, so it made me wonder if there is yet another way to delineate people: those who have been changed by Art, and those who haven’t. I’m still thinking about that one.
Art that impacts us is often indescribable. It escapes words and description because it touches our souls and our emotions in a deeper place than language can reach. It really does shake us to the core and challenge our ways of thinking. Art uses symbolic means of communication to impart meaning on an incredibly deep level. The artist becomes someone who tells us something about ourselves and the world that we almost knew but couldn’t quite remember.
Several different forms of art have done this very thing for me. Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon strikes me in this way, as does Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais. Though I haven’t seen it in years, Dances With Wolves did this to me the first eight or so times I saw it. So did Hotel Rwanda. And the book version of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Most definitely Thomas Hardy’s poem The Darkling Thrush. Even the musical Les Misérables can impact me like this.
Even so, for me music is probably the most powerful. The electric guitar at the beginning of the Aimee Mann song Make a Killing is so full of emotion that it just instantly sounds right to me. Glósóli by Sigur Rós is so beautiful that sometimes when I listen to it, I feel like I could die. I feel the same way about several Radiohead songs and about Loreena McKennitt’s The Lady of Shallot.
So, what I thought might be cool is to start a series of blogs on some of the songs that have really impacted the way I think, write, and feel. I cannot see the world the same way after experiencing these songs.
So to launch this series on Songs That Changed My Life (STCML), I thought it would be appropriate to start with a song from August and Everything After.