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Well, parts of it are awesome.

Muse is always a mixed bag for me.  I mean I love everything they do in a really sappy way.  But some songs of theirs just don’t stick in my head—I honestly forget they exist.

But there is a very specific subset of Muse’s songs (and it’s a constantly changing pool) that speak straight to me.  Which songs they are change from day to day, but there is never not at least one Muse song that resonates with me on any given day.  And thinking about this gave me an idea.

I use music in a way that…well, I don’t know if it’s unusual or not because I don’t really know how people normally use music.  But to me music is more than just something pretty to listen to.

I mean, it is that.  Obviously.  I listen to music offhandedly, casually, absently, and when I’m doing homework.  I listen to music when I’m cleaning, or when I’m writing, or when I’m relaxing.  Whatever I’m doing, ideally, there is music involved, except for two very specific fields which I won’t go into here.

But I listen to music for its own sake.  Music is my mantle, my shield, my healing salve.  I surround myself with music and draw strength from it.   On a stressful day, I hammer on a piano until my fingers burn, crank up my stereo and sing until I start coughing.  I recharge with music like a battery charges off electricity—if I can play a piano before a trying event, I go into it at 210% emotional capacity.

I put great personal significance into my music.  Now, of course, sometimes a song is just a song, and I’m aware that to the rest of the world the songs that resound into the deepest depths of my soul are just songs unless I point out otherwise.  So when a song means a lot to me and I want someone else to know that it does, I say so.

But what do I mean by ‘great personal significance?’


I’ve been known to say things with music that I can’t otherwise.  Instead of an entire email full of MASSIVE FEELINGS I’ll just send a Youtube video and call it a day.

I always have a theme, a song that follows me through the day, something I sing under my breath walking to class, sitting alone, between songs.  When I’m frustrated, I shout along with Ok Go’s ‘Get Over It’ or wail to Muse’s ‘Hyper Music.’  When I’m angry, as in furious, and deliberate malice is boiling over in an undesirable fashion, I sing (don’t laugh) an Appalachian folk dirge titled ‘O Death.’  Supernatural fans might recognize it.

When I’m happy, out comes Imagine Dragons with ‘I’m On Top Of The World,’ or Frank Sinatra with ‘I’ve Got The World On A String,’ or (dependent on context) Katy Perry’s ‘Hummingbird Heartbeat’ or ‘Firework.’

And then there’s the songs that I really love.  Songs that put into words something that I always feel and can never express, songs that let me telegraph myself to the world, songs that I always sing, hum, or finger-tap along with.

Songs such as the one I’ve just discovered on Muse’s new album 2nd Law: Specifically, ‘Follow Me.’

That song.

Now, obviously, it’s just a song to y’all.  And it’s in the context of ‘just a song’ that I’ve posted it on various websites to various friends—because when I want to post a song meaningfully I usually do it in a one-on-one context.  And it’s pretty damn unambiguous if I do say so myself.

But it’s more than a song to me.  And feel free to laugh at how intense I get, because I’m laughing at it now and I’m writing it, but that song.  THAT SONG.

When I sing ‘Follow Me,’ what comes out is just my voice, but what goes into it is how much I care for my friends and family.  What comes out is just a slightly hoarse twenty-something’s untrained singing, but what goes in is every moment of frustrated compassion when someone’s having a bad day and I can’t do anything.  And when I hurl all of that into the song, it comes back as I listen, and the result is a song that gets me very emotional.  As in I shivered the first few times I listened to it.

For me, when a song is ‘my jam,’ it’s not just music that I like to listen to.  It’s armor.  It’s medicine.  It’s an implement in my arsenal, something I carry around and break out when it’s needed.  I will sing, hum, or tap out the appropriate song before going into a test, before going into a deep conversation, or as I prance about having a wonderful day (and as people who know me can attest, I do literally prance when I am having a wonderful day, which is most of the time).

The only thing music is not (for me), not yet at any rate, is a weapon.  And I’m sort of fine with that, but only sort of, and I’ll explain why I feel this way.  On the one hand, I am not a violent person.  I am [HAH] soft-spoken and polite, I feel bad when I make people feel bad, I try to be nice and polite to everyone.  My first reaction to bad events is to offer support to everyone around me.  I like that music has no offensive aspect, that when I play piano it most often has a nurturing, uplifting effect (if I can be so pretentious as to assume that my shitty piano playing is uplifting).

However, if you hurt my friends I WILL END YOU.  That is my one berserk button and it is not pressed often, which is to say it’s been pressed approximately four times in my life.  And it does frustrate me at these moments that music, my shield and my go-to method of offering people support, cannot also be a sword.  And it’s from that frustration, in part, that I get my driving interest in rhetoric, in the skill of speechcraft, in the psychology of how to use a word to draw blood.

That got intense.  Ahem.

So for me music is more than notes on a page, more than sounds in my ears.  For me, the crazy chords of Muse, the profoundly cheerful Katy Perry and the thunder of the Moonlight and Tempest sonatas echo the zany up-and-down of my emotions, the moments when I’m ridiculously happy—when I want to radiate cheer to the world and remind everyone what a special snowflake they are.  The times when I’m loopy and flamboyant and go to class wearing a cape just because.  And the times when I’m gripped by an emotion that shakes the edges of my vision, positive or negative, when I want to flip a table for joy or for anger.

Which leads me to wonder.

What is music for you?

How do you listen to music?

Do you use music for a purpose? If so, what?

What is it that resonates with you? Is it music? Poetry? Pottery? Painting? Writing? Dance? Martial arts?

How do you deal with life?

And finally—

Are you aware of how awesome you all are?

Toodles, internet!


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