17 Feb Music Is the Tide On Which My Spirit Rides
MUSIC is the flowing tide on which my spirit rides. A tone, a beat, an emotion, illustrated not through what we can see, but through what we hear, which turns into what we feel.
What makes music so memorable is the way it melds into the experience one’s in. When observing the final rays of light, music floods me with emotion, partially because what I’m experiencing is so profound. It’s not logical, not the fading sun or the music.
It connects to a deeper self, which thrives below our rational outer being.
When I’m driving in the car, the music that I listen to literally carries me from place to place; I move through the world carried by the beat of the drum, the storm of the guitarist’s chords which fall like gentle drops of rain or lightning at the crux of a downpour.
The lyrics, often the simplest lyrics, evoke something in me that, like poetry, illuminates the innate desire to understand the nature of our existence.
Music isn’t rational, and I don’t understand it. Familiar and foreign all at once, alive, changing, adapting, breathing, just as much as you and me.
How can we explain what’s really happening at a concert? Human beings come together to take part in a change in vibration, an altering of frequency — we pay hundreds of dollars to listen to sounds, sounds that stay with us for a lifetime.
A finger presses upon an ivory key, and the world changes. The world of the listener, of the player, of the human being seeking release, an escape, solace from this game we call living.
Music gives meaning to the meaningless — at least what we consider meaningless — this journey of life and the pain that comes with it.
Because it’s not only uplifting music that we listen to and love. Melancholy music can be the most beautiful. It illuminates the darkness, turns it into something not to be suppressed, but accepted, cherished, seen.
My love for music has shaped me. I look back through the seasons of my life and there’s always a song, an album, an experience which symbolizes that season better than anything else.
A song creates a memory, intertwined with this incomprehensible reality that we live in, our past, and our present, and what to make sense of it all.
These following bands and artists are the first ones that came to me when I considered the music that has influenced me most — they’ve shaped my years, and given my life a soundtrack.
Some of my most cherished memories are winters with my best friends in my hometown of Malibu.
Fleet Foxes played in the background as we bundled up in big jackets and beanies post-surf. I thought the lyrics to my favorite songs — White Winter Hymnal and Mykonos — were simple. But nothing’s quite so simple as what we thought when we were kids.
The video for White Winter Hymnal is wonderful.
I consider myself a fan of practically all music, but the indie/alternative genre is my bread and butter — often heartfelt and lyrical, profound and simple, life-giving and encouraging like the sun on a clear day.
Fleet Foxes, or more specifically guitarist/vocalist Robin Pecknold, recently came out with A Very Lonely Solstice, an incredible rendition of some of Fleet Foxes’ classics.
Enjoy the entire performance below, filmed and recorded at Brooklyn’s St. Ann & The Holy Trinity Church.
I was lying on the beach a few years back when Gum Toe and Sole by Gus Dapperton filtered through my headphones. I don’t know why, but I fell in love with this song. Gus has never let me down since.
In 2019, I was on a flight with two of my best friends on our way to Tokyo. We had plans to see Gus live after the fourteen hour flight. Gus in Tokyo — it was going to be epic.
I rocked my head to Gum Toe and Sole as we cruised through the rain and clouds into Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. It was surreal; my eyes were watering and I couldn’t stop smiling.
We were meeting our crew of six other best friends; after we got our concert tickets at 7–11 and gobbled down several onigiri, our first taste of Japan, we made our way to the show. Streams of people flowed from the venue. NO.
We missed it. No joke, Japan is punctual, and we were not. I’ll never forget that first night in Japan, and I’ve seen Gus live several times since then. His recent album, Orca, is absolutely stellar.
I think of being ten or twelve, I can’t really differentiate, and listening to Times Like These by Jack Johnson. I think of being at a skate park in Aspen, Colorado, listening to Traffic in the Sky.
My older brothers were into Jack Johnson, and the album On and On is part of my childhood.
Jack Johnson makes the world a simple place. These songs bring me back to center, back to earth, back to life. Life really can be simple; music can make it simple.
Growing up, I felt like The Beatles were immortal, like our dads can seem immortal. My dad tells me of growing up during Beatles mania in the 60s, when he and his brothers had the Beatles cuts.
Maybe because The Beatles are from another time they were immortalized in my eyes. The Beatles are a story. The music makes me happy, melancholy, thoughtful. The lads had fun, and so do those who listen.
The lyrics from Hey Jude and Let it Be are some of my all-time favorites:
Don’t you know that it’s the fool, who plays it cool,
by making his world a little colder.
— Hey Jude
When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me.
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
— Let It Be
Paul McCartney said on an episode of Carpool Karaoke that his mom had died, and I think he was worrying about something. His mom came to him and said, let it be.
This episode is quite brilliant, the best thing I’ve watched in a long time. I cried.
I’d finished a 10th-grade history test and slapped in my headphones to listen to the just released Man on the Moon II.
The lyrics and the feel of the album are somber, yet the music is pulsing with an electricity, a celestial vibration that seeps into your soul and makes you want to see the world, look up at the stars, and discover what it means to live.
Birds sing flying around
You never see them too long on the ground
You wanna be one of them.
— Mr Rager, Kid Cudi
I’ve never stopped listening to Kid Cudi or that album, which remains my favorite of his. I don’t quite remember if I needed it in high school, as I wasn’t yet thinking deeply about who I am and what I want out of life.
I was another high schooler — I’m lucky that I had best friends, community, joy. But when we leave high school and college, life becomes something totally new. Without a distinct path, a logical next step, the world becomes what we make of it.
Music grounds me in a way and takes me deeper within myself. No matter what happens, I can pop in my headphones or turn up the speakers and I know that I will make it through.
Music makes me feel something profound, something unexplainable and impossible to grasp — it makes me cry and smile and absolutely come alive. This is the music that has made me.