The Power of Music
March 1, 2021
Music is an all-encompassing art that allows artists and listeners to develop a more thorough understanding of themselves. Eastside dives deeper into the true impact of music on society and how to immerse oneself into the true power of music.
Music impacts mood and perspective
Music accurately depicts the way in which one feels through a singular beat. Throughout any experience in life, whether one is at the bottom of the sea or the top of the world, music helps bring meaning to the thoughts floating in one’s head. Even when listening to music alone, you really are never alone. In a song, the artist is speaking to you, singing to you, expressing themselves to you all while you are learning more about yourself just from the way in which you listen and choose the music. The lyrics in a song directly reflect on personal experiences endured by the artist, and relate to significantly more people than one may think. Music helps put raw emotions into functioning sentences. Not many people think much about their go-to music type, but realistically, it reveals a lot more about the psyche than one may assume. Sit down and close your eyes. Let the song, the vibes, the music, the lyrics sink into your teeth, into your skin and just let it take over for the three minutes that it plays. Music allows one to escape the world and enter their own vortex of happiness and depth.
Before the pandemic hit, many people would say that the importance of music stems from the collective process of experiencing the sounds in a crowded concert. Yes, concerts and festivals bring immaculate vibes to the table, but music is significantly more deep than just a beat to jump around to. The second the vibrations and flow of music begins, the song touches the soul of the listener and brings sanity to their lives. To put into perspective, when one turns their bluetooth speaker on full blast during a shower, why does one decide to listen to music in the shower in the first place? Arguably, the shower is a situation of pure vulnerability, you are literally and figuratively opening your mind and body to the music you choose to play. If you are performing your own personalized world tour from the comfort of your shower and the song of choice is, for example, by John Mayer, it is fairly accurate to assume that you are feeling relaxed and calm, maybe even nostalgic of the summer. However, if DaBaby starts to blast on the speaker, it is safe to say that you are in the mood to yell on the top of your lungs and “bop” to your emotions. Whatever the song of choice may be, it can reveal multifactorial elements of personality. Why choose a heavy metal rock song at a concert? Why choose a country song on the beach? Take into consideration the personalities of the people you know and their taste in music. Is it making more sense now? I thought so. It doesn’t matter what type of music one likes, or whether or not they are judged for their pure obsession with Pink Floyd (not referring to myself of course), as long as you find the lyrical and beat genius that aids you in your exploration of individuality, take pride in it because music is the start of a future of pure happiness and contentment.
Close your eyes and imagine your favorite movie scene. In every important scene in a movie, whether it be a scene on the beach or in a rainstorm, what is playing? A soundtrack, the score, because music helps people identify and understand their emotions rather than just feeling alone in their situation. A movie soundtrack is the foundation of the emotions that the audience is intended to feel in a scene. Music proves that you are not the first nor last to experience whatever it is that you are confronting. Whether or not one is in need of an emotional interpreter, background music in any circumstance helps enhance the level of sentiment the audience experiences. Music is a way for artists to connect to people around the world in ways that text messages and regular conversation can not express. The emotions behind the words in a song, embedded into your mind with a beat, allow for deep emotional connections between artist and the beholder.
The Impact of Music on Life
From the beginning of music until now, the emotional twists and turns of rhythm, lyrics, and beats themselves have paved the way for a musical evolution. Music is said to have originated over 40,000 years ago, when our ancient ancestors needed to communicate before the invention of language. That Stone Age period greatly differs from the techno beats and rap music we now know. No matter the time period, music has the potential to change a mood, shift an atmosphere, or even encourage behavior. Without it, peoples’ lives would be far more boring and catastrophic.
It allows us to feel every type of emotion that we have experienced in our lives. Whether that emotion is excited, happy, sad, or distraught. Depending on what kind of music someone listens to or even a personal connection to a specific song will impact their mood after playing. Additionally, music holds large amounts of societal power. It has the ability to both culturally and morally impact an individual. Music is present everywhere for people of all ages and cultures. For instance, music has the ability to serve as a tool for cultures to express themselves through performance. Thus, creating an atmosphere of learning and understanding amongst other cultures.
When people think about music now their minds might envision fast and upbeat rap songs or fun party music. But, there is also a painful side to music for many artists. Music can often be a distraction for people from pain and heartbreak. It can even be an outlet for those indescribable feelings that don’t seem worth talking about. Despite this, someone’s sad song that initiates the waterworks could be someone else’s nostalgic and confidence boosting song. That is what makes music so beautiful and unique. Even if two people are listening to the same exact song, they could feel two extremely different emotions.
The pumped-up feeling many of us encounter when listening to energetic rifts can help in motivation or working out. These types of songs are typically heard at sporting events. The up-beat rhythm of such songs allows us to feel more creative and even more inspired to work on daily tasks. For example, in Rocky, the soundtrack by Bill Conti is known to motivate and encourage its listeners to go out and fight, just like the Two-Time Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa.
Not only can music inspire, sadden, or motivate its listeners, but it can also bring us back to a time in our lives. Nowadays, with several radio stations playing decade hits from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, as well as many others, people of those generations are overwhelmed with nostalgia. Therefore, it can even bring forth a wistful memory of a time that seemed better or simpler.
With this topic in mind you might want to ask yourself, “Can you envision life or a world without music?”
The impact Tik Tok has on Music
Recently, a question I have begun to hear more and more is: “Omg isn’t this song from tiktok?”.
TikTok’s power to consume the free time of teenagers has had a major influence over the popularity of certain songs in the teen world. Considering background music is placed behind each tiktok, tons of songs can be discovered on the platform.
Some accounts have posted a series of tiktoks (part 1, 2, 3 and so on) that provide the names of the songs behind specific trends. Rather than looking up the lyrics to a song found behind a video, these tiktoks are created to make it easy for viewers to listen to the song in their free time. Tiktoks like these are very helpful since some sounds on Tiktok are not titled in accordance with the name of the song on music platforms.
Songs could even be discovered from tiktokers creating a collaboration of clips from an experience, such as skiing, and placing a song they enjoy behind it. Viewing such a video from their “for you” page could make a viewer interested in the song rather than the video. From my personal experience on tiktok, I have seen many videos of sights and cool experiences with songs like “Dead Man Walking” or “Mr Rager” behind them. Shortly after the first couple of times I heard “Dead Man Walking” on tiktok, the song was added to my playlist of songs I listen to on a daily basis.
Some accounts have even gone so far to leak upcoming releases. For example, I heard pieces of Morgan Wallens’s “7 summers” and “Somebody’s Problem” as well as Luke Combs “Forever After All” back in the summer before they came out to the public.
Other accounts like Jarred Jermaine’s take a different aspect of promoting music by providing information behind their originality. Jermaine is one tiktoker who made a series of songs that you didn’t know were samples. Because of Jermaine, I recently discovered that pieces from “Bound 2” by Kanye West were taken from Bound (1970) and Sweet Nothin’s (1960). This particular tiktok was part 39 of “songs you didn’t know were sampled”.
Similarly, other accounts share their own experiences and knowledge of music by creating lists of songs they believe viewers should listen to based on how they are feeling or what they are experiencing at a given time. For example, one tiktok I have seen was a list based off of songs people should listen to when they are alone in your thoughts. Similar to what most teens would do, I saw this tiktok on my for you page and kept those songs in mind for later use.
Different trends on the TikTok come about very quickly as a result of the “for you page”.
Dance routines trending on the popular app have brought much attention to songs like “Mhm Mhm” by Cdot Honcho, “Zanzibar” by Billy Joel, and “Foot Fungus” by Ski Mask the Slump God; however, tiktokers singing Olivia Rodrigo’s “Driver’s License” has been an exceptionally popular trend. Tiktok even created a commercial using these videos of individuals singing her song from their platform. The commercial was to promote “soundtracks for life” by saying “it starts on tiktok”.
If wanted, one could easily go onto TikTok and discover Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams”, SZA’s “Good Days” or any other trending song from giving their “for you page” a scroll. Definitely keep this in mind if switching up songs in your playlist or listening to new tunes is a thought.
Sampling is a popular music practice used by many
Did you know that your favorite song may include a clip from a song written decades before it?
Sampling is a music practice that I stumbled upon recently while on TikTok. According to Wikipedia, “samples may comprise elements such as rhythm, melody, speech, sounds, or entire bars of music, and may be layered, equalized, sped up or slowed down, repitched, looped, or otherwise manipulated.”
Some examples of songs that use sampling are: “Paper Planes” by M.I.A.; “Blood on the Leaves” by Kanye West; and “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce.
I think sampling is a very creative way to reuse parts of old songs and honor the artist who created them. Similarly, artists often use samples to pay tributes to artists who inspired them in their past as well as offering a sense of nostalgia to listeners.
Sampling allows artists to use their own spin on a music clip by manipulating it to their benefit. Sampling has become one of my favorite musical techniques as I feel that it’s a really cool aspect of music that I never knew about. For anyone who is just learning about sampling, there are countless examples in songs that have come out in the past ten years and earlier.
The Importance of Lyrics
For the longest time, I always cared more about the beat and music behind a song than the lyrics. It wasn’t until last year that I began strictly listening to music that used lyrics in a meaningful way. This decision was definitely a big change, but I could not be happier about it.
As a personal project for Eastside, I listened to an album a day for an entire week and reviewed them. This article actually would change the way I listened to music forever. In this article, I constantly emphasize how much the lyrics and meaning of a song impacted the overall rating. A few artists that I feel do an excellent job with their lyrics are The Arctic Monkeys, Alt-J, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Cage the Elephant.
So while listening to these albums under a new lens, the first step was learning the lyrics and any new slang that was used in the song. Then, I would gather my own interpretation of the lyrics. But this practice extends far beyond just knowing and listening to the words in a song, it means researching the writer’s purpose for writing the song and its true meaning. But for a while, I was hesitant to simply Google the meaning behind a song because I figured how hard could it be? I mean really, for most of my life I never needed anybody’s help in any way. However I came around eventually and when I couldn’t decipher the meaning for myself I was able to visit sites like songmeanings.com where other listeners shared what they made of the song. That being said, I would like to emphasize the importance of reading the viewpoints of others because I know sometimes my interpretation was completely wrong. I also have been able to discover new songs with incredible depth and meaning with a little help from my friends. Through this process, beautiful songs grew even more fascinating and I was able to relate them to my own life and ultimately, became an even bigger music connoisseur.
I am also somebody who loves to share my music with others, and I now have an added element to share when giving song recommendations. I cannot count the number of times I’ve said: “did you know this song is actually about…” and proceeded to go on a five minute tangent.
Additionally, though I have never personally written any songs in my life, I assume it is similar to being an author. If I was to write a song and all people paid attention to was the actual music and not the lyrics I spent time writing I would probably be thinking: “it took years to write, will you take a look?”
Therefore, I feel I am doing the songwriter justice by searching for the purpose of their song.
At the end of the day, I had to follow the long and winding road that led me to my fascination with understanding the deeper meaning in almost any song I listen to and I am so glad I did.