If you choose to let it, music can bring you peace

Posted on Nov 1 2016 - 8:00am by Julia Grant

In my column last week, I focused on what it means to be nourished. Instead of robotically going through the motions of my days, I am seeking out the type of soul food you can not find on the menu at Ajax.

Luckily, our university and storybook town beckon to enrich us constantly. We need only dig deep enough—in our pursuit of information as well as in ourselves.

Last week, I had the privilege of attending a songwriters’ convention for the Women’s Council at The Lyric. But it is not the event itself that I want to talk about. What I found that stretched and soothed and satiated my soul was something so utterly commonplace, it did not matter where I was at all: music.

I realize how trite and Twitter-perfect this sentiment sounds, how reflective of typical teenage angst and sensibilities. But as I listened to the backstories of some of the most famous country songs of the decade and watched the writers perform them, I realized how wrenching and intoxicating it was to hear raw emotion set to the tune of a guitar.

I think this concept of diaristic music can be lost in the face of an industry hyper-focused on revenues and commercialization. The radio has become a barren wasteland for real music, instead tirelessly boasting the same old auto-tuned “songs” about sex, alcohol and drugs.

But beneath the façade of celebrity and swagger, true artists persist quietly and resolutely, their motivations for production more therapeutic than pecuniary. They write songs because they cannot help themselves, because it is the way they cope.

Luckily, we do not all have to be musically inclined to reap the same rewards, as these talented artists do the work for us. Finding yourself thoroughly understood and known by words you did not even compose—well, it reminds you of our shared humanity. It reminds you that you are not alone.

Sitting in that concert hall, this was the feeling that gripped me most profoundly. The seemingly intangible and incommunicable desperations that have wracked me— a fear of losing control, anxiety over uncertainty— were suddenly surrounding me, entering through my ears and seeping into my veins and heart.

If, while reading this, you feel a latent yearning inside yourself to unclutter your mind of the cognitive so you can once more focus on the emotional you have so adeptly shoved aside, turn on a beloved song that reminds you of home or of a loved one. Maybe someone that you let slip away or something that wrecked you.

Do not distract yourself with a mere product disguising itself as a true song. Listen to art. Because, sometimes, we need something impalpable to make sense of this all-too-concrete world.

Julia Grant is a freshman public policy leadership and journalism major from Gulfport.