RePost: What’s a muse?

Cristian Mihai : What’s a muse?.

Brilliantly articulated!  I don’t think I could have said it any better myself, and probably would have seemed all the more foolish for tying. Not, however, for a lack of accuracy in my words, but that the nature of the Muse is so abstract -so complex- that only one with adequate experience could do justice to it.  It’s just one of those surreal concepts that you can feel and understand so ardently, yet are unable to explain to someone less inclined towards such fancies.

I have gained a bit of insight into a current relationship situation that I have been mulling over(more details in my next post) in the reading of the above post.  I am startlingly ( or maybe not so startling when I think deeply on it)  that I have become another’s Muse, in one of the more intimate senses of the word.  While this particular situation can be loaded with implications and/or possibilities, I feel a sense of intense curiosity and near obligation to see this through.  I am already contributing in some weirdly influential way to this persons personal nd professional work.  Simply put, I am blown away!

I cannot deny the intensity of my curiosity, nor my fascination towards any artistic pursuit-especially into the greatly admired realm of literature and philosophy. To deny this curiosity would be the biggest expression of self denial that I could portray at this time. With all that I have been through and will go through, I haven’t lost that sense of self.  Yes, it has been distorted at times -even despised- but am not, nor will I ever, be one to shy away from the chance to grow and learn.  Wherever it shall lead, and however long it shall last, it will be an adventure for sure!  Any pain, or confusion, or frustration, (even happiness) that may result from this dynamic is merely another facet of this wonderfully awful companion we call Life.

Wish me luck!

Wish me luck!

An Intense Musical Experience

I’ve recently contemplated music and how it affects my life.  I know that everyone has their own musical preferences and their own artists that speak to them, so I’d like to think that it’s universal  in nature. It has the world as its audience and influences us all in different ways.

I just went to a concert last night with my brother.  Well, and his ex-wife was there as well …awkward. Anyway, the concert was Shinedown with Three Days Grace and P.O.D. as the opening performance and we were right up by the stage!  My brother and I always go to see Three Days Grace (and Breaking Benjamin until they disbanded.  Get it? Disbanded?) when they come to town.  It’s been a tradition of ours since I was a freshman in high school.  Unfortunately, this tradition will likely end since the lead singer, Adam Gontier, has left the band indefinitely.

Exactly!

I know!

During one of the TDG’s songs, I had this weird moment of clarity.  I felt separated from the concert.  I was an observer, watching the audience participate in the music.  It dawned on me that hundreds of people from all different backgrounds had come together for a mutual experience. We were all united from that moment.  All of us were here to listen to music we love by the bands that impact us so greatly.  It was such a surreal moment for me. As much as we like to isolate ourselves, we can be drawn together by the purest form of expression: music.  Going to a concert of an artist you love is such a phenomenally superior experience to listening to a record. I know you all have had an experience where you really connected with someone, no matter how brief the encounter.  Just imagine that, but radically magnified- shared with hundreds or thousands of other people.  That’s what one person or group can do. They can unite us in one single purpose – one connected experience.

Sadly, this experience was somewhat dulled by the broken TDG performance.  Don’t get me wrong, the replacement singer did a great job with what he was given.  It’s just that he had no connection with the audience.  He was there to perform, not express.  When Adam is on stage, he just loves it.  He bonds with the audience( at least the Nashville audiences) and puts himself into his songs. Simply awesome.

Left to right: Barry- lead guitar, Adam-vocals, Neil- drums, Brad- bass

Left to right: Barry- lead guitar, Adam-vocals, Neil- drums, Brad- bass

However, when Shinedown came on stage I was blown away.  I had never seen them on live and I was only vaguely familiar with some of their hits. But, by the heavens above, they were so static. Every band member was in their zone, they loved their music and their audience and we loved them right back.  Before they even played a song, Brent Smith (the vocalist) asked everyone in the audience to turn to their neighbors and shake hands, high-five, and form a connection.  Just that simple act of connection –which I am a total sucker for- heightened the experience. More than just loving what they were performing, they sounded amazing doing it.  Later in the performance Brent actually took a break and discussed this very concept- the unification of people through one single medium: music. Specifically, rock music, but this is applicable to any meaningful song. Anyway, Brent has fantastic voice and Zack and Eric were smashing on guitar and bass. Barry is a decent drummer, but he can’t hold a candle to TDG’s Neil Sanderson.  They really rocked it…geddit?

No?  Okay...

No? Okay…

Getting back on track, I was captivated.  The images playing in the background of their songs, the poems and stories they played between and within their songs, and their talent really cemented the experience for me.  I could feel the meaning in each of their songs.  I understood their lyrics and got something out of every song.  Their music is more positive than I expected.  It can be sad, even mournful, at times, but there is a kind of optimistic tilt  in their songs.  I’ve been so influenced by more positive, upbeat music lately.  I don’t necessarily mean poppy, fast music, but music that isn’t depressing or angry. This is why I think Shinedown is one of my new favorite bands.  Their music reflects the changes that have come over me much more accurately than my past favorites. Maybe this is just another sign of my increasing maturity and inner growth.

Or something like that...

Or something like that…

I’m going to try to include a few videos or at least links to videos of some of their songs that stood out to me the most, but I want people to check out all the songs possible.  Like I stated at the beginning, music is subjective and a song will affect you differently than it will me.   I went to Amazon and bought their first three albums and their live CD.   It’s been more than worth it, especially the live set.  I think they are classified as alternative rock, but many of their songs resemble ballads and have a lot more positive implications than other alternative artists.

Whomever reads this post please take a minute to think of your favorite artist. Genre is irrelevant. What matters is that you really think of the one that is the most influential and inspirational to you. Find one band or person that has been there for you in your life.  Whenever you were down, who did you listen to uplift yourself?  Whose lyrics have spoken to you? Inspired you to change how you view or express things?  Why are they so important to you?  Feel free to post in the comments if you wish.  I’m always open to any new musical suggestions and eager for new discoveries.  I love hearing about people’s passions and inspirations, and maybe you will get something out of it, too!

Left to right: Zack- lead guitar, Eric- Bass, Barry- drums, Brent- vocals.

Left to right: Zack- lead guitar, Eric- Bass, Barry- drums, Brent- vocals.

Simple Man- Shinedown

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbN99f9esS4

Save Me- Shinedown

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8dyxGiBx3g

If You Only Knew – Shinedown – One of their most well-known songs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NCDqYynUQk

Diamond Eyes- Shinedown

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hez6tDpiWDA

Her Name is Alice -Shinedown – influenced by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHQQUH0DomI