Raise your hand if you love music!

You can’t see it, but I am raising my hand.  I love music.  Music is pervasive in our culture so it is easy to say that everyone loves music to some degree.  However, I think some groups of people react very differently to music.  I’m definitely in the analytical-emotional-romanticizing group of music lovers.  Music can sometimes affect me in very interesting ways.  I can hear a clip of instrumental music or a popular song and I can have an instant emotional reaction. It can suddenly revive a long forgotten memory, it can make me happy and content or it can unflinchingly break my heart.  As important as it is to me to have that connection to the music itself, I find it is even much more profound when combined with lyrics that have real substance.

Thanks Dan.

What got me started on this train of thought was posts by Dan Hasletine from Jars of Clay.  I have been following him on Twitter for some time and he just started posting on his blog about lyrics he has written and is re-visiting their meaning or, what they have come to mean.  He asked his fans to come up with lyrics they are interested in knowing about and I was very excited to post a reply.  I started to mind-scroll through the Jars of Clay songs that I admired and I kept getting stuck.  I couldn’t pick one!  But what I found more interesting is that I did not really consider any whole song, instead I focused on bits of lyrics that paint a picture.

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One of the shots from my Lyrical Imagery Project on Flickr

Grasping the meaning in an entire song is sometimes easier for me than in a specific subset of its words, which is probably why I find small parts of songs so intriguing.   (A whole photography project of mine is based on of small portions of lyrics — blatant plug-in the photo to the right).  I kept focusing on some of those brilliant bits of writing from Jars of Clay songs and visualizing the scene.  Imagining the event that inspired the eloquence, I get very distinct pictures, sometimes without knowing  exactly what they mean.  Sometimes I just don’t care about their exact meaning because I know I feel a very specific way when I read or hear words like these:

  • They don’t see behind the lights, or the painted backgrounds, they just like to see you fall.
  • If I was not so weak. If I was not so cold. If I was not so scared of being broken…growing old.
  • A flower for your vanity, a penny for your thoughts.
  • This picture I’ve painted…it looks like my heart or what still remains.
  • You feel a lot like the good guy, but do you know why, everything’s so blue?
  • Fearful tears are running down, the pain you’ve laid don’t speak a sound.
  • I have no fear of drowning, it’s the breathing that’s taking all this work.
  • Trying to jump away from rock that keeps on spreading, for solace in the shift of the sinking sand
  • It takes more than your saline eyes…to make things right.
  • Flowers through the asphalt, diamonds in the pockets of your eyes…turn your face and hide.
  • If the wind should shake this house apart, the cradle hits the ground with a broken heart.
  • Weddings, boats and alibis, all drift away….and a mother cries.
  • Said and done I stand alone amongst remains of a life I should not own.

These are just some lyrics that I love from Jars of Clay.  Lyrics where I would love to know, not so much the meaning, but the source of inspiration, the story behind the moment of vision.   I haven’t used a Jars  song as a photo inspiration yet…but I certainly plan on it!  Even without knowing the story or inspiration behind these and other lyrics, there is no denying the power the words have and the images and emotions that they can stir.   Music is amazing.

Thanks for the stories and inspirations, the words that paint the pictures in our heads, and for the great music that stirs emotion.

P.S. – Memorable Jars Event

I had several opportunities to see Jars of Clay in concert but somehow missed them, or was not able to go.  It disappointed me, but good things do come!  My first Jars concert was at Twin City Bible Church in Urbana IL in December of 2000.  My brother was a student at the University of Illinois and he got one ticket to a special unplugged concert but didn’t know the band, so he offered it to me.  There couldn’t have been more than a couple hundred seats available and was it an amazing acoustic concert with audience requests, and great stories.  One of those events I’ll always remember.  I even got to talk with Dan at the end of the show.  I didn’t have anything for him to sign but stood in line anyway just to say something (and somehow that ended up including mentioning U2 in concert).  All around, it was very inspiring and hearing their music in that type of venue was all the more memorable.  Thanks again 🙂