Writing Prompt #4: Music and Identity

Music is so powerful. It takes a person through so many life stages. There are countless quotes, research, studies, and so on about the benefits of music and how amazing it is for the soul, the mind, brain development, and more.

I played piano for about five years and then switched to viola for eight years. Even though I was trained in the “classical” instruments, I enjoy music with lyrics a bit more than classical pieces.

Photo Credit: music-lessons-pa.com

Photo Credit: music-lessons-pa.com

I love having conversations with my friend Justin. I know we are friends for life because we can literally talk about anything and everything, at any time. He’ll tell you that we were chatting on Facebook very early one recent Saturday morning, until almost 4 a.m. We’re always sharing things with each other, whether it be a story, a news article, research, or something funny.

He shared something amazing with me recently: The music video for Kelly Clarkson’s “Dark Side.”

Before Justin shared this with me, I had only heard snippets of the song on the radio. I’m so glad he shared the video with me. How powerful.

I’ve always found music lyrics to be incredibly meaningful and powerful.

Case in point:

Everybody’s got a dark side
Do you love me?
Can you love mine?
Nobody’s a picture perfect
But we’re worth it
You know that we’re worth it
Will you love me?
Even with my dark side?

It takes incredible talent to write something like that, and then have it be listened to thousands, if not hundred of thousands or millions, of times over. The “Dark Side” video on YouTube currently has over 21 MILLION views. It was uploaded to her channel on May 24, 2012. Wow!

The reason behind Justin sharing this with me stemmed from this weekend – Al and I got together with Justin and our friends Katie and Drew for most of the day on Saturday. We played through the whole deck of Cards against Humanity, and then the conversation changed over to music and relationships (Justin’s girlfriend, Heaven, is in her last semester at Longwood). Katie and Drew have been together the longest of the three couples – They’ll be celebrating 7 YEARS in October! That’s amazing! (Al and I just celebrated 4 years together this past Thursday, and Justin and Heaven are approaching their 2-year anniversary very shortly)

Anyway, the topic shifted to weddings and dancing, and the like. Katie and Drew asked Al and I if we had a song for us – and we were a bit stumped. Al and I like a lot of different music! Unlike us, Katie and Drew’s is an Eric Clapton classic.

Justin shared “Dark Side” with me with the thought that I might identify myself with it, in regards to my relationship with Al. After listening to it, it doesn’t just apply to me! I consider this to be a “blanket song,” or one that a lot of different people can relate to or identify with, across the board.

I love songs like this. It’s not exclusive to just one person or a specific couple / category / identity. I’ve noticed a lot of mainstream music is becoming less and less blanket-like, with certain genres in particular.

Take country music, for example. I hesitate to try to identify myself with a lot of it, although I like listening to the genre in general. To showcase my point, have you ever noticed that a lot of the girls in country music songs tend to all be blonde and blue-eyed?

Yep. That’s not me, literally. Total brunette and hazel-eyed over here.

There’s a difference in listening to music and identifying with music. Music affects all of us in some way, shape, or form. And if it doesn’t do that for you, I’m very suspicious.

Anyway, see below for the songs that I truly identify with.

1. “You Raise Me Up” – Josh Groban

2. “Here I Am, Lord” – Dan Schutte

3. “Don’t Stop Believin'” – Journey

4. “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” – Kelly Clarkson

5. “The Way” – Clay Aiken

6. “Who I Am With You” – Chris Young

7. “September” – Earth, Wind & Fire

8. “I Knew You Were Trouble” – Taylor Swift

9. “Shine” – Clay Aiken

10. “Hooked on a Feeling” – Blue Swede

11. “Dark Side” – Kelly Clarkson

12. “You’re the Inspiration” – Chicago

13. “Fire and Rain” – James Taylor

14. “Carolina in My Mind” – James Taylor

15. “Smile” – Uncle Kracker

16. “Haven’t Met You Yet” – Michael Buble

17. “Against All Odds” – Phil Collins

18. “As Long As You Love Me” – Backstreet Boys

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject!

Happy Sunday, all. Welcome to September!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂