I woke up this morning after the best night's sleep I've had in a good long while, made it through breakfast feeling chipper as can be, and then I had a musical urge. It occurred to me "You know what I feel like listening to right now? Bob Dylan!"
My brother wasn't at all happy, I can tell you that. Between Dylan and multiple Phantom of the Opera soundtracks, no one at my house is too pleased with my choice in tunes. (Condemned for just two faves? Heinous! Good thing I'm not the only one at my place who appreciates the Saturday night broadcast of Thistle and Shamrock!) Anyway, I fired up the stereo, popped in my copy of Before the Flood and just listened. "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" was all good, nice and up-tempo as compared to the original release with some kick-a** improv on the harmonica. "Just Like a Woman" had a little more bluesy vibe and a lot more wail on Bob's part. And then we get around to "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" and what happens?
Let me put it this way.
Why oh why do I insist on listening to this song when I know its angsty pessimism only leaves a bitter taste in my mouth? Am I just a masochist when it comes to a good song?
I started thinking (big shocker there, I know) and wondered how it is that music can affect our moods so much. They have music therapy programs in hospitals to aid patient recovery, those with various anxiety disorders often use music to find release, and heck, who among us hasn't felt better after listening to a favorite song?
My conclusion: We use music to give voice to the things we can't just say. That's an angle I've been exploring the past few months. Music somehow hits us right where it hurts, where ordinary speech just can't touch, where there are no words at all. It heals and destroys at the same time.
So what was I to do to improve my mood? Well, my logic said if a song put me in a funk to start with, another should pull me out of it. I shut off Bobby and put on "We Weren't Born to Follow" by Bon Jovi. It's all aces now.
Bob Dylan - "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" from Bringing It All Back Home
Bon Jovi - "We Weren't Born to Follow" from The Circle