Friday, June 15, 2007

Justifying My Love

I've been away from music writing for over two months, though not purposefully. I have been ensconced in major life changes: turning thirty, moving for the first time in 8 years, and finding a new job. Call me crazy, but having several aspects of my life in flux is just not conducive to creativity. That doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about and listening to music just as much as usual. I just haven't been putting those thoughts into words.

And maybe that's good.

Okay, I'm being dramatic with that. I love writing album reviews and have no intention of stopping. But I must admit to lately finding it difficult to truly express how certain songs and albums make me feel.

I don't think I'm alone in this. Even in some of the great books about pop music (Song Book by Nick Hornby, anything by Chuck Klosterman, Love Is A Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield) the rate of me truly identifying with the author's love of a song or album or artist is alarmingly low. And if it's about a song or album or artist I don't know, that already low number is halved.

I guess it's less important to share exactly what a music writer is feeling than it is to appreciate that they could put those emotions into words. And yet, I've found lately that any time I try to explain what a piece of music does to me, I'm met with distant agreement or outright disagreement. Roughly 97% of the time I share some random but consistent inner thought about a song I end up regretting even trying to put it into words.

This is why those of us who like to write, talk and think about music rarely bring emotion into the conversation. Instead we talk about band line-up changes, record labels, inter band feuds, kick ass shows we saw, which album is better than which album, what b-sides are the best, and selling out. These are vital parts to the machine that is pop music, but feelings - the songwriter's and performer's and the listener's - are the engine.

These days, long past my only-child introvert phase, very few of my thoughts and emotions stay bottled up. While this is an overwhelmingly positive development, it occurs to me that perhaps I should keep a little something for myself. And the imaginary harmonies I hear on a certain song, or the additional word that completes the rhyme in a particular lyric, maybe those things should just belong to me.

As I already stated, in no way does this mean the end of my reviewing days. Just get back to me when I've signed a new contract, and the boxes are unpacked!

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