I continue to mourn and life goes on. One of the things that has happened, (for good or bad, you be the judge), is that my emotional sensitivity is much more acute since she died. Up until recently, I never realized how powerful music is in the conveyance and the expression of emotion. So much so that it occurred to me that part of why we’re so divided in this country now is that our music no longer has the capability it once had for the universal understanding of its message. There was a time when, no matter the genera, anyone hearing the music could understand the message the artist was trying to convey. Modern music is now so specific to its intended audience. For example, modern pop (especially rap music) sounds appealing and causes me to tap my feet and nod my head, but I can’t understand a word they’re saying. The lyrics get lost in the moog synthesizer and other musical gadgetry to the point that even though you hear them they are no longer language. Instead, they are just another part of musical gadgetry that bypasses your conscious mind and goes directly to your senses. In my day, the whole point of the song was the lyrics. The musical instruments served to enhance the lyrics and not the other way around.
Lately, since my loss, I seem to be able to hear a word or phrase, or two, of a song that catches my attention. Somehow, the lyric is able filter through the noise of the drumbeat and symbols to my conscious brain. When this happens, since I have Alexia and my I-phone I can listen to the song at my leisure, concentrating on the words and ignoring the music. A recent example of this is a song by Robin Thick called, That’s What Love Can Do. The lyrics of that song are absolutely beautiful and once you understand them and combine them with the music, it becomes an almost spiritual experience.
To give you and example of how powerful music is when it’s really done right, Willie Nelson and Paula Nelson did a duet of a song I’ve heard a million times since I was in my 20s, but never actually heard it until Willie and Paula’s rendition. It was an old Credence Clear Water Revival standard, Have You Ever Seen The Rain. It was played during the last scene of the HBO drama, Big Little Lies. The scene, the context of the story and the music combined to create a powerful crescendo of emotion that moved me not just to tears, but also to loud sobbing. It somehow gave me a deeper sense of how profound my loss of Yvonne is and that it’s OK for me to cry whenever those emotions arise. I could also see the beauty of my sadness at having lost this unique and beautiful woman. Somehow, in my sadness, she felt alive to me again. Not alive in the sense that I could see her and touch her, but that our relationship was not in vain and no matter what else happens in my life, our mark on this plane of existence as a couple has been made and will in many ways live forever. I didn’t realize until then, but I know now that I’ve been ashamed of my inability to compartmentalize my feelings for her enough to resume the normal stoic pragmatism by which I conducted my life most of the time before I lost her. That was a major breakthrough for me. I know it seems obvious to most people, but it wasn’t to me. I was just too close to it to see.
If by chance any of the many talented musical artists out there happen to stumble on this blog and read this post, I hope you consider what I have said. The music you make and the songs you write are too beautiful and powerful to limit to one group of people. Whether you do country, rock, rap or rhythm and blues, your messages are powerful. They help us understand whom we are collectively how much we really mean to each other. Going forward, try to package your art so we can all hear the message. You might just save to world.