The universal language.
An outlet for human emotion.
An art that can even transcend the deterioration of the brain due to disease.
This form of creative expression is seen as many things to many people. To some it’s a business. To some it’s an escape from the (more than) occasionally overbearing stressors life throws at them. To others still, it represents a recognizable way to share the beliefs or stances we have about other facets of everyday life.
However, regardless of which of many overlapping camps you place your relationship with music within, as much as music itself is an intangible thing, I wonder about another form of intangibility that permeates music’s existence: When a song you’re not actively looking for, just comes up and somehow perfectly speaks to you or what’s going on in your life – regardless of the song’s genre, or the motivations of the songwriter(s) who created it.
Look at the comments sections, tweet threads, Instagram comment streams, or Snapchat videos and it’s no unknown phenomenon. People connect with some songs on a level that surpasses “tune of the week.” The idea that the thoughts, life experiences, reflections, and inspirations of musicians in no way connected to their own lives, impact people as if a piece of music was made just for them or is exactly their lives set to a melody – the whole thing sounds like an imagined subjectivity similar to those optical illusions where a bunch of people can each see something different in a single image.
So, even though music is a business worth billions of dollars, and even though there totally are songwriters out there creating entire tracks they might have near to no personal investment in (perhaps even crafting something with the sole purpose of hitting particular musical nerves – here’s looking at you Max Martin), any one piece of music can cross paths with a person out there who finds a perfectly aligned musical message or sonic sentiment if the tune has no words. The countless number of breakup songs aside, (because sheer probability would likely attest to experiences of personal alignment there), more obscure emotional events or thought processes happen in everyday life but there somehow seems to be a potential for connective moments with songs and the realization of the specificity to those connections can get downright eerie.
Just an observation about this universal language that I see being able to move through all of the music industry’s dividing lines. It leaves one to wonder why depth of listener connection isn’t a factor discussed more in more music circles. The concept might not be quantifiable by conventional means but, if the natural spontaneity of music is so omnipresent and is one of the few factors blind to commercial appeal and artist standing in the public eye, why don’t we hear about it more?
Maybe it’s just one of those things that goes universally acknowledged but can’t fit into a structured exploration – much like how everyone has had a time when they know who is calling them right before they pick up the phone. We have all had it happen to at one point or another in our lives but we chalk it up to being nothing more than the intermittent quirky coincidence.
What are some examples of times when you heard a song you weren’t searching for and it spoke to you at just the right moment? How so?