So…I’ve written this, or something similar to it, dozens of times. On various journals, blogs, forums and in emails to friends (said friends are likely going to read this and roll their eyes so hard they give themselves a migraine. I’m watching you, damnit!). But you know what? It bears repeating. I’m not gonna lie, I get a bit in-depth (more so than I ever have before, actually), so this post isn’t for everyone.
I have a thing for instrumental music. A big thing. See, everyone that knows me will often hear me humming or singing along to something – as I listen to music constantly, if I’m awake (hahaha, I’m always awake), then there is music playing. Now I can’t sing to save my life, just ask my loved ones or my gaming friends (sorry not sorry for my drunken singing). I cannot hold a tune, but what I lack in talent, I think I make up in enthusiasm! So the point in me writing all this? I love to sing, 99% of the time I will be singing along. I’m a bit of a contradiction, as I personally think I’m quite shy and withdrawn at times, but play my favourite songs? Frakk it, imma sing at you and probably seem really obnoxious. I’m not, I swear, I just get really lost in the things I love most.
So now that you’re getting a feel for how much I love my music and singing along to said music, let’s introduce the concept of my obsession with instrumental music.
When my grandma passed away, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t eat, I didn’t talk…I just didn’t function. I hid away, with my laptop, listening to the same few songs on repeat for literally days on end. I couldn’t listen to anything with words, because it hurt too much. I couldn’t play games, I couldn’t watch movies or TV, I couldn’t chat. I really just…sat on my own listening to these bands. Doing nothing but think and hurt. Anyway…the tracks I listened to most were –
- Echoes by God is an Astronaut. At .48 it was always as though I could actually breathe (same thing happens with another track, I’ll discuss shortly). I still have the same reaction, to this very day. As though I’ve had this weight on my chest, but we get to .48, and it’s like I can finally draw in enough air again. The composition of the song is just beautiful, but utterly devastating at the same time. Instrumental music, for me, is entirely for you to identify with and associate with yourself – something that sounds happy to me, may sound sad to you. Without lyrics there to help sway you, the interpretation is entirely down to you. This track, for me, is pure desperation, loss, loneliness and trying to frantically explain all of that. The last 50 seconds always feels chaotic to me, in the best way possible…as though you’re frantically trying to make someone understand something. They have to understand, before there’s nothing left for you to give them. As though it’s slipping from your grasp, and you’re clinging on for dear life.
- Quiet by This Will Destroy You. Just listening to this one right Now, I have tears in my eyes. It’s just…as though each instrument is trying to communicate to the other how alone it is, but how desperately it wants to be with the others…does that make sense? Like they’re all reaching for one another, hesitant…until we hit 2.16, and everything feels like it comes together. And it’s still devastatingly sorrowful. But as though…the music is trying to convey that it’s okay that it’s so damn sad, and that maybe it’ll always be this sad. But that it keeps going anyway.
None of this is making sense, is it? I sound crazy. It happens a lot. Stay with me.
- beautifuluniversemasterchampion by And So I Watch You From Afar. This one is…odd. Because it is so upbeat and…happy sounding. It’s one of the very few “less morbid” tracks on this little list. And that’s entirely down to 3 people (A, I & M). Because each of them were my beautifuluniversemasterchampion’s when I needed people the most, without ever realising just how much I needed them. And I don’t have all of them anymore, but regardless…this song is about them, and how they each made me feel less like hiding forever more. It still makes me think of each of them, and feel thankful for knowing them. However briefly. For me…this song is entirely about friendship, it’s hopefully, it’s cheeky, it’s fun…it’s the antithesis to how I felt originally listening to it. These days? It’s pretty much the soundtrack for my life, because I’m so damn happy and…just ‘okay’/functional, all the time.
- MyBloodyJesusExplorerOnFire by You Slut! Again, an upbeat one. This one was actually my…”coming out of the darker thoughts” song…something about it screams of freedom to me, of driving my car (my beautiful Jack) a little too fast – feeling the air whipping my hair all over and…it’s so difficult to explain, but the air just feels…cleaner? Crisper. It’s like having a stinging burn, and this just soothes it. It’s my freedom, remember but don’t get lost in the hurt, song.
I promise I’m not gonna list every track on the playlist (because we really would be here all day, possibly longer). I’m just touching on ones that are still relevant to me and that I still play or think about to this day.
- Fire Flies and Empty Skies by God is an Astronaut. This is another one that speaks to me of hope, of overcoming. The beginning is like asking a question or begging for help, and as we get to 3.30, it just sounds like an answer, or an offer of comfort to me. It’s another beautiful track, although all of GiaA’s music is beautiful.
- Your Hand In Mine by Explosions in the Sky. EitS actually featured on the original 2011 playlist quite extensively, but this track was always the one I remembered most. Erm…because it made me remember her. Playing cards, her inadvertently teaching me how to gamble. And it’s unbearable to listen to now. I don’t even keep the track on my iPod/phone/computer. I haven’t listened to it in years. I don’t think I could listen to it, in truth. I wanted to see EitS live, but…in the end, I couldn’t. Which probably makes me very weak.
- Drove Through Ghosts To Get Here by 35dos. This one really does feel like driving through ghosts…revisiting every memory, every feeling, trying to escape through them…just to reach the finish line. And you start slow in the memories (you know when you’re reminiscing, and your brain drags things up slowly at first) and it’s a bit…it’s uncomfortable initially, for me usually to stay focused. But it’s as though 1.50 onwards is when you finally hit the open road and you’re free. I go back to driving a lot – it makes me feel free (something I crave). The memories sort of flood through, hectic and breath taking. And it’s joyous, but painful and scary. And this song makes my jagged edges a little smoother.
There’s a lot more I could list and discuss…but let’s not get too carried away here. I close with my favourite track…possibly of all time. This band also featured extensively on the 2011 playlist, but this final track…well, let’s just get to it, yea?
- Critical Distance by maybeshewill. Easily the most beautiful thing I have ever listened to, in a life of listening to a LOT of beautiful (to me) things. This track is kind of confusing actually, as it does have an air of hope, if slight trepidation, to it. It’s initially repetitive, and that speaks to me of ploughing on – you keep going, you keep moving forward – with a slight shift at the 1 minute mark. Leading into me forever feeling like every doubt, every hurtful thing said or done to me, every person that ever said or made me feel like I wasn’t good enough, literally getting bitch slapped and blown away at the 1.23 mark. Because it’s as though it’s all just cast aside and my brain gets to 1.23 and until 2.50 none of it matters, because I am enough. For me. And I don’t care if that’s not enough for you. Once we actually hit the (almost) silence of 3, breaking into the utterly stunning reprisal at 3.07 – it feels like decades before the music kicks back in…and in those moments, referencing the breathing above, it’s as though I can finally breathe properly again. There’s something cleansing and purifying for me, whenever I hear this song. It just…it makes me happy-sad. So…happy-sad is when you remember the bad/sad times, but being able to see the best in it. So…I lost you, and I will never recover. It will never be okay. But when you were here, you made everything so much better, so much funnier. You made a lonely, really confused kid feel less like a freak, when their peers did nothing but either bully, mock or use them. You were the constant, the person that made me not want to just cut deep enough. This song hurts like…frakk. But it’s a good hurt, a cathartic hurt.
And…that’s probably the most open and honest I have ever been here.
Instrumental music doesn’t have lyrics, because there are not words – in any language – beautiful enough to convey what these songs are trying to say. You can express a billion different things without ever needing to utter a word. That’s why instrumental music is so damn vital to me.
If you read this far, thank you.