“Where words fail, music speaks” – Hans Christian Andersen
If there is common ground to be found in this world, I truly believe it is through music.
It highlights conversations. It illuminates two souls on the same page. It stirs us up and makes us emote in ways only beautiful melodies and heart-grabbing lyrics can. Music transcends time. It’s a memory creator. A healer. A clarifier.
Music is a time capsule.
We fall in love with harmonized words and they are forever stored in our minds. I can’t remember what I did two days ago, yet ask me to sing the entirety of NSYNC’s first album, in track order, and I will have started before the question was fully formed.
Songs bring back moments in time – like Journey for me.
Full disclosure: I am secretly super pumped and frustrated all at once whenever they play “Don’t Stop Believin’” at weddings. Amped because I’ve known every word since I was five and because it reminds me of car rides with my dad and sister. Frustrated because I’ve known every word since I was five and it reminds me of car rides with my dad and sister.
Journey’s Greatest Hits was our jam. If I’m caught singing it now, I am just a frequent bar goer or an avid Glee fan; but the beautiful truth is, that song – that band, goes much deeper in my mind. It sends me back to my dad’s black thunderbird – windows down; a black-handled, salmon rubber denim brush melodically keeping time on the drum-kit-steering wheel; and Journey on the tape deck as a middle aged man and his two adolescent daughters rock out like nobody’s business down the Garden State Parkway.
Music. It brings people together.
See the Glee fans and I may have different memories that get our shoulders shaking and our hands clenched, like the amplifying mics they are, to remind us to “hold on to that feeling.” But, no matter what the memory tied to the song, the fact remains that it brings us all in unison – in harmony, if even for a moment.
Music is beautiful like that.
Sometimes it can say the things we cannot muster. It formulates words we have unknowingly been trying to find – about the adventure of life, the heartache of love – or the corollary, about the soul filling beauty of loving well.
It’s a storyteller – straight to the heart.
That being said, I’m going to let it speak for me from this point on. Below are a few songs currently resonating with me. Their way with words astounds me. It’s a true art.
Let’s hear what they have to say…
Best That I Can | Vance Joy
“I am trying the best that I can”
“Sick of leaving things half done, leaving things half said”
“This weather’s no good for growing things”
Pioneers | The Lighthouse and The Whaler
“I was wishing we could go back to how it was before age impaired our speech
I was wishing we could go back to the house, our hands pressed in the concrete”
“Hold on, I feel like you’re a little bit too far away”
Sister | Andrew Belle
ALL the lyrics. All of ‘em.
“So tell me what happens when the waves break
And you’re surround,
He tries to kill you
And you allow it”
“Sister I remember
The morning light on evergreen,
What seemed like forever
Was just my mind escaping me
The smell of blood left on the seat,
Was that your way of proving
We look the same from underneath”
“Over and over he says
I will surround you
I will surround you
I’ll never leave, my beloved, I’ve found you”
You Can Be All Kinds of Emotional | The Lone Bellow
“Oh, we can dance around what happened
Play the music soft and low
And you can be all kinds of emotional”
Shake, Shake, Shake | Bronze Radio Return
“Line the room
You find a drink and drain the glass as fast as you can think to
The cheap perfume
In a room of people watching it intoxicate you”
“It stings your ears, but this is what we trade our hearing for
The crowd stands still
No one’s moving, they’d just rather stand and wait until
Someone starts to move”
“You know your only mistake is if you stand still
It’s only up to you”
“I’ll dance with you,
We’ll dance together until everybody’s moving too”
One Day | Kodaline
“You always try to see yourself
Through the eyes of someone else”
“Too shy to say that you need help
You and everybody else”
“Oh, life passes you by
Don’t waste your time
On your own”
“As your heart gets bigger
As you try to figure out
What’s it all about”
Suitcase Full of Sparks | Gregory Alan Isakov
“Traveling through the graveyard with a suitcase full of sparks
Honey, I’m just trying to find my way to you
“I quit counting stars that night in the cold by the satellite field
And I quit panning gold,
Yeah, I’m just trying to find my way to you”
“Opened up my guitar case and all the songs were blue
I haunted all the alleys
Lord, I drifted down the valleys
Honey, I’m just trying to find my way to you”
Antichrist | The 1975
“She said ‘How can I relate to somebody who doesn’t speak?
I feel like I’m just treading water
Is it the same for you?’”
“Well I love the house that we live in.
I love you all too much.
Is it the same for you?”
Word By Word | Bombay Bicycle Club
“If I could tell you gradually
word by word, you’d take it from me”
Guns Out | Young the Giant
“You’ll drive in my car
Just tell me we are going somewhere
Where the stars meet the sky
And all these people with small dreams
Are looking up at the big screen
Well am I wrong or am I right?”
Can’t Stop | OneRepublic
“I know I can live without you
I can live without you everyday
I know I can live without you
And put life off for another day”
“No I never get used to silence
But I don’t hear, no I don’t hear
I don’t hear you anymore.
I know I had to look hard to find it
“I don’t want to live without you
And put life off for another day”
All I Want | Dawn Golden
“While I try to forget
I used to be something great”
Paris | Magic Man
“No I’m not ready to lose everything I know
I’m letting go of
You know I held on too much
I left you at the station
I put you in my past”
Drop the Game | Flume, Chet Faker
“I’ve been seeing all, I’ve been seeing your soul
Give me things that I’ve wanted to know
Tell me things that you’ve done
I’ve been feeling old, I’ve been feeling cold
You’re the heat that I know
Listen, you are my sun”
“Hush, I said there’s more to life than rush”
Settle | Two Door Cinema Club
“Learn to fly,
Learn to fly,
Show the world
How you try”
“Cause I see the world
In different colors
To someone like you”
No Diggity | Chet Faker
And this one, because, well, who doesn’t love a FANTASTIC cover – especially of a 90s classic.