Emotional Music and Alternatives

I appreciate the opportunity to say things here and have you read them. Yes, you, the individual. We may know each other or may not. Either way, I appreciate you. Thanks for taking the time to come to this blog and invest in what I write. That means a lot to me.

I honestly don’t have a lot to say right now about music. I’ve blogged before about how music is therapy for people, and how different types of music can be therapeutic in different ways. This morning was a little rough for me with some difficult conversations. Part of it is just the job of being a manager. Another part of it is just facing some realities of life, and for me seeing some of my worst faults play out in other people. That’s a very deep thing to dive into and I won’t do that here. But I mention the topic because I can’t find music to provide a therapy for this stuff. Maybe it exists. For now, silence and contemplation are the best medicine, because I learned a lot from the difficult and trying talk earlier today. I learned a lot about myself, other people, how groups of people work best, and how life is. Maybe I’ve going to clarify all this stuff later but not now.

Nirvana was my prefered choice for "angry music"
Used to, I’d go through tough stuff that involved people, be it a friendship, working situation, or something with a team mate and the stress from the conversation(s) would leave me wanting something to take my mind off the issues or fuel the anger I felt towards the situation. It’s easy to find music that fits with your anger. It’s everywhere. My choices for angry music usually involved thrashing guitars, screaming vocals, and (admittedly) some profanity in the lyrics. That music just fueled the emotion, but it didn’t bring any clarity to the situation or how to fix it or even help me deal with my responsibilities in the problem. It helped me stay mad. Maybe there’s a place for that kind of angry music. Counselors would probably argue that angry music is unhealthy in most forms. Maybe so. But just bottling it up doesn’t do much good either, so perhaps an avenue that lets you really vocalize the deep dark stuff isn’t so bad in some ways. It’s certainly not healthy if that’s the only avenue you take to deal with tough stuff.

I don’t listen to much angry music anymore, mostly because I don’t like being angry. But I do still gravitate towards more progressive rock if I’m agitated or upset. Yet, I still move towards deep music about pain and hurting people when I feel upset, and there’s no genre or category that has the monopoly on those emotions. Johnny Cash, Tracy Chapman, Brandi Carlile, Nirvana, Lyle Lovette, Bruce Springsteen, Tupac, Strung Out (a great metal punk band if you haven’t heard them), Green Day, (and the list goes on) are all artists who have powerful songs involving hurt people, being misunderstood, being angry, being taken advantage of and all wanting some outlet to express themselves and be known. And they’re all producing very different forms of music.

This is why, for now, silence is the best medicine for me. That’s a strange thought if you really think about it because it’s my job to invest in music most of the waking hours of my day. I should be exploring some form of music either to play on The Appetizer, to fill some piece of programming or to fill some void in the uncertainties of my emotions. But I’m not, and I don’t think I can right now. The opposite of filling that with music is letting my mind and heart talk a bit over the beautiful overtures, chorus, and verses of silence. To quote a parody song writer, whose name escapes me at the moment: “Silence, music’s original alternative. Roots grunge.”

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Host of the syndicated radio program The Appetizer heard on public radio across Texas and online from our Listen Now link; enjoys conversations, music, food, art, storytelling, and people. Connect with me. Would love to hear from you.

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