Hearing is Believing

Posted: September 26, 2011 in Indie, Pop, R&B
Tags: , ,
One-itis: a condition characterized by increased heart palpitations, abnormal levels of excitement, instant fascination, constant admiration and an overall sense of enamorment. It’s love at first sight – you see them and you get weak in the knees, butterflies in your stomach. You think about them constantly, you want to see them, talk to them, be around them any chance you get. They’re always in the back of your mind and somehow are able to affect your mood and you’re not sure why. You get flustered around them, can’t concentrate, and they start to occupy your every thought. Perhaps I’m alone in this, but over the many of years of my music education, I’ve come across songs that have had this same effect on me.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The first time I heard “Unthinkable (I’m Ready)” by Alicia Keys, I was being pampered at a salon and it came over the speakers. It was a track on whatever mellow CD they had playing and I was completely hypnotized. Everything and everyone around me was blocked out except that song. I had never heard it before and I tried to remember as many lyrics as possible so I could look them up later and figure out the name/artist of the song (I swear I’m not insane). I wasn’t surprised that it was Alicia Keys because her voice and lyrics are always so honest and real. It’s about a woman going through the reasons she’s ready to take things to the next level with her significant other, like she’s finally having a conversation about it (Drake provides the male vocal as it echoes softly in the background, completely overpowered by Ms. Keys). Her lyrics go “If we do the unthinkable, would it make us look crazy/Or would it be so beautiful” and “Time is only wasting/Why wait for eventually”. Admittedly not all of us have had this conversation out loud, but it’s definitely gone on in our heads before, which is why it’s impossible to ignore.

We’ve all heard Adele’s “Someone Like You”. For all the girls out there who have suffered from heartache  (which is all of us), there’s no way you cannot die a little inside every time you hear this song. The epitome of lost love and the inability to let go and move on. The sadness, anguish and loneliness in Adele’s voice is so clear that you are automatically captivated and it stirs up emotions which surface so blatantly that it’s distracting. Saying things like “I heard that your dreams came true/I guess she gave you things I didn’t give to you” or “I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited/But I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t fight it”, perfectly illustrates a classic broken heart. She’s in a nutshell reciting my entire love life (or lack thereof); and I can picture myself thinking what she is, doing what she’s doing and feeling it too. I mean how can you not feel for this poor girl? My favourite time to listen to this song is when I’m driving (alone of course so as not to embarrass myself) because I end up belting out the words as loud as I possibly can, as she does, as though to let out all my despair. Quite invigorating.

This final track has given me the worst case of one-itis I’ve ever had. The National’s “About Today”, is the tale of a man voicing his concern about his significant other being distant and him not knowing why. He senses things aren’t right between them, and this insecurity is causing him to bring it up. Matt Berninger exhibits such real sentiments, bringing every emotion to life and inevitably dragging the listener in. He also forms the song in shape of a conversation, where he himself plays both parts. Simple lyrics like “Tonight you just close your eyes/And I just watch you slip away”, plus simple repetitive guitar riffs add to the sense of finality in the song. Not to mention, the forlorn and haunting sounds from the violins which only add to the dramatic tone of the track. His voice is deep and impactful as always, but in this song sounds defeated. There’s nothing he can do: he knows it’s over, we know it’s over and can’t help but feel for him. So much so that I can’t even listen to this song while driving because it’s dangerous: I get into my own head space and completely lose touch with my surroundings (no, that doesn’t sound crazy at all). This song is responsible for turning my stomach into knots, throwing my mood off and severely wearing out the back/repeat buttons as I’ve pressed them so many times because I just can’t contain myself.
Everyone will have songs that give them one-itis, and they will differ from one person to another, based on our individual experiences. But when you hear it, you’ll need to hear it again. Once is never enough. You’ll want to be alone with the song, whether it’s by asking people around to quiet down or by inching closer to the speakers so you can absorb it, have that moment again and get that feeling again. Sometimes you just can’t help it. The song strikes a chord with you (no pun intended) right off the bat, it’s love at first listen and there’s an instant connection. It’s chemistry you can’t deny. It’s understanding. It’s the ability of the artist to translate feelings into words so masterfully that we, the listeners, feel like it was written for us. Like they took a chapter out of our lives and validated it, gave it credibility. Then every time you hear it again after that, you can’t help but believe it.
  1. Neesh says:

    Thanks Anonymous! Whoever you are….

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