It was 1971 when musician Don McLean posed the above question in one of my all time favourite songs, American Pie. Now, while I don’t believe in all of that mortal soul stuff, I do think that music can really help a person through some tough times.
I met a young woman today named Sydney (I hope I spelled that correctly) who reminded me a lot of myself when I was her age (I am assuming she was in her mid-teens) She told me about several bands that she was into. She mentioned one, specifically called Escape the Fate that really helped her through a difficult bullying experience when she was in middle school.
Escape the Fate
I too, was horribly bullied through junior high and high school and I too, turned to music for solace. This beautiful girl came alive when she spoke about her favourite bands, and her plan to start her own band in the coming year. It seems Sydney is into what she calls the new metal. As a child of the 70’s, I was into the old metal bands like Judas Priest, ACDC and Led Zeppelin.
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin
I listened with excitement as she told me about this ‘new metal’ and how the lyrics really inspired her. It was encouraging to hear that she had found something to help her out of a dark place, something that touched her deeply and allowed her to channel her anger and teenage angst. Just when I was thinking that the music world had been entirely taken over by the boy bands and the Disney brigade, along comes this gorgeous, intelligent and sensitive young woman to tell me that all is not lost. That the youth of today is creating actual music with lyrics that explore real emotions as opposed to the insipid Baby, baby, baby crap that has deluged the radio for far too long. It is my sincere hope that there is new musical revolution on the horizon, one that will dilute the posers of the world (I’m looking at you Justin Bieber) and start a new and meaningful conversation… and hopefully these new bands will actually play their own instruments as opposed to the computer generated beats and melodies that has been passing for music for far too long.
Thanks for the great conversation and Rock On Sydney!
Oh, and Sydney, if you’re reading this, I gave you the wrong email addy… it’s email@example.com (forgot the number 1)
4 thoughts on “Can music save your mortal soul?”
Great post. My first thought is – read this……
You and I are very close in age. If I think back to my youth, I remember that the corporate media were always promoting some attractive, yet anodyne, young person as the next big thing. Older people would mistakenly think that was what young people liked. Meanwhile, what young people, at least as far as I recall, were listening to was much broader than they knew. Did Led Zeppelin even have an “official” hit record? Yet they are probably one of the best known bands of their era. I remember getting turned on to Bruce Springsteen through pirated cassettes of his live shows from older teenagers. It would be several years before he finally broke through and became famous. For quite a while, only a radio station in Philadelphia seemed to take note of him, and, since I didn’t live there, he seemed like an underground phenomenon to me.
I don’t know how things are going in Canada at the moment, but over the past few decades, corporate consolidation of radio here in the U.S. has snuffed out those few lights. The last I can remember enjoying listening to the radio was during the years I spent in Quebec. Because I was desperately trying to master conversational French before I died of loneliness, I had French language radio playing constantly. (Six years of French in school with good grades and I couldn’t understand a word!) Oddly, the language laws there actually made space for local bands that were a little bit quirky to get air play. I still have a lot of fondness for a few of those bands.
When I was young, it always seemed that adults’ perspective on what teenagers were actually doing was a bit distorted. Now that I’m older (Wow, did I say that word? Pardon my foul language.), I’m sure that my perception is equally off.
Btw – I was bullied badly enough in jr. high that I had to change schools, so I know how that feels.
What can one say?
”Been a long time since rock n roll,”