Psychology, Music, and Diatribe…

“Putting change in the jukebox, which can be a very expensive machine for those who need steady noise to keep from thinking. ”

Dr. Thompson

I am a music person and I realize that non-music people would see it as being a nuisance, but for me, it’s a continuity in life. The noise from the speakers makes everything in balance and right. It’s not so much the song, it’s the fact there there is someone out there, talented or not, singing from their soul. There are times that we may find ourselves in an elevator, tortured by elevator music, but hey, it’s still music. Respect needs to be had to the best songs that come across your ears.

I’ll promise you, these are not the songs you would ever think about in modern day life. Actually, they’re probably not even songs you’ve heard of before. For me, I typically get into the music and lose myself after about three glugs of bourbon, but that’s irrelevant. Music haunts, and if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to expand not only your mind but well being.

For me, I have never trusted anyone that doesn’t appreciate a good tune. Case in point I was kinda-sorta dating a guy and his favorite jam was “In Da Club” by 50 Cent. That night ended up a hot mess, but I realized that well, he had no music appreciation. he was stuck, and I couldn’t help him. Music was what drove me away, and what keeps me away. If you can’t appreciate the art, ignore it. there is a capacity to expand your mind and reach out to new material.

In which, in a very futile attempt, ‘m going to try to open the minds of people and encourage personal development.Here is a requested playlist to try to steer you in a proper direction:

“You ain’t goin’ nowhere” The Byrds

Okay, so it’s not really the band that makes this song, it’s Gram Parsons himself. Although, in my personal opinion he was better with the Flying Burrito Brothers, he killed this song. In the entire album “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” most of the songs are sort of bland and had way too much steel guitar. Here’s the underlying situation with this song, it wasn’t supposed to be as fluid because in all actuality it wasn’t a self written tune. Listening to this album and comparing the lyrics and emotions expressed through the lyrics is totally different from the vibe of the rest of the album. If anything, it sounds foreign, almost as if Gram was pushing his talent to a level he was unfamiliar with.

The point is, you never know where your talents are until you push yourself into an unfamiliar zone. Take for instance the accountant that has been sitting behind the same desk for decades. That’s it, that’s life, he never sings anyone elses songs. He plugs away, day in and day out because that’s all he knows. From Gram, this cover song, originally from Bob Dylan, was a sort of exploration of exciting new musical territories. Dylan did the song at Woodstock, however, the song never got the popularity that it deserved. Of course, most people just look at the song as a wicked awesome cover, but others think a bit deeper into it, the lyrics themselves are enough to make you explore your deepest feelings.
“Climb that hill no matter how steep, when you get up to it”

Go for it, that’s what I get from this tune. Push yourself up the mountain, the hill, the ant mound, whatever the obstacle, push until you feel like you can’t push anymore. In that case, start pushing harder on the things that you thought didn’t exist. Let’s think about the marathon runner, there might be a time that his legs ache with the assault up a hill BUT, he is able to adjust his mind to the situation. He completes his task and moves on.

Honestly the rest of the lyrics are sorts jumbled and I’m not quite sure what “ride me high” means, but sure, if that’s what it takes, I’ll do it.

“Careful with that Axe Eugene” – Pink Floyd

Let me express something before I continue further with the diatribe of nonsense. I like Pink Floyd, but only the Syd Barett era. Honestly, anything after Atom Heart Mother can rot and die as far as I’m concerned. Umma Gumma was one of those reasons that I decided that Pink Floyd isn’t that bad. I got a ripped copy of Umma Gumma on an old cassette tape and listened the hell out of it. At the time I was about 14 and had no idea what the hell this psychedelic music was all about. To me it was just something that made my mom wonder what the hell I was on, and at the same time it made me wonder what the hell I could be on. Fact of the matter is that Umma Gumma, Careful with that axe, was one of those tunes that formed my teenage years. Angst, fear, and most importantly lowliness. I felt I was the bottom of the barrel of monkeys.

The absolute primal scream halfway (or so) through the song made me realize the pain that not only I as a teenager was going through, but what people of all generation are going through. The notion of screaming bloody murder is wrong, I’ll say that much, but the scenario of having that axe pointing to your own head is another story. In the context of the song it wasn’t exactly an “axe” that was torturing an innocent soul, it was his own brain.  That axe, for me, is the underlaying eating disorder that has manifested itself without welcome. For this song, the balance of smooth guitar and limited drums is a tell-tale sign of emotion, not just noise.

The greatest part of this song is always when the screams occur. It’s almost like you know they exist, but even when you expect them they still catch you off guard. The parallels in life are the same. How many times do you find yourself somewhere expecting “a” and got “b”. Did you scream bloody murder, did you panic? It’s a blatant example of how scary the world can be if you’re not aware of what’s going on around you. Eugene might have had an axe, but honestly, did you already know he had that axe?

“Oh, well” – Fleetwood Mac

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever thing that the words “Fleetwood Mac” would appear in something that I’ve written, but it’s happening, for a good cause. The problem was that I had a negative stereotype of Fleetwood Mac as being the yowling cat dying on the side of the road sort of band. Digging deeper, I realized that Fleetwood mac evolved, as we all do. They have roots, I have roots, and neither of them are the same roots we’re used to. The “Peter Green” era was entirely different from the Stevie Nix (whatever the hell he name is), Fleetwood mac we’re used to. That transformation made the entire band sort of scoffed at. They lost their roots, they deicded to go mainstream.

This is why I hold this album close to my heart and realize that most people don’t
get it” Fleetwood mac to me is Peter Green and a bad attitude. Fleetwood mac to most people is more of a yowling woman that seems like she’s being tortured every time she opens her mouth. How, on this green planet, is that justifiable. Are we supposed to torture our ears with others pain?

The entire jam is something like nine minutes long, but it doesn’t seem like it. The lyrics are so poignant and personal it’s hard to think of anything besides reflecting upon our own life. Have you lived a life of “oh well”? Are you pretty, are your legs thin?” All questions that develop from this song can be summed up in one of the most iconic lyrics of all music history:

“You might not get the answer that you want me to.”

And that, my friends, is what life is about, not being able to satisfy the entire population at one time, and realize that there are going to be some people that don’t appreciate who you are and what you represent. Perhaps people think I’m off in the nugget to think so deeply, but at the same time, I’m not one to be complacent in the shallow side of the pool. Bring on depth, bring on challenged, and if it doesn’t turn out well I’ll shrug and say “Oh, well”.

“Pusherman” – Curtis Mayfield

Curtis died in 1999, which is probably a blessing to him. In all actuality the culture of music these days is something to be truly embarrassed about. The most excellent thing about this song, and actually, that entire album is that it’s so politically incorrect it’s brilliant. In current times it would be absolutely unapproved of society to see a song like this come into pop culture. The culture now is one that can obscure sex, violence, and drugs in some sort of code system. Take for instance “lend me a line”. Most people from the right side of the tracks would think that it would be a reference to borrowing a phone. Not so much.

Curtis made it front and center. There wasn’t any sort of hiding the facts of the situation, he WAS “the pusherman”. Not only was he “the pusherman”, he was happy with the fact that that was who he was. It’s just a song, but at the same time it was so freaking believable, him being that “n” word in the alley is something we can all relate to. We know it’s out there, it exists, but do we ever actually experience it? It depends.

The entire song is based around an obscure 70’s movie revolving around drugs (big surprise, right?), The most resonating lyrics have to be “how long can the good things last”, which is sort of indicative to modern life. Really, lets break this down into the simplistic form…you’re used to getting coffee at the same gas station and all of a sudden the coffee set up is different, the coffee is awful, and you’re not sure what to do. You’ve been accustomed to that coffee, it’s not there anymore, what are you going to do. You have two options, either wallow in the reality that is change OR make the initiative to make changes for yourself. It might push you past your comfort zone, but really, is it work it?

The pusherman, to me, is the force generated inside of us that craves comfort. The force that drives us to love. Most importantly, the pusherman is “us” not them.

“Don’t think twice, it’s all right.” Bob Dylan

So, perhaps there are two songs on this list that have been attributed to Bob Dylan. Don’t confuse it with the fact that I actually like Bob Dylan. There are certain times that Bob Dylan is the only person in the world that makes sense, all of the other time, he just sort of sounds like a whiny dude with too many emotions. He, however, has a talent to pull emotions out of weird dark corners of your soul. It’s a trick, and sometimes I wonder if he’s some sort of magician that makes words to mess with your mind.

This song, in particular, is one of those that I lean on when things get tough. Being a runner (away from situations), this song holds a very strong tie on me. Everything about it just resonated in my soul. Although I doubt there are any other people in the world that get choked up with this song, I’ll explain exactly why this is the most important song to me, and if you have similar feelings, you’ll understand too. Lyrics, plus explanation too…

“Well, it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
Even you don’t know by now
And it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
It’ll never do somehow

There have been so many times in my life I wonder what the hell I’m doing. At the same time I realize that there is a certain sun on the horizon that I have to keep chasing. I wonder to myself, “why the hell am I chasing something that may not exist”. What exactly am I waiting for, or I guess a better way of forming the question is, “should I keep waiting?”

When your rooster crows at the break of dawn
Look out your window, and I’ll be gone
You’re the reason I’m a-traveling on
But don’t think twice, it’s all right.

And that’s going to be engraved into my tombstone, “You’re the reason I’m traveling on”…for the simple reason that there is nothing in the world that stabs as hard as fake affection does. There are certain levels of continuity in life, such as the rooster crowing, the geese pooping, and you car running low on gas. You deal with it, but matters of the heart are different.

I’ve spend almost 13 years running, and honestly, I’m tired. Very tired. The aspect of life is not so much being a vagabond anymore, settling down with a good reason to stick around is a huge apex for me. I’ve listened to this song in particular a few times, performed by different artists, but there is no connectivity between the artist and the song. It sees forced, such as the relationships we get ourselves into. We push and try to make it our own but at the same tine we’re haunted by songs of the past. We can’t progress until we drop the past and focus on the future songs to be sung.

And It ain’t no use in turning on your light, babe
The light I never knowed
And it ain’t no use in turning on your light, babe
I’m on the dark side of the road

This is by far the most important lyric in the entire song, the simple sentence (phrase, whatever you want to call it) is “And it ain’t no use in turning on your light, babe, I’m on the dark side of the road”.

Ouch. Every single time  hear that lyric my heart bleeds for those that perhaps needed more light on their side of the road. It’s a heavy burden to tote. I care, and something I realize that the care is too much. I try to help people, but at the same time, you can’t help anyone else if you can’t help yourself.

But I wish there was somethin’ you would do or say
To try and make me change my mind and stay
But we never did too much talking anyway
But don’t think twice, it’s all right.

In this retrospect there are limitless opportunities to let your heart bleed out. Emotions are something that we have, but are not tangible in the real world, this is my life. How many times can you find yourself somewhere dumbly making it through the situation without actually being present? What sort of life is to be led if you live behind a shield? This is pretty straight forward, it’s impossible to be happy unless you take the initiative to make it happen. That means pruning out the dead wood of your life and growing new tissue.
So It ain’t no use in calling out my name, gal
Like you never done before
And It ain’t no use in calling out my name, gal
I can’t hear you any more
I’m a-thinking and a-wonderin’ walking down the road
I once loved a woman, a child I am told
I gave her my heart but she wanted my soul
But don’t think twice, it’s all right.

So long honey, baby
Where I’m bound, I can’t tell
Goodbye’s too good a word, babe
So I’ll just say fare thee well

I ain’t a-saying you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don’t mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don’t think twice, it’s all right.

Towards the end of the song, I sort of lose it. The point is that the lyrics illustrate the nonsense that life contains. Teh fact that there is always some sort of tug at your heart that will distact you from your goals. Of course, there is room for improvement in all of us, but the bottom line is that if you love someone, you’ll take the flaws, the quirks, and especially the little things that confuse the hell out of you. We’re all rocking on this planet, let’s keep our chins up and quit judging. Take wise words form Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, and especially the Byrds…life is wonderful…but only if you let it be.

(tacky reference to a song by that guy I don’t like)

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