When you listen to a song, do you ever feel like you experience something within yourself, through the words, tunes or beats of this song, that you couldn’t explain properly to anyone, or even to yourself? This inner experience is only yours, right in that moment, no one else has ever had or will ever have the exact same. A piece of music can take you somewhere undefined.
Even this whole concept in itself is hard to describe and might just end up sounding a bit cheesy. But I believe that all humans have this connection to music, some stronger than others.
From now on there will be a little monthly tradition here on the blog, called “Why these are my #Top 5 …”, listing different subjects every month. I’ll be going a bit deeper into these subjects and try my best to explain how and why I feel a certain way about certain things. (Make sure to comment what you think my next topic should be about!)
This month is about one of the most important things in my life.
If I would try explain how I feel about music, it would go something like this –
Music to me is something completely foreign, something I can’t put my finger on, yet at the same time it’s right there filling up my whole body. A mystical and brilliant part of living. There is always a feeling in me that there is something familiar about this specific piece of music, as if I have heard this song before, in a previous life, or in several previous lives. It brings up feelings and memories that I didn’t even know I had. The tunes of a song goes deep within, moves something in me for whatever reasons, and makes me feel things that can’t be explained properly to anyone without sounding silly.
‘Maybe these feelings are a combination of factors through the whole existence of my body and spirit. Maybe, during the whole time that the soul of my body has been in this universe, it has collected thoughts, feelings, experiences, and in this moment, one specific song can, based on this mixed collection, shake something far buried in this soul, and totally unexpected sensations occur in my consciousness.’
Or, maybe it’s just a hormonal thing. Who knows.
However it may be and how complicated and senseless it may sound, I’m sure there are at least a few of you out there who can relate to this if you really sit down and think about how music affects you.
I believe every song that exists is like an individual person. You have a connection to a specific song, or you don’t. Some songs you enjoy on a superficial level, some you just have fun with, some you want to spend more time with than others, and some you develop a deeper connection with. With some songs it just clicks right from the beginning. Like when you meet someone and you just know straight away that this person will become special to you.
Here is this month’s “Why these are my #Top 5”
Note. Unfortunately almost all of my favorite musicians are men. Despite the fact that the majority of the music industry is ruled by men, I can’t really say why male voices appeal to me more than female ones. Everything has its reasons I guess. However I would really love to see that the industry becomes more equal in the future.
The latest album of alt-j is the most special to me. This is not the type of music I play in the background (if it was playing in the background I would loose all focus on what I’m actually doing), but it’s the type of music that I really listen to and feel in my whole body. I listen to every song like it is the last time I will hear it.
In some ways it brings me to the thought of spirits, and the mystery of the unknown. Steep mountaintops and widespread deserts. Something godly perhaps.
There are so many layers to this album, genius rhythms and beats and every song takes you to a new place and tells a completely unique story. Whether it’s on the top of the Himalayas or far away in deep oceans. So many times their songs have played through my headphones, when I road-tripped through Australia, when I was totally lost in Melbourne for half a year, when I was high and in love in Berlin, when my time in New York went totally out of proportion, or all the times I’ve been home in Sweden trying to make sense of my life.
They’ve played in my ears on every bus-train-car ride, and they’ve been there through every heartache. And the crazy thing is, no matter where I’ve been, or HOW many times I’ve played these songs before, they have still kept moving me and probably will for a long time onward.
SIMON & GARFUNKEL
Ever since I can remember, harmonies have been one of my favorite things with music. There’s just something so very magical about two different melodies combined. And since Simon & Garfunkel are the absolute kings of harmonies, their tunes quickly found their way into my heart. Especially as the voices of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel go so insanely well together, like yin and yang. Nothing quite like it really.
For me, their songs go a lot with the seasons .
For example, in spring I listen more to Bleecker Street and Wednesday Morning 3am.
In summer I play America, The Sun is Burning or El Condor Pasa.
During autumn The Boxer and Leaves that Are Green.
And of course The Sound of Silence and Scarborough fair when winter arrives.
These songs are all very special to me in their own little way.
To me, Bon Iver has the strongest connection to love. He has been there when I’ve fallen in love, while I’ve been in love and when I’ve fallen out of love. His music awakes memories of the warm, deep and almost indescribable feeling of two souls connecting.
I still can’t listen to Re:stacks without being reminded of a 15 year old Lou, experiencing both the upsides and downsides of being in a relationship for the very first time.
We spent every possible moment with each other, me and him, playing music that spoke to us both and which in the end became our music, our songs. And until this day those songs are still imprinted with our shared memories. By just pressing play I almost feel like I’m there again.
Bon Iver also reminds me of myself and who I was during my teenage years. Not of my outgoing-partying-traveling-teenage-facade, but more of the person I was inside, when I was only with myself, trying to figure myself out and finding comfort in music.
When alone in my little room a cold winter day, there could be nothing better than sitting in bed with lighted candles, writing or painting, and repeatedly playing through all the songs of For Emma, Forever Ago.
My dear Johnny, one day we will marry. If not, then you will at least forever be my biggest boy-crush.
Johnny Flynn has been a special musician to me for quite a long time, and he was one of the reasons why I fell in love with country folk. Besides the fact that he’s a British, guitar playing, folksinging, handsome dream boy, there is just something in his music that makes me feel at home. When listening to his first album A Larum, it’s as if I’m back at my forever beloved English countryside, getting reminded of the simple life close to nature that I wish to live in the future.
Nick is a quite recent discovery for me. Although at the same time, he’s been around for a while. My sister listened to his music a lot and I had a few favorite songs by him among my playlists. But it was only recently that I discovered what a brilliant musician he is. You could probably call him the Jimi Hendrix of contemporary folk music, making his high level guitar picking sound quite effortless.
Like most of my favorite musicians, some of his records create a whole new environment in my head and suddenly I find myself in another place. Rain that kicks against the window, books and folktales, gray skies, creaky wooden floors, chilly autumn winds, lighted candles, warm hands, dark tree tops, fields far covered in fog.
It amazes me how all of this is gets drawn up in my head, painting a whole new reality, just by listening to his music. It is as mystical as life itself, and I’ve found myself with a deep interest not only in the music but also in the story of his life.
Find a documentary about Nick Drake here.
Some other similar musicians that have become important to me; Sufjan Stevens, Radical face, Fleet Foxes, Joni Mitchell, Mumford & Sons, Temples, Laura Marling, Kings of Convenience.
You can follow me here on Spotify and brows through my many lists which I have sorted into categories like ‘Seasons’, ‘Moods’ or ‘Genres’.
Finally, I would love to hear your own stories, and please comment your favorite musicians/artists as well!
There are few things I enjoy as much as discovering new music, so keep listening and keep sharing!