With or without lyrics

Depending on my mood and mind, I listen to music with or without lyrics. Not long ago, someone said to me that they disregard lyrics when listening to music, but they also don’t like to listen to instrumental music – not postrock, not ambient, not classic. They listen to mainstream music and are touched too, but on a completely different level than I am.

I listen to instrumental music to write, and the tone of the music, the melody, the tempo, the intensity, they guide my words and writing.

I also listen to a lot of other music – I am not limited to a particular genre, though I have favourites too. If there are lyrics, they have to be powerful and inspire stories or poems in my head. It doesn’t matter which genre it is.

Is it because I am a writer that I think lyrics matter? Is it because I am a writer that I admire music without lyrics?

I try keeping an open mind when it comes to music and genres. Not everything is for me, and I am quite picky and peculiar. I know what I like and what I don’t like. For me, music needs to touch something in me. It needs to make me feel, and it doesn’t matter if other listeners like it; for me, it is a subjective experience.

Not long ago, I was asked to write a review for an album that was released yesterday. ‘Are you in love?’ by Basia Bulat. It was published on a blog called ‘At the Barrier’. I felt humbled and proud that the creator of that site offered me to write about music. And apparently, I am not all that bad because he got in touch again and sent new music to review. It feels surreal, but maybe I was made to do this, it comes naturally to me, and there is always this melody or that lyric, this tune or that progression that I like or can imagine other listeners to like.

There are days when I am like music without lyrics. Intense but raw and real, overwhelming too. On other days I am like music with lyrics. Chatty, bubbly, always real, but a bit shallow.

Some people say that there is no good new music. I say: there is a lot of talent, often enough it is hidden and not what mainstream charts suggest. But if you stay curious and open-minded, you can find beautiful music and talented artists that touch you on every corner.

Music is a passion, and I understand that others don’t share it, but for me, music is like a life’s breath. I need it to exist. It saved me more than once, and it keeps me sane.

Here I am, a 37-year-old woman. Mother, wife, educator, writer, poet, lover, and I admit that music is what keeps me alive.

What is your biggest passion?

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