Nothing beats the energy of a great concert. Sometimes it can be disappointing to hear that favorite song live, though. The one you’ve played on repeat for months (or years) and know, inside and out. Then the concert date comes, and that song you have memorized, every note and tone, just doesn’t… sound… quite… the same.
I don’t remember who I was listening to, but the other day I heard a clip from a classic rock musician quoting a different musician (way to be specific, Karl!). For the record, I tried to Google it and had no luck:
A record is just what a song sounds like that day. Each time it’s played, each day, it changes.– Author unknown to me, paraphrased
That stuck with me, and got me thinking about musicians and other artists, and how they evolve. One of my favorite singer/songwriters is Butch Walker; he’s done various interviews about how his songwriting perspective has changed as he has grown. His career and sound has spanned from 80’s “hair” metal to indie rock, to his own style. Along the way, he has become a sought-after producer for artists from every genre. Basically, he’s not the same person he was 30 years ago, so how can he write the same songs he did then? (I mean, unless he’s Angus Young…)
Music is Life
Music is what feelings sound like out loud.Georgia Cates, Beauty From Pain
I sing songs that speak from my heart.
They tell my story, how I feel.
If we can accept that artists can change their vision and perspective, we should also realize how we “regular people” evolve in daily life. I’m not the same person I was ten years or even one year ago. My writing here has completely changed over the last couple years, for sure. Parenting, job changes, launching the Foundation, people I’ve met, those I’ve rediscovered, and those I’ve walked away from have all affected my life and how I live it.
Music is a connector for our lives; our brains are hard-wired to link music with long term memory. That song that reminds us of our parents, a relationship, or a moment in time holds an amazing power. But our memories play tricks on us. We mis-remember all the time; our brains change the specifics so we are the hero in the story or the hurt is less.
I got fired a few years back; at the time I was crushed. I had poured my heart and soul into the place, and remembered all the good things I had done. After the emotions settled, though, I started remembering all the times I busted ass for no gratitude. The times I stayed late and came in early, only to be rewarded with more crap. As I evolved, I came to recognize all the bad things that my heart didn’t allow my brain to see. The things I did wrong; the better ways I should have handled situations. Then came the worst part – the part where I was mad at myself for being taken advantage.
It’s easy to say “don’t let it get you down.” At the same time, it’s easy to get swallowed up in it. When we talk about “feeling the feels” we mean that it’s okay to be sad, upset, pissed, whatever emotion. Let it run its course – just don’t let it hang around and build a space in your head. Feel it, then move on.
After all, each day in your life is just what your song sounds like on that day. You will have good and bad days. You will have joys and regrets. As you look back, and more importantly as you look forward, do your best and learn from your mistakes. Don’t be mad that the song sounds different today; be glad that you are still growing and writing new music.