Love is expressed in many ways, acts of service, gifts, words, actions and I think most importantly to me, through music. Nietzsche once observed that without music, life would be aimless, and I tend to agree. Music, spanning different centuries and genres, performs a variety of roles for people in their daily lives. Some listen to songs or instrumentals all day, some rarely listen but when they do are thrown into an experience, and importantly, some listen to music to make them feel connected to their lovers and their experiences of love.
Whether we resonate with rap, classical, house, techno, country, alternative, heavy metal, or blues, music is an incredible vehicle for expressing emotions and capturing our internal experience of life. I don’t believe there is truly a song that can be defined as a ‘love song’ – each person experiences a tune and a verse in a different way, and each song will carry a different meaning for each and every one of us. In times of strife or newly-discovered truths, we use music as a vessel for carrying our emotions, expressing what we can’t say or don’t know how to.
There have been many instances in life where I have been lost for words, unable to explain myself and my situation, and I put on ‘Slow Dancing in a Burning Room’ by John Mayer and realise that something that never made sense to me before suddenly was my real life. I play ‘Only You’ by Steve Monite and I instantly smile, thinking of my best friend and her obsession with playing it on repeat. This is the transformative power of music. It is governed and defined by the feelings of love we either have, don’t have or are pained by.
Music brings us to our knees, the same way love does
Music brings us to our knees, the same way love does – and sometimes we take solace in being able to express the pain we feel the same way we dance for joy when we are in the thralls of passionate love. The two are inextricably linked whether we realise it or not. Sometimes I listen to songs that remind me of people no longer in my life, and I can’t bear it. I am transported to another moment and time. As the song reaches the chorus, the exact space you occupied, the emotion you felt and how far you now are from that all becomes clear. Music is what love sounds like.
Other times I hear a song playing in the local newsagents and I am reminded of dancing with friends at a school dance, over the moon and filled with an unexplainable joy. The love you feel is neither specific nor random, the music that makes you relive that or even experience it for the first time makes you feel as though you don’t have much choice on the matter. You are taken by the moment, by the sound, and as cliche as it sounds, you are forced to feel.
“If music be the food of love, play on!” With these opening words of Twelfth Night, Shakespeare captured an essential bond between two things without which no human being should have to live. This Valentine’s day, embrace love and the power of music to make you feel that love. I promise it’s worth it. Music is how we decorate time. It is temporal but transcendent, and without it, I don’t think we can truly experience love.
Check out Boar Music’s special Valentine’s Day playlist: