I am writer, reader and philosopher. What I am not is a music listener, lover and connoisseur. I don’t understand the delight in going to concerts; I can’t fathom the reason to don a t-shirt proclaiming my undying adoration to the Thriller tour. It is not that I don’t like music, I do. It just doesn’t move me constantly. It serves for me as nothing more than static white noise while I contemplate the mundane (work), inane (stupid ideas) or profane (counter-culture).
Without a doubt there are songs that speak to me. I enjoy them not for the beat, rhythm or melodic cacophony of screeches crescendo into heart ache. They speak to me because of the words that are contained within its harmonic reverberations. I’ve written post about such songs.
Thus I was whiling away another commute home and taking a break from NPR when my ears tuned into the music blaring from my eight-way speaker system. Sting was singing about how he wanted someone not to stand so close to him. I thought now why would he sing that? Did the person stink? Perhaps as a rock star he wanted his ‘space’. I don’t know and didn’t really care until I picked up the fragment of one phrase in the song about a school girl. What the hell?
I began to listen to the words and couldn’t believe that a song I had heard to for decades was about statutory rape. While not explicit in the lyrics it is implied through innuendo. I know that the song written by Sting is hardly the pinnacle of egregious criminal behavior but it serves as an interesting foundational question of music ability to transform culture (didn’t see that coming did you?). It is an ancient debate and not one to which I wish to rehash here. It is however curious that after so many years of listening to a single piece of music I’m suddenly struck with the absurdity of lyrics.
So ultimately the title of this blog is true. I don’t listen to music. I certainly hear it. But mostly I filter it out unless on the rare occasion I cut out the notes, dampen the melody and listen to the prose. It is there I find joy, sadness and anger.
Oh and on another note can someone tell me why I’m trying to figure out the words to Gwen Stefani’s latest clap trap song Sweet Escape?