Music is amazing. For me it can function as white noise or a source for existential breakdowns, and also every point in between. As I state in this, the main reason I like to listen listen to music is because of the lyrics. The emotions and stories behind the words is what usually brings me to call an artist a favorite of mine. Some examples of excellent lyric writing would have to be Nana Grizol, Bright Eyes, and the Mountain Goats to name only a few (Ursa Minor by Nana Grizol is in fact one of my favorite albums of all time).
The idea for this poem came from a conversation I had with a friend who’s really into music. I asked him about a band and he said he enjoyed their music. When we tried thinking of the same song, I thought to just remind him of the single phrase that’s repeated constantly in the song. Like half the song is just that repeated phrase. And he couldn’t recall any lyrics like that. Then he asked me what the melody of the song was, and I gave him the same blank stare he gave me.
I think the beauty of art is you can enjoy it anyway you want. I could go my whole life thinking of songs as poems with some noise in the background, and if that’s how I see it then that’s how I see it. However, I feel like my unfamiliarity with music theory and the like gets brought up more and more nowadays, and every time I’m getting more tired of it.
But getting into music is scary. It’s so floaty and where would it take me even? Obviously I’m not looking to become the next ukulele star, nor do I expect that’s even a possibility. But it’s a daunting task, and without a clear outcome I’m very hesitant to learn how to write music and songs. I’m trying to focus all of my energy on film and some writing, learning mastering those arts because of their connections to me. But music is so amazing! It’s calming and just learning other people’s songs on my ukes is fulfilling.
Nonetheless, the poem comes from this place of tension. Of wanting to know more and go further without having the energy to. It’s honestly an exhausting spot to be in, but I’m still figuring stuff out and that’s alright.
So long and hang in there, just most of the semester left…
-Jonah J. Sobczak
P.S. In the video, I am playing Death with Dignity by Sufjan Stevens, (also an amazing lyricist if you were wondering)