When we get personal with music

“I know how to let the voices and hums and rhythms reverberate in dark moments and in the memories that follow them, the musicians serving as unwitting narrators to a life they have not witnessed.”
– Alana Massey in “Songs I Mourned Men To” for Brooklyn Magazine

Sometimes fans are wrong. Sometimes we may love a song, connect with a song, for all the wrong reasons—at least, if you want to only consider the perceived meanings or the artist’ s intentions when writing the music. But we don’t hear music in a vacuum of the artist’s world. No, we hear it at unexpected times and in unexpected ways. We hear it through our perspectives, through our own lenses. That’s why I absolutely love this piece by Alana Massey.

In the article, she recounts deeply personal experiences and the songs that accompanied those moments in her life. If you study the supposed meanings of the songs or what artists and writers have said about them, some of them follow along perfectly with her experience. Others mostly make sense through her private understanding of them, which is exactly what I wrote about back in 2012 in my blog “Is Music Too Social?”. Massey’s article is probably one of my favorite pieces of music writing I’ve read in a while.


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