April 13, 2014

When Music Gives us “the Feels.” ~ Richard Bamford


I love music.

By this I mean true love—as innocent as a mother’s first glance at her newly born child.

As heart-wrenching and suffocating as losing a close friend.

Yes, to me music is that powerful.

It can evoke emotions in me.

Life can be mundane. Any one day can have pockets of bareness. Music for me fills in the gaps around such emptiness. It can change my perspective. It can stoke the fires of depression or light the candles of happiness.

My therapist would say, “Don’t listen to Radiohead when you’re feeling down.” To which I’d readily reply, “But it helps me get in touch with it—to embrace it, then let it go.”

I guess I’ve always found it easier to fuel sadness by keeping it private and relentlessly wearing a soft coat of warmth and happiness. Nobody likes the notion of being vulnerable and everyone chooses how many protective layers they’re going to wear.

In my private room of solitude, sorrow can heap on havoc as long as I keep feeding it.

While I clearly find it easy to plump the cushions of glumness, is it also possible such a powerful force as music can elevate my soul, ascending to a crescendo of optimism? Yes, and there are a great many songs that do it, in fact. One that ultimately jumps into my head whenever I think of a sickly sweet happy song is Spyro Gyra’s “Morning Dance.”

From the second the needle drops onto the plastic, I know that I’ll soon be swept away in its phonic imagery of spring and sunshine.

It’s like the audio equivalent of yoga’s deep breathing.

It’s toffee-apples dipped in chocolate and honey.

It’s fairies bobbing graciously with butterflies.

Yes, it’s almost too much enforced artificial sweetness but, to me, it’s my spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. It restores my faith in life and humanity for its three minutes and 58 seconds.

Steel-drum led, alto-sax entwined, Rhodes piano plinking smooth jazz isn’t usually the top of my list for listening pleasure, in fact, the thought of such things might make some feel quite unpleasant. My disdainful nose of snobbery would usually snort at such melodic marimba but, “Morning Dance” by Spyro Gyra gets me every time.

So go on, try it. Even if it does make you feel angry or uneasy, the fact that it’s made you feel something means that my love of music’s power isn’t just the spouting of a sanctimonious old fool. It’s pleasure, sadness, fear and anger—it’s emotional.



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Apprentice Editor: Jess Sheppard/Editor: Travis May

Photo: Spyro Gyra


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Richard Bamford