Thursday, September 27, 2007

Emotion & Music

Music is so visceral. Off and on all day at work I was experiencing these periods of physical anxiety--shoulders hunched and tense, moving stiffly, etc. I wasn't having any particularly anxious thought patterns and was going pretty much about my business normally. And in between those periods I would ease up, feel lighter and free-er. Well, I think it was one of the albums I had on nonpod rotation today. Today's selections included the only two KT Tunstall tracks I own (because they mentioned her on NPR this morning), an album called "Cake" by the Trash Can Sinatras and an Ali Farka Toure cd. KT Tunstall is clearly harmless and the Trash Can Sinatras are something like a 2000's version of Wham! It turns out Mr. Toure was really getting me down. On a casual listen to Ali Farka Toure I would never have realized the mood of his music was such a downer, but my body knows! Of course I have no idea what he is saying, but as I listen to it more clinically I realize that the melodies played out over the bongos and string instruments of Africa are deeply melancholy but not in the obvious drenched-in-minor-keys method of the American blues. This is something subtler and therefore somehow far more intense. It is the African blues. I don't think I want to have the blues, so I'll be taking that you out of the rotation for a while, Ali! But I must say, you really know what you're doing.