Warning: I go to a pretty dark place in this one, so read at your own risk. Also, do not think I'm deranged because of this post. I am a normal, happy, psychologically balanced person. I swear.
I'm in one of those moments when I wish my post time was some other time. Three weeks ago I had such a tough week that all I wanted was to never post again, and this time, all I want is to have been able to post last week. While we did get a solid post from Aliza (one that apparently everyone liked because it's racked up almost 100 views in the week it's been up), I feel like what I'm about to write about would have been more potent last Wednesday while it was actually happening instead of now as I write about it in retrospect. However, the impact was still strong enough to warrant a post about it. I'll get into it in a moment, but first, a little about the title.
Diary of a Music Nerd was started as a bit of an experiment that never panned out in the way we at Arbitribe thought it would. In early October, a few months shy of our first birthday, we decided that new features needed to be added to spice the blog up a little, and while one never came to be, Diary of a Music Nerd drew its inspiration from my passion for music and a post I had written earlier that year with the same title. It was meant to be a weekly or bi-weekly short running column where I could just shoot out an observation about music whenever the whim struck me, drop a recommendation about a band I was digging at the time, review/discuss new releases, and just generally get into the subject from a "Jewish Metal Musician" perspective. It was a way that I could write about what I love but without disrupting the continuity of Arbitribe as a whole; it was supposed to be a way to keep the theme of the blog but still have that option on there for those who might find it interesting.
Now, obviously that's not what happened. Due to constraints within the Blogger interface, a serious demand on my time from school and other obligations, and our regular posting staff dropping like flies, among other things, it didn't quite work out. Almost a year since the original post was written, there have been only two more posts bearing that moniker and one was an absolutely impenetrable mass of music philosophy which I'm pretty sure is my least viewed post to date. At this point, DoaMN has been pretty much shelved.
That being said, I will still tack that header onto something if I feel that music played a central role in an experience that I think is necessary to share or at least is worth writing about. So just because you see that header, don't just skip the post because you're afraid that I'm going spend the whole time nerding out; it's only there to highlight the important role that music played in the story, or more likely, that the story wouldn't have taken place without music. With all of that long preamble now out of the way, I bring you the story of last week, which would certainly not have happened without music.
I had a bad day on Tuesday last week, but it was like a sneaky bad day because I didn't realize I was having it until it was almost over. It was just long, draining, and packed to the brim, and I walked into my room to wind down for the night in a very foul mood. Not foul like testy and irritable, just I was kind of emotionally drained. Something like that. Anyways, similar to waking up still drunk after a night of partying hard, my mood spilled over into the next day, and I woke up in a serious funk. However, aside from the lack of motivation to do anything, I couldn't and still can't quite pinpoint what exactly I was feeling. It was just that something was off. It was in this emotionally whacked out state that I began to go through my customary morning internet perusal.
Aside from Facebook and email and all that other stuff, there's a metal blog I read that posts from 10 AM to 5 PM Monday to Friday every half hour (ONE DAY ARBITRIBE, ONE DAY!!). Normally, the 10 AM post is something funny or ridiculous to get the day started, but that day, what greeted me was a post about an early 2000's noise-rock band, a favorite of the blogger, that had broken up earlier that day. I had never heard of the band, but someone suggested a few songs in the comments as an introduction to their music. I followed up on his tip and looked up one of the songs on Youtube, and so 20 minutes after I woke up I was faced with one of the most powerful musical experiences I have ever had.
You may have noticed that I didn't put up the name of the band, the song, or even the blog (though some of you may know which blog it is). There's a reason for that: I'm trying to spare you from psychological damage. What followed when I pressed 'Play' was close to six minutes of raw, primal, unbridled rage. The lyrics made no sense, the music consisted of a dissonant chord pattern, and the vocal melody was deliberately atonal, to the point that it's debatable whether or not this thing can actually be classified as a song. The effect of that absence of all musical merit was that there was a void that was left in the "song" and what spilled into that vacuum was emotion at its most primitive, pure level. As it turns out, the emotion evoked was vitriolic, psychotic fury, which proved to be detrimental to my already fragile emotional state that morning. Long story short, I had that song on repeat for an hour for no reason that I could even begin to try to understand, and as I stewed while it slowly filled me with anger, I became aware of a growing desire to completely destroy my room. Eventually though, I shut it off and got on with my day, and after a little while, my mood regulated and everything was normal.
Um...does anyone want to try and explain what the FREAKING HELL happened to me back there? I'm a deliberately nonviolent, happy person who loves everything because he's a hippie and can't remember any time that he actually wanted to physically hurt anything, and yet I was fantasizing about tearing my room apart in a violent fury. And lets not even get into the fact that I will cry like a baby when my parents eventually sell the house because I grew up in this room and the child in me never wants to live anywhere else. What the heck? Thinking about the whole experience afterwards tripped me out a little harder than the actual experience itself. What can make a person feel the opposite of everything they think?
The point of this all is that music is powerful. REALLY powerful. When I first got into metal everyone always told me that the music you listen to changes you, and this is the first time that I can say with absolute certainty that they're right. It was kind of scary. There's stuff out there that, like this song, is pure energy, and if you open yourself up to it, it can take over you. Oblivious of that, I sat in my room for an hour, systematically devolving while the vocalist spit acid into my ears. It was a powerful experience that really freaked me out, and I'm pretty sure it's obvious now why I didn't name names. I know that not everyone is as plugged in, and therefore as vulnerable to the effects of music as I am, but it never hurts to be a little more careful with your emotions, psyche, and soul.
I guess if you had to classify this it would be a cautionary tale: you are what you eat...sorta. You get the point. I guess maybe I just wanted to write about it also; it's a pretty cool concept if you can dissociate yourself from the emotional context of it and look at it "scientifically." Think about it, just listening to music can have a profound effect on a person on a deep psychological and emotional level. That in and of itself is a pretty awesome, powerful thing to consider.
I feel the need to end this on a less heavy note, so here's this: SHBOINGGGGGG!!!
Song(s) of the Day: The Energy - Audiovent