I don’t know if everyone experiences music the same way, but I find it extremely powerful. Songs like “Borning Cry” and “How Great Thou Art” almost always bring a tear to my eye, mostly because the lyrics touch me so deeply in a spiritual sense.
Songs like Pat Benatar’s “Hell is for Children” and “Invincible” make me want to scream out in anger about the abuse of children and women in our society. My generation came of age with these issues in front of us, and we were perhaps the first to say “what you do in the privacy of your home is not your own business if you are hurting others in the process.” These messages, set to powerful music, still make me shiver when I hear them.
Then there are the songs that are so full of energy that they simply make me jump up and down. You know, powerful rock music with a pounding, throbbing beat and vocals that are just as likely screamed as sung. The lyrics are often about sex, alcohol, and/or loud music, and make me feel a little like a “bad boy” when I scream along. People have told me that this kind of music has no redeeming value, and they may be right, but it somehow fills me with a kind of vitality that is hard to explain. AC/DC is probably my favorite band, and since most of their music fits into this category, I have a lot of it on my i-pod when I run.
When I ran in the Fargo Marathon last month, the organizers used AC/DC’s “Shoot to Thrill” to get us runners energized just seconds before the race started. We were already excited, but when the loud music began pounding through us, we began screaming and jumping around. Being in the middle of 3,000 energized athletes all waiting to start running 26.2 miles was euphoric: I’ve never felt anything like it in my life!
Today, I put AC/DC’s “Back in Black” CD into the player in my pickup while I was driving to the grocery store. I turned up the volume, and when “Shoot to Thrill” came on, my mind returned to the Fargo Marathon’s starting line. A shiver ran through me as remembered how alive I felt that morning just 6 weeks earlier. Angus Young’s guitar filled my ears, and I again felt powerful and virile, ready for anything, including a marathon! It’s simply amazing what music can do to me. I was again transformed from a middle aged desk jockey into an omnipotent marathon stud by just a few guitar riffs.
To those of you who still feel that rock music has no redeeming value, I’m afraid I have to disagree! I’m still experiencing the power of that song hours after hearing it, and I know you don’t want to mess with an omnipotent marathon stud!