Thursday, December 14, 2006

Music for the Melancholy

I should be sleeping...I should be working on my research paper...I should be sleeping on my research paper...but alas, I'm posting on my blog.

So, I have recently been reading the book The Temperament God Gave You by Art & Lorraine Bennett. It seems I have some rather melancholic tendencies...idealism, deep thinking, introversion. Perhaps this explains why sometimes I get into an Alanis Morissette mood; I think she must be a melancholy soul. Her lyrics are candid, vulnerable, and don't glamorize. Even her voice is very honest, not rehearsed and poppy. (Disclaimer: I'm not a fan of her occassionally crass and sexually perverse lyrics, but even still, they betray the very human, gut-level reactions to disappointments, the desperate graspings for a sense of security, the very real brokenness of the human psyche.) Despite the darkness, I don't find her lyrics discouraging; as a whole I find her music quite encouraging . I feel at home with it, I might say.

My favorite listen lately has been "Thank U" from Alanis's
"Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie" album. I love the desire expressed in this song to overcome personal vices, the resignation to the need to change, even the desire to change. This song is quite self-affirming and full of great reminders of what matters most in life. Alanis sings...

How bout me not blaming you for everything?
How bout me enjoying the moment for once?
How bout how good it feels to finally forgive you?
How bout grieving it all one at a time?

Thank you India.
Thank you terror.
Thank you disillusionment.
Thank you frailty.
Thank you consequence.
Thank you, thank you silence.

The moment I let go of it was the moment
I got more than I could handle.
The moment I jumped off of it
Was the moment I touched down.

How bout no longer being masochistic?
How bout remembering your divinity?
How bout unabashedly bawling your eyes out?
How bout not equating death with stopping?

I especially love the "thank you"s. Terror, disillusionment, frailty, consequence and silence ... all are huge catalysts for self-evaluation... all are catalysts to look for something greater than yourself for meaning and direction.

Another Alanis song I love is "So Unsexy" from her album "Under Rug Swept". Lyrics below...

Oh these little rejections how they add up quickly
One small sideways look and I feel so ungood
Somewhere along the way I think I gave you the power to make
Me feel the way I thought only my father could

Oh these little rejections how they seem so real to me
One forgotten birthday, I'm all but cooked
How these little abandonments seem to sting so easily
I'm 13 again, am I 13 for good?

I can feel so unsexy for someone so beautiful
So unloved for someone so fine
I can feel so boring for someone so interesting
So ignorant for someone of sound mind

Oh these little protections how they fail to serve me
One forgotten phone call and I'm deflated
Oh these little defenses how they fail to comfort me
Your hand pulling away and I'm devastated

When will you stop leaving baby?
When will I stop deserting baby?
When will I start staying with myself?

Oh these little projections how they keep springing from me
I jump my ship as I take it personally
Oh these little rejections how they disappear quickly
The moment I decide not to abandon me

I don't really have anything to say about this song at the moment, I just enjoy the honesty regarding insecurities. Musically, the song is a pleasure to listen to. I'm very glad God gave Alanis the talent and motivation to make the music she does.

Okay...It's my bed time :-] Happy Advent to you all!