Thursday, 15 August 2013

About Literary Songs

There's a repetitive beat, not very exciting.
There's a fragile voice of Agnetha Faltskog, with a little tear in it.
The video shows a grey day in Sweden, just another day of commuters.
And on top of that, the lyrics are only a recount of every hour of the day: 'At this time I must have taken the morning train, at that time I must have had a coffee,...'
And so it goes on, for almost 6 minutes.
A simple memory of 'the day before you came'.
The singer can remember it that well, since all her days were identical.
She might as well have sung: I did something boring with someone insignificant in a dreadful spot.
So how is it that this song grabs you by the throat, has become a classic?
It is right because of putting the words on music: the lyrics are OK, the music is OK... but together they clash and shape a work of 3 dimensions.
The message is: nothing has changed.
Before you came or after you came: it doesn't matter. Nothing changed.
Life, this song is telling us, is sad. It's a boulevard of inexplicable longings, fulfilled dreams that are the same as broken dreams... and there's nothing we can do about it.
We sit on this every day train, with expectations, but expectations is all we will get.
Even if we do not study the texts, do not analyse the song, do not intend to grasp its meaning: our intuition does that for us.
At such a point, music, as literature, becomes art.
The message is not told, it is fed to us in a sneaky, subliminal way; it slips in between the cracks, breaking through our neo cortex straight to a deeper place: the place where we store our memories, all the tiny little dots and wires in our head that shape our intuition.
This is the whole difference between 'a book' - and literature.
Between craft - and art.
In the days to come, I want to tell more about such 'literary songs', talking about literature alone can be boring... but put it on music, and the message can break through the last cultural or educational barrier. Making the message available to anyone.
No art form is 'better' than any other: they can assist each other and create something entirely new.
In the case of literature: Music is the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down.

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