Which Came First - The Music Or The Misery?

Food for Thought

Music and misery


                       This is probably a tough question to answer. However, the close association between the two would make the eternal bonding between guns and blood very jealous. Misery existed since the day man learnt to hate another man and music existed since the day man learnt to express hatred. When words fail, music holds its banners high aloft a sea of passion and soul. This very passion can move mountains, no matter if it’s made of benevolence or belligerence.

The common love we share for music’s many warm notes sums up to society’s many misgivings that make life inanimate. This love/hate equivalence appeals to millions, making music an engulfing solace for every disgruntled soul on earth. Thus, the conclusion that misery begets music is an absolute no-brainer.

The innumerous unwanted elements existing in common man’s society is the very cause for hatred and hostility. These, accompanied with emotional poisons have turned humanity into a race that is constantly disgusted. With everything. Life becomes miserable, a prison hotter than a ballroom in hell. We want to rebel against everything that fails us. Anarchy, vendetta, despair and revolt rule our minds. But it seems as if this gory battle against conscience is the one which we are losing.


Music or Misery

We feel alone and desperate. That is when we seek the lyrical comfort that music has to offer. We get hope from music. Those ungodly truths of reality are presented in a sing-song fashion, enabling our minds to get wrapped in affirmation. We can breathe much easier, knowing that someone out there is going through the same mishaps as we are. This probably is a big claim but if we think about it, the argument can be broken down very easily. Music has always been a medium for expression of deeper regrets in human minds. Music greats like John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Frank Zappa, and Robert Plant spoke about ideas of tyranny, betrayal and global depressions. War being the best human crisis, many artists have made their stage shine by including subjects of war and projection of peace in most of their works. Some names that come to mind are Led Zeppelin, Dream Theater, The Who, Megadeth, Sex Pistols etc. and more recently, progressive rock heavyweights Porcupine Tree and Blackfield. The expression of these subjects in music has gained a mass-cultural enigma that has gripped millions. They found unity through music. Those long craving ideas of love and freedom seemed possible. We followed the ideas and we followed the music. Cobain spoke about preserving our individuality and dealing with problems like a rock while Lennon spoke about one unified world and a common religion. Other famous rock icons too spoke about ideas of liberty and peace. Such revolutionary ideas bring about a solution for misery on the whole. This strengthens misery’s position as the cause for music addiction.

We often come across moments when we try to take any idea that has been lurking in our head and put them in words. This idea then transforms into a rhythmic form and adding a little bit of poetic brilliance, turns into a song. An idea that can be better understood with a tinge of romanticism. Beautiful as they may be, most of us write short poetic verses when we are a little put as opposed to being excited or elated. That is because when we are happy, we are so busy happily celebrating happiness that we miss the chance of actually relishing the moment. Music, and in fact poetry, can hence be credited to the acceptance of one’s situation, no matter how grave it is. This makes for good music and overall satisfaction. The front man of British Rock band Queen, Freddie Mercury once mentioned in his interview that his most celebrated creation, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was written when he was lonely and gradually coming to terms with a fellowman’s illness. Not just Mercury but many other rock icons have once in a while created a masterpiece as a meagre attempt to battle horrible times in their glittering careers. When we write about misery, the simple words we manage are like time capsules, reminding us of the moment that created them.

Make or break the moment, the reflections of it always remain. Such is the way music is treated by some of us. A reminder. A memory jogger. Something to give us a laugh later on in life. The fact that we like certain types of music at certain points in life is a proof of the fact that our situation decides the music we listen to. There is no paralleled counter-argument: Misery is the cause, Music is the effect. I end by quoting one of my favourite artists of all time, rock legend, Elvis Presley - “The truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.”

Photography By: Zubair Alam