The Healing Power of Music & Tunes o’ the Week!

I don’t know about you, but I find music can be very healing and cathartic in tough times.  This past week, my dearly loved grandfather passed away after battling a blood disease for the past two and a half months.  It was a very difficult time for my immediate and extended family, because my grandfather, or Opa as we grandchildren referred to him (that’s german for grandpa, I think), was such a strong patriarchal figure who ruled the family with stern love; an odd combination to some, perhaps, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way.  I am very close to all my cousins and aunts and uncles, and I know I have my Opa and Oma to thank for this, as their focus was always on family.  I feel that even through this difficult event, our whole family has been drawn that much closer and that was a great feeling for me; perhaps one last gift that our generous Opa gave us, as unintentional as it may have been.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I find music can be very healing.  Music can bring your deepest emotions that you try so hard to hide, right to the surface.  A good song can be a strong embrace, a shoulder to cry on, or simply enough, a time for reflection. In difficult times, I find that certain songs can bring new meanings that you never noticed before in the song.  This is more prevalent in songs that aren’t necessarily “sad-themed”, because the meaning doesn’t necessarily jump out at you until you go through something difficult, unlike songs such as Tears In Heaven or Everybody Hurts, where the theme is very apparent.

In this week’s Tunes o’ the Week, I’m not focusing on dreary tunes entirely, but a few that have taken on new meaning in the last week (particularly the first two).  And a few that are just downright awesome, so have a listen and enjoy!

Elliott BROOD – The Valley Town When my time comes, this is what I want played; dueling ukuleles and an upbeat, yet subtly somber affair (listen to the words of the final verse).

City & Colour – Body in a Box As I was sitting at my Opa’s funeral and I looked at all the hundreds of people gathered, all the beautiful flower arrangements surrounding a photograph of him, and so many people sharing about how wonderful of a friend, grandfather, father and business partner he was, I couldn’t help but hear the words to this song play in my head and ring so true: “We celebrate the lives of the dead / It’s like a man’s best party only happens when he dies / We gather around to pay our respects / While their souls are still searching for the light”…

Attack In Black – Liberties The song that made me want to hear every other song by this band… unfortunately, none of the other songs on this album are even half as good.

The Swell Season – Astral Weeks Live cover of Van Morrison’s classic; fantastically done with such emotion.

Against Me! – Because of the Shame A good friend turned me on to this tune, which is quite different from their other work.

Armchair Cynics – Coalmine I know, I know, this is a pretty “pop-y” tune and I will be judged by the music snobbery… but I can’t help but kind of enjoy it, so sue me.

Dan Mangan – Robots If you don’t know Dan Mangan, he is acoustic rock excellence; this tune is a great example of either how music can be fun, or a deep metaphor…or both.

Hope you click the links and enjoy the tunes, let me know what you think!

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~ by whet_hopped on September 17, 2010.

4 Responses to “The Healing Power of Music & Tunes o’ the Week!”

  1. Sorry to hear about your Opa, sounds like he was a great role model. I have a bit of a soft spot for the Armchair Cynics too so don’t feel too bad about it, and Dan Mangan is one of my current favs. I saw him perform at a free Olympic show and he was great.

    • Thanks, Scott! He was indeed a great role model and will be greatly missed.
      I’m curious about your soft spot for Armchair Cynics. Explain, if you wish! I’d love to see Dan Mangan live so I’m a little jealous, perhaps in the upcoming year when I have more moolah to burn.

  2. Thanks for the great tunes to listen to. Body in a Box is about as appropriate as it gets about a persons life. Opa truly infected(I say that in a good way) a lot of people and it was a great “going out” party.
    Loved The Valley Town, but not sure about the drummers expertise. Just an amateurs observation.

    • You’re very welcome! 🙂
      It’s funny because Kendra emailed me after reading this and said she was also totally thinking about Body In a Box at Opa’s funeral. I told her that I thought it was an amazing day and I had just wished that Opa could have been physically present to see it all, but as the irony in the song goes “A man’s best party only happens when he dies”. Either way, it was the best “going out” party I’ve ever been to.
      Elliott BROOD’s ‘The Valley Town’ is a simple yet magnificent song. I think it’s remarkable what those guys can do with two ukuleles and a drum set. On the studio version, there’s a little bit of horn and bass as well which is a nice touch, but I like the energy of the live performance. –Just watched the live performance again, and all of a sudden heard some bass in the last verse and it took me a minute to realize where it was coming from. If you look at the seated ukulele player, he’s got bass foot pedals, just like the bass pedals of an electric organ. That’s pretty cool! Also, I didn’t realize it the first time through but the drummer has a cymbal sitting on his snare drum. I have never seen that before, it gives the drums a nice dynamic. And the drummer is indeed good, because that’s not a super simple beat, as much as it may appear that way.

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