Louder Than Words

“If I still fight, it’s just that I’m afraid I’ll slide under that spell again”

Twice in my life did I have to consider the question ‘what makes music universal?’ (or something along those lines) in an exam question. The obvious answer, I think, is instrumental music, like soundtracks and orchestral pieces, because there are no words which can create any sort of barrier between cultures. Someone once commented here about how they enjoy the power of nostalgia that music can have and me being a huge Hans Zimmer geek, I can tell you the nostalgia is strong with his music. I remember once, after years of not watching The Lion King (which I used to watch literally every day when I was little), I heard his piece This Land and I flat-out cried. It still makes me emotional whenever I hear it.

Last year, I found these bands who play instrumental rock and they’re so fantastic. I use their music to study or to read usually because it has such a calming effect but also this kind of power in it, and when you’re planning to sit down for a 7 hour study session a sense of power is 100% needed. The band MONO is my favourite of this kind. They’re Japanese and their album For My Parents just gives me goosebumps. I actually managed to read an entire book in one day because it kept me relaxed and turning those pages.

Besides instrumentals, I wanted to talk about music in different languages. Now I really love Iceland (if my friend is reading this, she’s probably rolling her eyes and smiling right now because I REALLY love Iceland). It’s a country I’m dying to visit so that I can see all of that nature up close and personal. Plus the fact that nature takes up more than half of the space than actual people gives me this impression of still, calm quiet which I feel everyone needs from time to time. I also really like the language so getting into Icelandic music was not difficult. There are several bands I’m into but Sigur Ros takes the cake. They have a song that forces me to stop what I’m doing, sit down and listen every time. A lot of the time I find that when I’m listening to it, my face involuntarily screws up into this expression of emotion because the song is so tragically beautiful that I can’t help it.

This is the kind of stuff that I think probably has more of an effect on listeners than any other music because it transcends words. It appeals to something other than your understanding of lyrics and I think that goes a lot deeper.