If you’ve followed my blog long enough, you know by now that I love music.
I not only love it because it is pleasing to the ears, but because so much feeling comes along with music. Music evokes those feelings which are sometimes hidden or which I forget to acknowledge. This is great because part of the human condition, I feel, involves feeling life and not hiding from things that are both comforting and uncomfortable.
I was not always a music lover, but have developed some taste for music since moving to this city. It is easy to go see your favorite artist on a weekday or weekend while living here because so many artists pass by. This is one of the highlights of living here for me. I get to experience seeing these bands, which I love listening to, live. For me, going to a lot of these concerts, has allowed me to really be in awe of the musical talent that a lot of these bands have and also to appreciate unedited and raw music. Perhaps these are times when I think that music is at its best.
Having said that, I am not musically talented at all. I remember that in the sixth grade, when I had to learn how to play the guitar, I totally bombed that. It was traumatic freezing during our in class exam where we had to play a song and having nothing come out of me. The whole room was quiet. I have been shy all of my life, but this moment was soul crushing because apart from the social anxiety, I have always been an overachiever and this felt like failure. So, I pretty much gave up music after this.
Yet, in adulthood, I have developed a liking for alternative bands. These past few months, a lot of my favorite bands came to NYC and like a good “groupie,” I went to see them.
Going to these concerts was AMAZING. I was so surprised by how good these bands and artists are live. There is also something so unique and magical about listening to a band that you are crazy about in a room full of other people who share that “craziness” with you. This in itself is awesome.
I am going to list all of the bands that I saw this past few months and talk a little bit about them.
- Chvrches: This is a synth pop/indie rock band which captured my attention a while ago. What I like about their music is that their lyrics are pretty serious but their music makes you want to dance that seriousness away. Apart from their unique sound, what makes them special is that you want to rejoice in their music even when it is talking about heartbreak or finding yourself. It helps that the singers are actually good and that when ballads do pop up, they send a message lyrically and vocally.
- Daughter: I am in love with this English band. Their music is indie folk and it is really sad at times, but Elena, the main vocalist, is so incredibly talented, that you forget about that. Their sound is also really unique. I initially started listening to them after a pretty bad breakup and their album just encapsulated all those feelings that I was going through then. Now that I hear that album, I am reminded of what was going on in my life during that time, but there is beauty in the fact that this band got me through that tough period. Now I listen to these lyrics and I smile because I realize that music is incredibly healing. This is exactly what their music does. It makes you feel and then it helps you heal.
- Trails and Ways: I discovered this band while I was shuffling through random music on Spotify. They are an indie pop band from California. Their sound is so different in the sense that they combine American pop music with what you would hear in international, particularly Brazilian, pop music. I fell in love with their song, “Nunca,” but have since learned to love a lot of their songs. Their music is a mix of songs which make you want to dance and also songs which really make you think about growing up, love, loss, finding yourself etc. I also like that there are bits of Portuguese dropped into some of their songs and I usually pretend to actually know the lyrics for these songs. I really don’t, but no one can tell me otherwise especially when I am into a song.
- Oh Wonder: I first heard of this band because they were being promoted on Soundcloud. I then realized that they were an internet sensation. I went ahead and bought their album and quickly fell in love with them. They are a pop duo from London who never dreamed of being solo artists, until their side project took off. To me this is amazing because it highlights that there are certain things that are meant to be. For this duo, I feel like being in this band is what they are meant to do. Their pop music is very soft and talks a lot about love. It does so in beautiful ways even when it is talking about love in the form of heartbreak. I think that it has to do with their melodies and also their voices which work really well together. Seeing them live reinforced to me that they are so talented and that they are extremely thankful for the journey they are on. I love this about this band. Their graciousness and gratefulness in fulfilling this dream amazes me.
- Sia: Ok. So this is the only real pop star that I saw in the past few months. I went on whim after a friend asked me to come with him. I am not a huge fan of pop starts, but I do recognize that Sia is very talented and she proved me right. Her concert was great. First, there is her voice and her lyrics, which all tug at my heartstrings. Then there was the performance that came along with her show. There was dancing by the girl who is in her videos and there was video of different artist playing out her songs. I found this to be such an enriching experience because you felt the power of her songs through her singing, but also through the visuals. I felt really connected to her, even though we were in a stadium full of people.
As I wrote this blog, I realized that the major reason why I love music so much is that these artists and their albums have pushed me through some of the happiest and saddest moments of my life. I think that the transformative power of music is just that. It feeds your soul when you need it to and it does help you feel things so that you can either cry it our or laugh it out. Like I mentioned, songs and albums always take me back to different defining moments of my life. This is like keeping a scrapbook for me and has been an invaluable part of my NYC experience.
What are your favorite bands? Is there anyone else I should be listening to?