Music Is What Feelings Sound Like

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I love music. It has helped me make a boring work day go faster, idly pass time or grab some friends and dance. As someone dealing with a chronic illness, music lifts my mood even when I don’t realize it needs lifting, hugs and comforts me when I’m sad and articulates my feelings in ways I can’t. I will pretend I’m the singer or do little daydreams and fantasies and form a little story around the singing of the song. The type of song changes throughout the day as my mood and health changes. Music, in short, entertains me, helps me get through my day and sometimes takes me away from my chronic illness and transports me back to a time or place when I was not sick.

When I hear a new song and fall in love with it, I can and do listen to it repeatedly. At some point I will discover a new song and the repeat option on my mp3 player gets activated once again.  Currently, it’s Adele singing a live version of One and Only.

I, like so many, fantasize that I can sing. A song I pretend I can sing is Independence Day by Martina McBride. One of my favourite versions is a duet Martina did with Pat Benatar on a CMT Crossroads show. And since they are both great singers in their own right, in my mind I can sing like Martina or Pat.


I will put music to work for me. When I go to the dentist, along comes my mp3 player. I’ll start playing a relaxing cd and before I know it, my appointment is over. A couple of cds that I listen to are Namaste and the soundtrack to Hero. The song that made me buy Namaste is called The End of Suffering.  The video has Thich Nhat Hanh ( a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, a poet, a scholar, and a peace activist) as the artist but it’s actually Phap Niem & Gary Remal Malkin.  There are other videos on YouTube that has spiritual teachings read by Thich Nhat Hanh as part of the song.

The soundtrack for the Chinese movie Hero starring Jet Li was composed by Tan Dun who is a Chinese contemporary classical composer.  Itzhak Perlman performs the violin solos for this emotional soundtrack. Hero is also one of my favourite movies. Here’s a review of the movie and a link on YouTube for the movie. (What did we do before YouTube?)  OK, back to music.

Have you listened to any internet radio stations? There’s a jazz station that I listen to when I want to relax or fall asleep. And there are so many varieties of stations and music. I can listen to Christmas music in July,  folk, electronic dance, soundtracks or music by decade.

Words are also music to my ears. Comedians such as Lewis Black, George Carlin and Billy Connolly always make me laugh. And my favourite author, Neil Gaiman, did a tour for a book that was released in 2009, The Graveyard Book. Each city that he visited, he was videotaped reading a chapter and answered some questions from the audience.

The last song I picked is from the Holly Cole Trio called Cry (If You Want To). As you listen to the words, how many times do you wish you had someone in your life tell you the very same things that are said in this song. Sometimes we all need to cry (if we want to), due to the many stresses of our chronic life.

Cry (If You Want To)

Cry if you want to
I won’t tell you not too
I won’t try to cheer you up
I’ll just be here if you want me

It’s no use in keeping a stiff upper lip
You could weep, you could sleep, you could loosen your grip
You could frown, you could drown and go down with the ship.
You can cry if you want to.

Don’t ever apologize venting your pain.
It’s something to me you don’t need to explain.
I don’t need to know why
I don’t think it’s insane
You can cry if you want to.

Well, the windows are closed
and the neighbors aren’t home
If it’s better with me than to do it alone
I’ll draw all the curtains and unplug the phone.
You can cry if you want to.

You can stare at the ceiling
and tear at your hair
Swallow your feelings and stagger and swear
Show things and throw things and I wouldn’t care.
You can cry if you want to.

Well, I won’t make fun of you
I won’t tell anyone
I won’t tell lies
but you do what you should’ve done
I won’t advise you to go and have fun.
You can cry if you want to.

Well, it’s empty and it’s ugly and it’s terribly sad
I can’t feel what you feel,
but I know it feels bad.
I know it is real and it makes you so mad,
You could cry.

Cry if you want to
I won’t tell you not to
I won’t try to cheer you up
I’ll just be here if you want me to be near you.



    1. This is the second time this week I’m using this word but…serendipity at work. I have the cd that Cry is on but I have it stored in a binder. I was thinking about what music to include and rediscovered the song. It explains so well what we really want to hear as opposed to the “there…there” responses we sometimes get.

  1. Maureen,

    This was great…I had never heard any of these songs. I know I am way behind with Adelle, everybody knows who she is but me. I have to get with it. The Cry If You Want to Song is the best…I even listened to it twice.

    mo (Maureen!)

    1. You are not the only one who has to get with it. I wouldn’t have known about Adele if she wasn’t mentioned in someone else’s blog. I rarely listen to traditional radio any more. Glad you enjoyed Cry. I think those words will resonate with so many of us.

  2. My stays in Canada, listening to the local CBC radio stations has exposed me to a whole range of performers, as has a friend with an incredible LP and CD collections. I know the name Adele, but not the music. Thanks for sharing.

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