YOU ARE HERE: / Zharth's Music Log / Week 26 (Inspirational Music)

Zharth's Music Log

Week 26: Inspirational Music

Preface: I'm a pretty cynical person. I've been burned by society, and I know about emotional pain. Blues is in my blood. But at the same time, there's a thread that runs through me that carries an unbelievable amount of hope. Hope that, at any time, there's always the possibility that things may get better, no matter how bad it seems. And the general feeling, that despite all the pain and suffering that goes on, there's just *something* about life that makes it really special - and ultimately, worth living.

Monday (1/14/08): Wet Willie - Keep On Smilin' [Keep On Smilin', 1974]
Comments: It's surprising a song like this doesn't come off sounding way too happy-go-lucky to me, but there's just something about the positive lyrics - the fact that they don't deny that bad things happen in life, but emphasize having a positive attitude - that make me feel good. It's like the Far Side comic about a guy whistling through his chores in Hell - the Devils remarking, "You know, we're just not getting through to that guy". The idea that maybe you can enjoy life, even if you're in hell. It's just such a positive vision of hope. "Keep on smilin' through the rain, laughin' at all the pain."

Tuesday (1/15/08): Robin Trower - Alethea [For Earth Below, 1975]
Comments: I love this song. I also love Robin Trower. One great thing about Trower is that although his music is relatively dark/heavy, and concentrated in the blues, he has a lot of songs with uplifting messages. "What seems so bad now could easily change for the better." What a great message. Maybe I'm blessed for my ability to not let the despair that floods life destroy all hope - and I'm willing to believe that my solution isn't right for everyone - but whenever I think of a situation where a person is in a position where things are so bad that they'd rather be dead, I think to myself, stick it out, it's not worthing giving up everything - things just might get better. And isn't that reason enough to continue? Well, maybe not, but it is for me.

Wednesday (1/16/08): Trooper - Raise A Little Hell [Thick As Thieves, 1978]
Comments: I'm pretty laidback and non-confrontational, so sometimes I'll sacrifice things just for the sake of not having to speak out. But sometimes that in itself puts me in an uncomfortable place. This song gives me confidence to take what I want out of life, with the reassurance that it's okay if I have to raise a little hell in the process. You can't *always* think about everyone else; sometimes you just gotta do something for yourself, and there's no reason to feel bad about that.

Thursday (1/17/08): Triumph - Fight The Good Fight [Allied Forces, 1981]
Comments: It's easy to get discouraged. Life is frequently an uphill battle. But when everything and everyone's got you down, you have to remember just that - that it's a battle, and you've got to keep fighting. Fight the good fight, every moment of every day - it's your only way. I've gotta say, for an inspirational song - and one from the 80's, no less - this track rocks, and I like it a lot.

Friday (1/18/08): Van Halen - Right Now [For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, 1991]
Comments: Ignoring whatever political connotations this song may have, I've always been moved by its call to immediacy. The whole idea of 'being present', existing in the moment, and taking action to realize your dreams now and not later. It's not necessarily effective for me, as I'm a pretty lazy person, but it does manage to make me feel like maybe I *should* get off my ass and do something to make my life the way I want it to be. I saw Van Halen perform the song live once, and it brought a tear to my eye.

Saturday (1/19/08): Tom Petty - I Won't Back Down [Full Moon Fever, 1989]
Comments: "You can stand me up to the gates of Hell, but I won't back down." It wasn't at first, but one random time while listening to this song, I picked up on that lyric. And it just hit me. The idea of being so confident and so determined to overcome a task, that you won't hesitant a second, even if it means charging right into the very depths of Hell (and how many classic fantasy adventures require just that?). Sure, maybe it's stupid - but isn't that what bravery is all about, anyway? And besides, the important thing is that the notion of it is so empowering. You can reassure yourself that even if you do end up doing the wrong thing, at least you'll have done it all the way.

Sunday (1/20/08): The Rolling Stones - You Can't Always Get What You Want [Let It Bleed, 1969]
Comments: "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need." The Stones play a ballad, but the message is true. I know just as well as anyone, that wanting something bad enough is not a sufficient condition for getting it. But as this song suggests, if you try, you just might find that you get what you need. And sometimes, the difference between not getting what you want, and getting what you need, is merely a change of perspective. Think about it the next time you don't get something you really want.