Though I don't often listen to music while I'm actually writing (it's slightly distracting) I do find myself inspired by music...and then of course there is the fact that I'm constantly singing or listening to music.
I feel that music is a big part of who I am...I'm still trying to figure out why I love the songs that I do. I don't usually enjoy music if I don't know what the lyrics are- and I believe that a song has to be connected to a movie or story that I love for me to become emotionally attached to it. This has been part of my discovery that I am at heart a storyteller, and that everything in my life revolves around the telling of a story.
This also probably explains why I'm not big on many of the popular bands and music groups. I tend to go for movie soundtracks- and usually musicals. There are exceptions of course (like Simon and Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" which was written for the rather perverted movie "The Graduate" but is still and amazing and moving song) but probably 90% or more of my music is from movies. The songs that I list on my favorites are almost exclusively so.
So why do you listen to music? When you do you listen to it? In the car? While doing the dishes? While writing? Do you respond more to melody or lyrics- or the combination of both (as I do)?
While you ponder that, I'm going to share some of the music running through my ipod right now. I've put my list of favorites on shuffle...so...here are some songs I'm listening to, and some of my thoughts on them as I do so.
(I don't usually write random thoughts and reflections down in this blog, so enjoy this!)
Right now I'm listening to "Wishing You were Somehow Here Again" from POTO. That is perhaps one of the most hauntingly sad songs of that musical (though they are all rather haunting and sad) and definetely on my list of favorites.
Next is something more lighthearted..."The Simple Joys of Maidenhood" from "Camelot." This is what I would call a satire song (another great one being "Me" from Beauty and the Beast) and is hilarious. The bonus is that I have the original Broadway cast recording with Julie Andrews singing it!
"Reflection" from "Mulan." My sister got me into this song and I've really grown to feel a connection with it. I think most of us can understand the feeling that the world sees a differant person than we really are.
"Just You Wait!" from "My Fair Lady." My best memory of this song comes from several years ago, at bible camp. I was canoing with a couple of my friends and (after getting lost on a side river) we rounded the last bend and one of them burst into a rousing chorus of "Just You Wait!" Most hilarious.
"May It Be" from "Fellowship of the Ring." I don't think any music will ever be able to bring up as many memories as something from LOTR. I spent a good three years of my life completely absorbed in these books and movies...reading them, researching them, drawing pictures, writing fan fics, and of course, ultimately making my own version of FOTR. And beyond all this, I honestly feel that this movie trilogy is one of the best ever made. The creative team behind the production was just able to capture the beauty and depth of Tolkien's world the way I don't think any filmmaker has ever been able to do in an adaptation. Truely something that I, as a filmmaker and writer, deeply appreciate.
"Sigh No More Ladies" from "Much ado about Nothing." The beginning lyrics. "Sigh no more ladies, sigh no more, but be ye blithe and bonny, the fraud of men was ever so, since summer first was leafy" and it is perfect when I'm in a slightly medieval mood...
"Bless Your Beautiful Hide" from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I LOVE this musical! It is so funny and so...outrageous! I would love to write a novelization of this someday, it seems like it's begging to be written! And yet I wouldn't mind another film adaptation as well. I'd love to see what a new director would do with characterization (since I recently saw the new version of Sabrina and was very pleased with the character development they added. Scandelous, I know! But then, I'm curious about the new "My Fair Lady" for this same reason.)
"Far From the Home I love" from "Fiddler on the Roof." Maybe it's because I have a vague wondering whether I'll ever end up leaving home to follow someone I love (I certainly wouldn't put it past myself to do so) but I've always loved and identified with this song. And yet, it's strangely funny, that a female sings this song when, after all, the biblical mandate is for men to be the ones to leave their families...
"Singing in the Rain" need I give explanation for this favorite? Has there ever been a soul who could listen to this song and not at some point in their life be tempted to burst out dancing on a rainy street singing the first lines? Really my only favorite part of that musical...
"I won't Grow Up" from Peter Pan. Over the past two years I've been dealing with growing up. And it's strange because at some point in every one of our lives we have to come to the realization that we are not children anymore. We are adults. And as such there are certain things that we can no longer do without being immature and irresponsible. We have duties and expectations that we must live up to. Still, at the same time, it is important to keep a childlike heart- a childlike faith- and a childlike imagination, even while maturing and growing in wisdom and love.
"Playing with the Big Boys" from "Prince of Egypt." This probably seems like a strange selection, so let me explain. Prince of Egypt may be an animated film, but in a strange way it really captures the flavor of the biblical story in a way that is extremely powerful. When I watch this scene in the movie, I am always reminded of how evil and false the gods of Egypt were. The darkness that comes over the room, the smoke, the evil voices of the magicians- the fear that dominates these people. And yet Moses knows that his God is with him- and I can never for the life of me understand why he doesn't stop the whole thing- except of course that you don't just stop elaborate musical numbers. ;) But seriously, this is one of those moments where as a Christain I think I can see depths in this song that many others would pass over.
"Marian the Librarian" from "The Music Man". Ha- this is just one of my fun favorites. How could it not be? It's fun, and witty, and...it's in a LIBRARY!!!
"Something There" from "Beauty and the Beast." Until I heard the new songs from the Broadway musical, this was probably my favorite B&B song. One of the reasons was that in the film it's the only song in which the Beast actually sings! But also I love how it shows them falling in love...and so unconventionally!
"Hoist the Colors" from POTC3. I have to admit, when I first heard this music, first saw this in the theatres, I got chills up my spine. I knew at once that this movie was going to be radically differant from the others- daring, chilling, darker...and yet...in a strange way I loved it. And since then I've always loved the 3rd movie more than the others. In a way I think it depicts the darkness of the times more accurately than the fun and life of the first one, or the wierd plot-absent Jack/Elizabeth-shipping of the second one.
"When you taught me how to dance" from "Miss Potter." This was a beautiful movie that charmed it's way into my heart...and it is for the movie's story of art and writing and tender love journey as well as for the beautiful melody and lyrics that I love this song. It's actually during the credits of the movie, so if you haven't watched them all the way through...do so next time you see the movie!
"Molassass to Rum" from 1776. This is another one of those chill-inducing songs. I first saw it performed in a professional theatre with the lighting effects and it's really...thought provoking. For those unfamiliar with the story, at this point in the drafting of the Declaration, the northerners wanted to include something about the freedom of blacks as well as whites. But the southern representatives protested this, and the song is sung by their leader, showing the northerers their own hypocrisy, because it is a cycle - molasass to rum to slaves- that the northerners financed (something with the molasass or rum...can't remember exactly). It's just one of those songs that shows the uglier side of history and makes you go..."oh." And the look of horror and yet unability to contradict was SO evident on the faces of the northerners (the actors who played them)...so well done.
"All I ask of you (reprise)" from POTO. This is one of the great songs of unrequited love and is another that nearly always brings emotion out of me. Unrequited love, really truely shown in all of it's pain, is rarely explored as well as it is in POTO (although the character of Snape in the HP series is another heartwrenching example). This song in particular sums up the despair and anger that drives the Phantom..."I gave you my music/made your song take wing/and now, how you've betrayed me/denied me and betrayed me..." Oh the anguish!
And I will finish with another song from "Camelot"...the title song of course. Lively, sweet, hilarious, and yet a bit bittersweet. This is the during the most glorious time of King Arthur's reign- when he wooed and married Guienever, when Camelot was the center of Chivalry in England, and Might was used for Right. When there, in short was simply not, a more delightful spot, for happily-ever-aftering.
Mmm. So there is my rather rambling blog post which I had fun writing, and which I hope will give you some amusement too. And now, it is your turn. Either in the comments below or perhaps on your own blog, would you please share some of your own favorite songs, why you love them, and what keeps drawing you back to them?