“Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?”
“Today, try free writing. To begin, empty your mind onto the page. Don’t censor yourself; don’t think. Just let go. Let the emotions or memories connected to your three songs carry you.”
A repost from Writing 101 June edition, but, hey, it’s not like these have changed in the mean time 😉
Hotel California by the Eagles, even before I could understand the lyrics, took me to strange and marvelous places. Always hazy of emotions, nothing clear but full of soft feelings, like another world where you belong despite never having set foot there. There is a highway indeed, it sizzles under a dense fog like it’s both tremendously hot and cold at the same time. And maybe it’s is all that this song is to me, the highway, the way, the going somewhere more important than the where. That feeling of direction, there is a path, just move your feet and you’ll get there. It’s so rarely about getting there in the end. When you have direction, your highway, you have a home. It’s cozy of the chorus and delightful of the guitars soloing alongside the vaporous landscape of my life, a capricious companion to the path we all walk.
Mozart’s Requiem. That one brought tears to my eyes on numerous occasions and always breaks my skin into goose bumps. It is the divine to someone who does not believe in the presence, the closest I’ve ever gotten to letting my emotions get the best of me and follow the crowds on the “It’s so beautiful there’s got to be a god!” bandwagon. But then I remember my childhood in Catholic School and I know where that comes from. “You can’t fool me” I tell myself. But that requiem is the apogee of the human spirit stretching longing hands toward the unattainable star, to quote Jack Brel. It is us wanting to be more than we are and almost achieving it during that short hour. Just writing about it transports me in that place where I lose myself in things grander than me, things not made for the mind but for the inscrutable beyond it.
Highway to Hell by AC/DC was the reason why I started playing guitar in highschool. It was already an old song by then, but it was the first time I heard it and it hit me in the face like I imagine Mike Tyson would. There was power beyond the riffs and a raw energy in Angus Young’s solos that I had to replicate. That was the coolest thing I could ever achieve. Man, it’s hard to describe now, that intensity of youth, full of itself, of hope and shaky confidence of what’s to come. But each time I hear that song, I turn back to the scraggly teenager that bounced around the dance floor every time that song came on. I saw them live in Lyon, France in 1998 for the Ballbreaker tour and it was the best thing ever. Highway to Hell is my youth, with all its angst and joys, drunken friends jumping around shouting words we did not understand. Rock on, that’s all I have to say. Rock on.