It is all about the music, truly. Could you imagine life without it? Music is one of the most essential elements worldwide; triggering old memories, creating new ones, it’s the crucial backdrop for major events, ceremonies, rites and traditions. It fills the silent crevices in blockbuster hits and 99.98% of commercial ads. It’s piped through store speakers and annoys every person on hold with customer service. The very fact that its genres and sub-genres are so vast has created this massive, global dome whose infrastructure is constructed by human-shaped bubbles of individual taste. It’s consistently fluid, a constant evolution of compositions that will inevitably touch someone in some way. Millions (if not billions) of people claim that music drives them, inspires them, feeds their passion no matter what it is they’re moving toward. Many writers are among them.
I’ve read several author’s comments that attributed story ideas, feelings or even characters to the songs of their favorite bands. I have one such story. Just one song, and at the risk of really aging myself here, it’s “Into the Night” by Benny Mardones. To me, the emotion of that song, instrumental and voice, more than the lyrics, is the very essence of the classier side of the 80’s. Those elegant, highrise parties in the heart of the city – and I can’t explain why it, above all other songs sparks such a sense of story inside of me, as if it needs to be given something a lot more complex and detailed than just a few verses and a chorus. It just does.
That’s not to say that my creative energy has never been stimulated by other songs or types of music. It happens all of the time. I’m often listening to music as I write – though, this is more a matter of necessity over desire. In a house full of other people, I find it easier to concentrate over the background noise of music versus kids squabbling or Seth MacFarlane’s antics on T.V. Sometimes while driving – for I can’t drive without music, it’s the only way to channel my road rage (you think I’m kidding) – a song will come on that reminds me of one of my characters or even plants the seed of a new kind of character in my brain.
Sometimes, I’ll come across songs that haven’t been noted as inspiration by anyone, yet I’ll swear it fits a particular story to a T. A good example is author Stephenie Meyer, who is probably the most well-known writer for crediting certain bands for her famous series – most specifically or frequently, I should say, being the UK band, Muse. I’ve yet to hear or read that she claimed inspiration by Bush, another UK band (and one of my personal favorites); yet here is part of the second verse of their song Machinehead:
“…Blood is like wine, I’m conscious all the time. If I had it all again, I’d change it all…”
See? Makes me wonder. (That was a nod toward another one of my favorite bands. Anyone know which one? – without cheating?!)