Is there such a thing? Sadly, I think not.
I think music can soothe and comfort you, it can help put you back on your way, but I do not think it can mend heartbreak. That takes time and friendship and surrounding yourself with loved ones… but most importantly, it takes your brain, and healthy, positive thoughts.
With all that said… music MUST be a part of that.
While I have been sick I have watched a lot of TV… and most of it sucks… but, there was a PBS Pledge Drive special on Dr. Daniel Amen and his new book/program Change Your Brain, Change Your Age. You can get the book at your local library, and the gist of it is to adapt healthy habits for your brain, which will in turn, turn into healthy habits for your skin and your body and your general well-being. The logic seems sound and the advice is smart and practical… and to have people around you thinking and doing the same thing is even healthier and more powerful.
Music can put you in a healthier mindset and most definitely on the path to healing. It can help calm you and help you meditate… Music can do so much.
But sadly, it cannot do it all. In a crazy, twisted world, music on its own is not enough. There are very real evils in the world. They usually rise out of a hunger for power and within poverty and ignorance; the latter two often kept in check and controlled by the despots and tyrants who rule. While peace and love and a true respect for the individual and the group is the goal, we must not back down from a fight… we cannot back down from a fight.
On HBO was a special on the women of Afghanistan… arrested or showered with acid for having sex. In today’s news was a father and his two children and another child murdered at a Jewish Day school in Toulouse, France, victims of a hate crime for simply being Jewish. Iran playing verbal and strategic games as they arm themselves with nuclear weapons, looking to become the masters of the Middle East and wipe out so many people in its path, including its own people. Syria slaughtering men, women and children as the Assads desperately cling to their puppet dictatorship… concerned only for their own money and power. Joseph Kony raping and slaughtering women and children and forcing others into his murderous army. Yet ANOTHER genocide in the Sudan… How is it possible that it is 2012 and we say ANOTHER GENOCIDE?????
ENOUGH!!!!! MY HEART IS BROKEN.
Today you get two albums… First time ever for that here… But maybe we need two… Maybe that is what it will take.
One comes from something I heard Henry Rollins say about how playing The Ramones on the battlefield would have the Jews and Palestinians coming together in mutual appreciation… putting down their weapons and finding common ground in music. Perhaps… While a bit naive and more wishful thinking than anything else, I would like to believe it, too. ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished…
The other comes from a song I first heard when I was working my first post-college job… I was the Assistant Stage Manager/general PA for Italian American Reconciliations at the Manhattan Theatre Club, directed by John Patrick Shanley and starring John Turturro, John Pankow and Laura San Giacomo… I know, amazing. They were all wonderful, by the way, especially as people!
John chose the famous aria “Nessun dorma!” from Act 3 of Puccini’s Turandot for one of the great and funny romantic scenes in the play, and it was and continues to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard…
Album one is The Ramones – Greatest Hits
“Blitzkreig Bop” is the first song and ought to do the trick… I’d play that a whole bunch… and while “Beat On The Brat” may convey the wrong message… “Judy Is A Punk”, “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker”, “Rockaway Beach”, “Cretin Hop”, “I Wanna Be Sedated”, “Rock ‘N’ Roll High School” and “Do You Remember Rock And Roll Radio” are all exactly what the doctor ordered…
Album two is Luciana Pavarotti’s Puccini (a 9-disc set of Puccini’s greatest operas) but you can also get the separate recording of Turandot, which I believe was from 1973, and features Zubin Mehta and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The entire Turandot is absolutely gorgeous. For those of you who read this blog a lot, you know that I came to opera very young… Yes, I did use it (unsuccessfully) as a way to impress the girls, but I also fell in love with it… thanks to my Dad, who was handling the advertising for Beverly Sills and the New York City Opera.
As I said before, “Nessun dorma!” is not only one of, if not the most famous arias in the world, but certainly one of the most heart-stopping, tear-jerkingly beautiful ones. Tears flow freely whenever I hear it, which makes me realize how close our emotions really are and how they are so tied into each other…
What that means is simple: Stop, take a deep breath in, let the air and the music roll around in your chest, in your heart, in your brain. Take a moment, sit with that inside of you… all of that… and then make a decision, then act, then move forward.
Let the breath and the music help you and heal you and put you back on your most glorious journey… that of life and love.