The Power of Music


pearljam2.JPGSo I just got done listening to the new Pearl Jam album, Backspacer.

I confess, as a child of the ’80s, I was never much of a PJ fan. Grunge put an end to the musical era that I grew up in, and it’s only now, a long time after the fact, that I can give a band like Pearl Jam its due.

But that’s really not what I want to talk about. Let me try to get back on track here. Eddie Vedder and Co. (among others) ushered in a music era in the early ’90s punctuated by angst and inner turmoil. Now, almost 18 years after they first hit the scene, Eddie and his grunge-y Pearl Jam cohorts have mellowed into a surprisingly positive outlook on the good things that life has to offer.

Hey, this album’s not perfect, as you’ll see in our review. It’s got some issues. But three times while listening to Backspacer, I felt my skin begin to go all goosepimply and my eyes well up with tears. Why? Because some of the lyrics on PJ’s new album express so precisely things I’ve thought and felt. One of those songs, “Just Breathe,” was a tribute to a faithful wife who has sacrificed much (“Nothing you would take,” Vedder says of her, “Everything you gave”). That song prompted me to pick up the phone and call my wife, just to tell her how much I love her.

Such is the power of music, to simultaneously tap into and provide an outlet for feelings deep inside that we may not even be conscious of until a song, a lyric, gives them voice and sets them wandering about our souls in surprisingly powerful ways–sometimes even from bands or singers we didn’t even particularly like before.

That’s one of the reasons why I love music … and why I love thinking about the words and images and messages that today’s popular musicians are asking us, those who listen, to interact with. They matter because they have the power to unlock stuff inside that we didn’t even know was there.

Who wrote this?

Adam R. Holz is a senior associate editor for Plugged In. He also writes for Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine and has been a Boundless contributor. In his free time (which there is sometimes precious little of) Adam enjoys playing guitar and constructing LEGO kits with his son. Adam and his wife, Jennifer, are the proud parents, in fact, of three children, one boy and two girls.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Matt_Y:

Yeah for me listening to a Collective Soul or Backstreet Boys or Lifehouse or Brian Littrell's Solo CD really picks me up if I'm feeling down!  I haven't had a chance yet to listen to the new Pearl Jam CD, in the past they have been an up and down band for me.  I like certain albums but mostly when they got more positive around the Yield CD timeframe.

Anyways, while it sounds like this CD isn't perfect it might be worth a listen and a possible buy in the future!

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Ragenfluff:

*nods softly* Agreed. It is one of the greatest feelings in the world to get caught up in music. Not only can it inspire us, it can help us express our feelings to the hilt (anyone remember King David and his dance of Ecstasy for his true Lover?), relieve pressure, and even change our moods (though, more often then not, we tend to gravitate toward music that amplifies what we're already feeling).As such, Music is a great tool.Unfortunately, depending on how it's used, it can also be a great destroyer.