I’ve been reading the book This Is Your Brain on Music by Daniel Levitin for almost the past two years. It’s a very tough read with thick terminology of the brain and neuro-jargon. I recently picked it up again and tonight I read what I think is probably my favourite passage from the whole book. I am choosing to share that passage with you. It talks about how we are willing to be vulnerable with our musical tastes depending on how we can relate to the musician and such.
This (One’s own musical tastes) sense of vulnerability and surrender is no more prevalent than with rock and popular music in the past fory years. This accounts for the fandom that surrounds popular musicians – the Grateful Dead, the Dave Matthews band, Phish, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, the Beatles, R.E.M., and Ani Difranco. We allow them to control our emotions and even our politics – to lift us up, to bring us down, to comfort us, to inspire us. We let them into our living rooms and bedrooms when no one else is around. WE let them into our ears, directly, through earbuds and headphones, when we’re not communicating with anybody else in the world.
It is unusual to let oneself become so vulnerable with a total stranger. Most of us have some kind of protection that prevents us from blurting out every thought and feeling that comes across our minds. When someone asks us, “How’re ya doin’?” we say “Fine,” even if we’re depressed about a fight we just had at home, or suffering a minor physical ailment. My grandfather used to say that the definition of a bore is someone who when you ask him “How are you?” actually tells you. even with close friends, there are some things we simply keep hidden- digestive and bowel-related problems, for example, or feelings of self-doubt. One of the reasons that we’re willing to make ourselves vulnerable to our favorite musicians is that they often make themselves vulnerable to us.