The Hearing Of And Loving Of Things

I hope that scientists never work out what it is about certain types of music that can just hit your emotions full on. It’s one of the true magic moments in life where you will hear a particular series of notes and feel a rush of elation or an instant swelling of your tear ducts. I remember a friend at school, who was a master of making up his own sincere brand of bullshit, claiming that we all have different levels at which we resonate and every now and then music will resonate on your level. I don’t think he’d put any actual science to that nor did he explain how humans resonate, but I still like the thought that some music tunes into us, rather than us opting to tune into it.

I’m on my 9th listen of the new Elbow album released today ‘The Taking Off And Landing Of Things.’ I cheated slightly and downloaded it illegally on Saturday, despite having already pre-ordered it, just so I could listen to it on a long drive that I had. I was that excited about it that I couldn’t wait. On the first listen two tracks my made eyes water instantly. I’ve no idea why. They weren’t particularly sad tracks. If anything they were uplifting, but still I found tears streaming down my cheek and a big smile on my face. Elbow have been able to do this to me for some time, ever since hearing ‘Mirrorball’ on the radio, driving home late from a gig some years ago when I was feeling pretty lonely in the world. Garvey’s lyric ‘We took the town to town last night, we kissed like we invented it’ shot imagery directly into my brain and I felt as though I knew exactly the feeling he meant. The one that makes everyone else in the world non existent, except for you and the person you love. Everything is exciting and feels like no one else could have felt it like that ever before. I smiled a lot thinking about it.

Since then I’ve seen them a couple of times, once at the O2, then later the same year at Glastonbury as they sung ‘One Day Like This’ while the sun shone over the Pyramid stage and everyone sang the chorus, grinning like happy fools. At both shows I spent half the gig beaming and half having to stifle watery eyes. I sing their music loudly when I’m in the car by myself and find myself humming along to it in public without meaning to. Maybe it’s because I can find ways that the lyrics mimic my life. Or maybe it’s because I’m overly sensitive to a string section (who isn’t?). I like to think though that overall, above all else, it’s because you can feel the absolute sincerity behind every track. Everything is made because they want to make it, not because it was written for them, or their manager wants another top ten hit or because it’ll be used in a million adverts. I could be wrong, but from interviews with Elbow, I get the feeling they do this because they really love doing this. Lyrics are written because they come from the heart, they aren’t churned out without thought. That certainly resonates with me on my level very well.

Some people I know find them boring and I understand that. There’s tons of music that people rave about but I feel cold towards. I hear it blasting from the radio, or cars or shops and generally feel like it’s noise that’s been made without care, but to someone else, it’s just right. I probably wouldn’t have been an Elbow fan 10 years ago. Then I liked angry hip hop, drum and bass and weird Ninja Tune compilations that made me feel like I was listening to something no one else was. I’d play them all incredibly loud before going out for the night, the various beats giving me an adrenalin rush to get me out of the door. Now, I still like some of that, but what I like more is music that sends me somewhere else, that makes me empathise with a warmer feeling or emotion and helps me escape the actual world for a minute. Garvey and Co always manage to do that for me. I’m seeing them in April and absolutely can’t wait. I will no doubt spend the whole evening once again being happy while trying not to bawl like a child. And I don’t know why, nor do I ever want to find out. It’s still one little bit of magic in life I can just marvel at, enjoy and feel very lucky to be a recipient of.

———————————————————————————————————————————— I’m doing a tour of my new comedy show, all over the UK. Next stop is Southend at The Alex on March 16th. Please come. All details and my new mailing list you can sign up to at www.tiernandouieb.co.uk.

One thought on “The Hearing Of And Loving Of Things

  1. Several years ago I had a relationship with a girl from Manchester. It was both wonderful and ill-advised at the same time, given that she was incredible, but married. Elbow were one of her favourite bands, which led to me listening to them properly. I’d been aware of them since Asleep In The Back came out, but never really picked them up.

    I was working away from home for several months, feeling a bit melancholy and incredibly homesick. Laying in bed in the dark, listening to Powder Blue, it hit me just how beautiful a track it is. Then the lyrics;

    “Bring that minute back
    We never get so close as when
    The sun ward flight begins
    I share it all with you, powder blue”

    I didn’t cry, but I wasn’t far off.

    As you can guess, things didn’t work out with the married girl. We’re still good friends, but nothing more. Still doesn’t stop it hurting a bit whenever I hear Powder Blue.

    So yeah, I know what you mean, Tiernan.

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