Can music change the world?

Has a song ever come up on the radio that made you stop and listen? Like really stop and listen?

I like music. I like songs. I like listening to them. I like singing them. I identify with a lot of the songs, especially the ‘tear-jerking-I-still-love-you’ kinda songs. As I once said, I’m a dramatic person. (Literally – I did say it, and only once. I’m that kind of person. Urgh. I know.) The queen of all things dramatic. (See? I couldn’t even resist writing the preceding sentence using dramatic phrasing. I could have said ‘queen of drama’. Or ‘drama queen’. But that wouldn’t be dramatic enough.)

But not many songs reach me at a deeper level. Here’s three of them:

p.s. (Pre-Songs) If you’ve never heard the following songs before, I suggest you listen to them before you continue reading. If you have, listen to them anyways. Except if you’re in a hurry. In which case do save this post for when you have time for a leisurely read. You only live once – better not do it in a rush.

Passenger’s ‘Let Her Go’

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ ‘Same Love’

Lennon’s ‘Imagine’

p.s. (Post-Songs) Have you listened to them? All of them? Good. Thank you. We can continue.

I think music can change the world. Call me naive. But I really do. Each of the three songs above has changed me, in different ways. I don’t up and start living in a manner prescribed by the songs. But the songs are like a lens through which I see myself, my life, my actions, my thoughts and feelings. And in these three cases, the lens happens to also change the way I see the world.

I don’t know why. I don’t understand the process well enough to describe it to you. Not just yet. Maybe one day I will. And I shall get back to you. A wild guess would be that these songs echo feelings and thoughts I harbour deep within me. And hearing them being sung and realising that they’ve been written by someone else make me feel connected – first to the author/singer of the songs, then to the world.

A lot of what I do is driven by connectivity. Maybe it’s because I’m the kind of person that needs to feel connected, that draws energy and inspiration from being connected to others – be it family, friends, or (even) foes. Maybe that’s why feeling connected through these songs gives me the courage to change the way I see the world. To believe I can do things. To believe I can influence others as these authors/singers have influenced me.

And if this can happen to me, why not to anyone else? If a song can change me, why not one of my friend, two of my friends, three of my friends? Why not a stranger in Canada? And if a song can change people, then surely music – of which songs are a subset – must do too? And isn’t the world composed of people? If songs – and by extension, music – can change people, then surely music can change the world?

I know it’s not much of a reasoning. But I’m allowed a bit of wishful thinking, surely?

2 responses to “Can music change the world?”

  1. Beautiful selection of songs krub, Val. Thanks for sharing.
    The second one made me cry, so I guess I’m too a drama queen 🙂
    Like you, I believe that music can change our world for the better.
    ‘Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed’, declares UNESCO Constitution. Music speaks to the minds of men and can thus help create peace therein.
    We need more people who believe in the positive power of music–lyricists, composers, advertisers, and of course listeners like you and me 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing your reaction ka P’ Sun. 🙂

    I will never forget the first time I read the UNESCO Constitution – it was carved on a pillar (if I remember correctly) in the Paris headquarters. I was transfixed by how ambitious a project it was.

    I wonder whether we’ll ever get there…

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