I don’t think it’s too embarrassing for myself, and you, the reader, to admit that we sometimes feel lonely. And if you never have, then I still feel like you should read this because you’re probably not being truthful with yourself.
Despite being surrounded by a constant wilderness of our peers, times come and pass when their company escapes even our cellphone’s reach, and we then try to find ways to pass the time until the parasitic sensation of loneliness fades from our thoughts.
For me, music is not quite a solution for this state, but it is certainly a sturdy companion.
Unlike drama, poetry and prose, music conveys words and sounds in an active, direct way to the listener with more power and affection. Words of wisdom and comfort are heard straight from the emotions who authored them, rather than read on paper copies. And, what’s more, it doesn’t take years of studying and learning to create a compelling album, which increases the amount of people who can create it well. For some, music only takes an inviolate desire to relate their feelings to someone else.
And although some musicians write songs solely for money, fame or even ars gratia artis, others forged careers simply by presenting their genuine hardships, struggles and less-than-ideal outlook.
Along with the great blues artists of yesteryear, songwriters like Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, Marvin Gaye, and more recently Bright Eyes, Earl Sweatshirt, Sufjan Stevens and Courtney Barnett, have all bared intimate sincerity in their work, feelings deeper than what one might want to say if it had not been the central purpose. That is the purpose for their music, above all, to act as a form of catharsis for these artists’ internal conflicts and to act as a catharsis for the similar internal conflicts of those who listen to it.
And, aside from lyrics and spoken sentiment, the instrumentals and atmosphere of songs also have the potential to act as a mental blanket of comfort on a bed of fuzz. Bands like Beach House and Boards of Canada exist almost precisely for this purpose.
But the lasting relief of music doesn’t stop at the actual music.
Regardless of whether it’s music, working out or Netflix, it’s important for all of us to find something that can help us through the times when social fulfillment isn’t an option. And although those activities might not be the ultimate foundation for any major life successes, they stay by your side no matter what.
And, not to mention, keep the parasites away.
Luke Furman is a sophomore studying journalism and a reporter for The Post. Tweet him @LukeFurmanOU or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.