Music is important.
It’s important to everyone, and it’s not more or less important to me. I’m not one of those people who is super into music and memorizes random things about artists and has to go to every concert. I don’t live and breathe music. But I like it a lot. And I like that it can bring you back in time, in a way nothing else really can.
Anytime I hear a song from Heavier Things, John Mayer’s second album, I am immediately brought back to my middle school self, playing Age of Empires on my computer and looping the album in the background. I remember building town halls and creating soldiers and doing all the stuff you did in those Civilization-type games. I remember spending so much time in my room playing those games. I wonder what else I even did. But I also remember the quiet delight I got from doing it, from accomplishing something, from consistency, from structure.
When I listen to Coldplay’s “Swallowed in the Sea”, I think about driving down Hoes Lane/Old New Brunswick Road. My heart sinks a bit, my throat closes, and I feel it. I remember what it meant to finally have my license and have the freedom to drive around everywhere and how I would use that freedom to drive around town alone, listening to music, going nowhere in particular. All of those emotions come flooding back to me when I listen to that one song. And all those emotions are particular to me.
If someone heard “Swallowed in the Sea” or “Clarity” today, I don’t know that they would feel the same things I feel when I listen to those songs. They might like them, they might not, but regardless, they would develop their own emotions when listening to those songs and, later, their own memories of those emotions.
Hozier is an artist I just learned about last year. A friend and I got tickets to see SNL hosted by Bill Hader and this skinny guy with long hair was the musical act for the night. I didn’t expect to be impressed by him, but I was. He played “Take Me to Church” and I was totally blown away. It immediately affected me. So I bought the album.
I was listening to that album on the bus today and on my walk through the park. It’s a great cool-down album (but honestly, every album I own is a great cool-down album. I love to cool-down). My favorite song on that album is “Cherry Wine“. It’s a song about pain (and it feels a bit painful) but it also feels super hopeful and romantic (I wrote a post a year or so ago about how much I love depressing love songs so this fits).
Hozier is quickly becoming an artist like John Mayer, Coldplay, Paolo Nutini, or early Kanye West for me. His music requires an immediate response. And it’s beautiful.
It’s cool to think about how music does this to you. And it’s especially cool to think about how this song, a song about a tumultuous relationship, inspires so much depth of feeling. The line “the blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine” is everything! I also feel like it’s a really good illustration for Christ and his blood and his love and all that stuff but that’s a post for another day.
Anyway, Hozier is a great artist and I’m sure when I listen to “Cherry Wine” in 2025 I’ll think of bus rides uptown or walks in Central Park or late nights after SNL. And it will be glorious.