I have a complicated relationship with sounds. I’m very sensitive to them. I feel them in my body, either as strong emotions or in a very physical way which is not always a pleasant experience.
Some smallest sounds can make me uncomfortable or anxious or even so nauseous I almost vomit. I spend hours in silence, everyone in my house is forced to use headphones and we don’t have a sound system or television at home. Obviously I can’t demand strangers to be quiet but when the kid behind me at The Voice played with his cracking empty water bottle making my head almost explode I just went and took it away without feeling guilty.
Luckily it works also the other way around. Beautiful music makes me go through extreme emotions and can be an amazingly sensational and very physical experience. I enjoy only rare voices but when that happens I’m filled with happiness and can feel how the music goes through my whole body and every muscle, starting from my neck or throat, moving to my arms, fingers and stomach and finally to my legs. Listening to symphony pop makes me happy, inspired and absolutely knackered. It’s like my muscles had physically worked in those new environments where the songs transported me.
For that reason I rarely listen to albums at home. It’s different at gigs, that experience happens in another, different world where everything is possible. In the middle of my everyday life it would be too much and too emotional. Too overwhelming. I rather choose one or two songs suitable for my mood and focus on them. I talked about this on FB and someone said they do exactly the same and called it a ritual and I loved it, that’s exactly the right word. My rituals are either meditations or celebrations.
My favorite meditation is listening to symphonic Relax. It clears my mind and puts my thoughts in order. My LICM mini playlist starts with my long lost friend Ring Ring in which I immediately recognize anxiousness I seem to have in myself as well. I listen to the song and magically the anxiousness goes away. I move on to acoustic Relax which is the most calming song I know. It gives me serenity but has also a tiny, very subtle amount of excitement I can physically feel in my throat and arms. That wakes me up and makes me sharp and ready to continue whatever I was doing.
From TBWKTM I choose I see You and only that song alone. It goes directly to my heart in every meaning of the word. I can literally feel the music in my chest, the area around my heart. This song has tension that starts from the first note and stays through the whole song. The lyrics tell about watching someone from distance, holding on to our illusions and being afraid that something is not what we imagine it to be. I can’t relate to that. We shouldn’t be that worried, we should just trust our instincts. Reality can be better than our wildest hopes or expectations and small imperfections make life only more interesting and memorable.
The first time I heard I See You was in Boston 2009. It was my favorite song from the new album, I had looked forward to the performance and had huge expectations for it. It was everything I had hoped for and much more. It was perfect. It’s been 10 years since the gig and I still see it as one of my dearest gig memories and almost can’t believe I was lucky to be there. I love it how singing barefoot makes the performance somehow symbolic. There’s something so pure and bare in the song and the way Mika sings it feels extremely genuine. Like he had really gone through those fears or at least given them careful thought.
From TOOL I often choose acoustic Kids. This song tells about not getting along and is that way a bit sad and again, I can’t relate to the lyrics that much. I often think adult problems are highly exaggerated. People assume that having relationship problems is an essential part of being an adult, that everyone has them all the time. It’s not true. People are just tired and life can be demanding. However, I love the comforting tone in the singing. Comfort that I get from Mika’s voice helps me to face the world even on chaotic days.
Last Party from NPIH is one of the songs that are enough on their own. It has all the colors of the rainbow. It tells about every aspect of life, it’s like a life time compactly in less than four minutes. It has a strong background story. There’s sadness but there’s also all the comfort in the world. When the party starts it’s pure fireworks. I love every part of this song and how much impact it has on me.
My usual celebration song is Boum Boum Boum which never fails to make me in a good mood. I like it with a playful intro and preferably without any talking in the middle distracting the atmosphere. The mood in the song is exact, right and correct. I don’t need to understand French to know what this song is about and that way I find it one of the most successful songs Mika has done. I often listen to this song on Fridays or Saturdays to celebrate a fun weekend, to be in a light mood.
My new ritual is listening to Sound Of An Orchestra. I can feel it in my whole body. I listen to it and simply can’t stay still. I have to move but I don’t dance, I walk. When I stop walking I start to move my arms (and then pretend I’m stretching them so it wouldn’t look too weird). I love it how some parts of the song go to my stomach and I really love the beginning with different instruments. It makes me think of the opening scene in one of my favorite films (one of my favorite film scenes for sure).
Listening to these songs can be so powerful my whole day becomes special. I was raised telling normal life is supposed to be ordinary. I refused to believe it then and I refuse to believe it now. Our life is as special as we make it and music is one of the easiest ways to make any day a beautiful occasion. xxx