Mmm... The Way You Move Me
Music plucks our emotions like a guitar string
Posted May 10, 2012
“Oh, sometimes I get a good feeling, yeah I get a feeling that I never never never knew I had before, no no I get a good feeling, yeah.”
Those words are an Etta James gospel lyric which has been enhanced by a hard driving guitar and a Rap beat to form the musical framework of Flo Rida’s hot new single Good Feeling. It is the perfect song to get me pumped up in the morning.
Hey hey... baby, baby... rama lama ding dong... yeah, yeah, yeah... music moves us. When I was a teenager, if the song Radar Love by Golden Earring came on the radio while I was driving I would find myself pressing a little harder on the gas pedal. Ram Jam’s Black Betty, Steppenwolf’s Born to be Wild,and probably a dozen other songs had the same effect. Somehow I managed to avoid getting a speeding ticket. Call it Luck.
Sometimes we simply can’t help but be moved by music. I love the scene from the movie Easy A where Emma Stone gets a musical greeting card from her grandmother that plays the song Pocketful of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield. Upon opening the card, she proclaims it to be “the worst song ever,” then spends the weekend playing it over and over again - dancing and singing along - until she wears out the battery.
I get it, some songs just make me want to move my body... Or as they used to say on American Bandstand, “It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.” Right! Who cares about the lyrics, anyway? OK, sometimes the lyrics of songs I enjoy really annoy me. Perhaps I should’ve said, “Who listens to the words anyway?” On the other hand, you can’t sing along if you don’t learn the words.
Music, however, is very personal. What moves me may not move you. Bon Jovi’s It’s My Life makes me feel like I can conquer the world. In fact, music has helped conquer the world... or at least motivated rebellion. In the 1980s, the desire for Western pop music helped bring down the Iron Curtain and end the Soviet Union’s rule over Eastern Europe.
Patriotic songs and national anthems can be very potent motivators. One of the most memorable scenes in the movie Casablanca is when the “Occupied” French citizens sing La Marseillaise to drown out the “Occupying” German soldiers singing Die Wacht am Rhein in Rick’s cafe.
Some music is intentionally designed to pump us up (think of the Rocky movie theme songs), and there are songs we use to celebrate, such as We Are the Champions by Queen.
Music is so powerful that we revere the people who deliver it. We give musicians our highest esteem - above politicians, actors, and sports stars. We love them for the wonderful feelings they give us. And, what kid has not dreamed of being a rock star?
They have that power over us because, as playwright William Congreve, said in1697, "Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast." (Yes, I got that right... it is frequently misquoted as “beast.”)
Research has shown that music can reduce stress and induce complete relaxation. I have my own list of happy songs such as Lookin' Out My Backdoor by Creedence Clearwater Revival that I play when I want to pick up my spirits and chill out. Music that makes you happy or pumps you up will also trigger your body to release serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that will elevate your mood.
Music plucks our emotions like a guitar string. Love, sorrow, pride or anger there is a melody or tune, whether it is classical, jazz, rock, country or rap, that will enhance those feelings. It is so powerful in touching us, that it is second only to smell in generating memories. In a flood of detail, we will recall a specific event or person when we hear a certain song.
Music motivates us in so many ways... but you already knew that.
Robert Evans Wilson, Jr. is an author, humorist and innovation consultant. He works with companies that want to be more competitive and with people who want to think like innovators. Robert is also the author of the humorous children’s book: The Annoying Ghost Kid. For more information on Robert, please visit www.jumpstartyourmeeting.com.