When the world seems like it’s going mad, music is often the only solace.
When all you’re faced with is noise, musical composition and structure can become a grounding force, something to level the mind in times of confusion and, often, fear.
Painfully, musical experience provided a setting for the unspeakable and unexplainable acts committed in Paris last weekend.
A concert - usually a time for celebration, reflection and appreciation of the human ability to enjoy the senses - cut short in such a brutal and diabolical way.
It’s why it struck a chord with so many, while other atrocities of equal magnitude passed without comment.
At times like this it’s difficult to function day to day, to “Carry on Regardless” to use a well known lyric.
The noise we hear, day in, day out, questions who did what, what that meant, who’s right, who’s evil, what information is being manipulated, what we do next, how we remember - thought processes become a quagmire; a sticky, gloopy, confusing mud that numbs objective thought and reduces even the strongest minds to froth.
“Inside my heart is breaking, my make-up may be flaking, but my smile still stays on,” Freddie Mercury lamented in one of his masterpieces, while Bowie joins him in summing things up pretty succinctly with “It’s the terror of knowing, what this world is about...” in the classic Under Pressure.
Check out the lyrics for the whole song if you don’t already know them. For me, and of course it’s elementary, music is the very soundtrack to life, a reflection of how we make sense of the reality we inhabit. It’s the only thing that actually makes sense sometimes. It’s a gift, a channelling of energy that is universally understood.
It cuts through the noise. In an age when we are spoon-fed a carefully constructed sound, cutting through the noise with music is more important than ever.