just like music…

The other night a friend of mine invited me to a birthday party she was going to and not having much of a nightlife lately I decided that I needed to ummm… ahem… get my life. The venue was modern and sleek. The crowd was a group of what is now sometimes known as urban intellectuals, if you will. And the DJ… saved my life with a song… or several.

It made me remember just how good music and good vibes can make you forget about all that is wrong in this world – in your world… if only for a little while. Music can call back the memory of a certain time and place or feeling that you thought had since been tucked away in the far crevices of your mind just by the first beat drop or the first few chords.

But it’s also like a native language; a common denominator. It’s sometimes the glue that binds together life experiences, decades, and generations. It’s infectious…

Don’t believe me? Let’s play a little game of call and response, shall we? Imagine you’re at your favorite club, bar, lounge, party, barbecue, reunion… you get the picture… and someone grabs a mic at random and says one of the following:

  • “Ayyyyyy…. YO!!” You say ______!
  • “Hold up!!” You say_________!
  • “La di da di…” You say _____________!
  • “Can I kick it?!” You say ___________!

Talib Kweli asking the crowd to get louder!

How many blanks were you able to fill in? All of them? None of them? I banish you to a muscial “time out” in the corner. Any emcee or DJ worth his or her turntables knows that any of the above will warrant an instant and unanimous reply from the crowd. This is for the very same reason that it seems like everyone in the room simultaneously and almost instinctively hovers to the ground when they hear “engine, engine number 9… on the New York transit line… if my train goes off the track…” and then slowly rises to a fever pitch as they hear and chant “_____, _____, _____!” (Did you fill in that one?) It’s for the same reason everyone feels the sudden urge to do a soul clap when they hear SoHo’s “Hot Music”. It’s why Will Smith (Fresh Prince) and Doug E. Fresh were recently still able to have the crowd rockin’ with them.

Music has the power to unite. It has the ability to transcend boundaries. It can rehash old memories and make new ones at the same time… Most importantly… music just feels so good.

“Music is my heart and soul… more precious than gold.”


-Love & Light… CB Radio

What about you…? What does music mean to you? What’s your favorite “call and response”? What song always makes you smile? What’s your favorite memory brought back by a particular song?


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