JUST to prove a point, I’ve chosen to write this essay with my Mellow Nights Spotify playlist humming away softly from a Bose. Presently, Birdy is singing Tee-Shirt, that heartwarming love song from the film, The Fault in Our Stars.
Music is a constant feature in my life: in my waking hours, at MacDonald’s mugging, at home slogging with homework, in the school bus on the way to school, on the treadmill watching my heartbeat hovering around 124 beats per minute, in the shower, even while taking a dump.
In these instances, you can say that music is intimate. It permeates every aspect of our lives. I’m thinking of the word, “ubiquitous,”of how music has that wondrous ability to remind us of special moments and memories—friendships and fun times, nostalgia and melancholy, breakups, and love, of course.
While I have never been in love before, what I can say about music is that it brings friends closer, as was the case over a school trip to Yunnan in 2015. In our last hour before touching down at Changi, four of my buddies were huddled together, watching Fast and Furious 7 from a shared MacBook with four headphone wires spilling out from a USB splitter. At the end of the movie, Wiz Khalifa was crooning See You Again, in memory of Paul Walker. It would become our clique song, our clique lingo (See You Again with a cool finger point) for a few lively weeks. Even Adele inspires this kind of buddy-brotherhood connection. Hear someone say “hello,” and there’ll be that natural rejoinder: “from the other side.”
Friendship burns bright and brighter too at campfires thanks to music. When we sing that hymn Pass It On, the spark, the kindle, whatever it is that we’re passing on, feels warmer, more soulful. No campfire would be a real campfire without songs, unless it were one led by Jack Merridew of Lord of the Flies, who’d have preferred dire and deadly chants, shouted not sung.
Right now, as Ed Sheeran sings Thinking Out Loud, I can’t help thinking out loud too: that the world would go bananas without music. Countries would have no anthems; schools, no school songs; malls, no music; and the world, no movies as well. After all, movies can’t possibly be movies without music. Even Charlie Chaplin’s silent reels had music tinkling away as he walked and gesticulated in super-fast frames. Imagine too how festive seasons, in a songless mode, would be all but joyless.
But let’s forget about the world for a moment. Let’s just descend into the human heart. People fall in and out of love, and back again. Little wonder why we all listen to torch songs for comfort, recognizing that the bittersweet hurt feeling, that glorious loving feeling are not just ours and ours alone. That’s why when Adele sings “Hello from the other side,” we know that sentiment well. That’s when we too go: “I must’ve called a thousand times.”
Chester Chua, Secondary Four
For more essays by Chester, visit Chester Writes.
This essay was written in response to the ‘O’ Levels 2015 exam, Question #2:
The world would be a very dull place without music. What are your views?