By Brikena Ribaj
I don’t think one chooses music. I truly believe it chooses one. I was asked recently why I’m such a fan of indie music. I remember saying something like, ‘well, I suppose I was born that way. Or something. It’s one of those truths, you know? You just know it. Sort of like knowing your name, you just do, you know?’ The awkward-sounding answer made full sense to me. Can’t say the same for my interlocutor.
And it didn’t matter. I had my playlist to fall back on and therein there’s safety.
Having a soundtrack for the quotidian experience is as indispensable as air. This is one of my inalienable truths. Without it there can be no inspiration, hence no good production of creativity and forward-moving notions.
I remember growing up feeling no ounce of attraction to traditional music. Yet, many around me were all about it. I suppose it was one of those truths I wouldn’t be able to decode till much later. And I did. The reason why I’m a full endorser of Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There, the Bob Dylan-inspired and –informed film is because it provides a beautiful ‘reading’ of music.
When Dylan, while portrayed by Cate Blanchett, utters the below-quoted text, I thought, ‘yes, I now know fully what this means.’ It was one of those very rare moments when cognitive and experiential truths align ever so perfectly, and as the film also says, “yesterday, today, and tomorrow are all in the same room.”
Blanchett’s version of ‘Dylan’ says:
“Traditional music is too unreal to die. It doesn’t need to be protected.
I mean, in that music is the only true valid death you can feel today, you know, off a record player. But like everything else in great demand people try to own it.”
I fully concur. Just like the music-loving Socrates in Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy I, also, believe that music is, indeed, the ultimate form of expression, more adequate and capable of capturing human emotion than language could ever be.
And while I meant the post to be a review of the Haynes’ film, it turned out to be a modest tribute to music, the ultimate expresser of thought and emotion.
Having stated that, I’m Not There is not just a must-see, it’s a need-see and need-study. And who else to ‘Virgil’ us through the portals than the master himself, Bob Dylan?
graphs per rolling stone and vh1