Is Analyzing a Subjective Media like Music Futile?

As someone who could easily sit down and talk about popular music throughout the ages for days if not weeks continuously without missing a beat, I don't really have any problems analyzing music. Every day or so through the Soul of Rock 'n' Roll I attempt, sometimes quite unsuccessfully, to capture a little snippet of what certain songs, bands, albums or styles make me feel and what they mean to me, so being able to analyze music comes in handy.

Is analyzing music and trying to explain music to someone else a futile effort though?

I'm fond of saying that music (and all art actually) is what you make of it; a purely subjective media that only becomes something more than its physical existence because we choose to think of it as more. A song is only a song and that is all until we decide that that song is important to us, life changing, inspiring, enlightening, whatever. For each person, listening to music is a completely unique experience.

I also believe that words cannot accurately capture the essence of a subjective viewpoint, especially when related to music. I can try to tell you what a certain song makes me feel, visualize, think and what not, but those words cannot truly capture it. Sometimes a well written piece can capture a sliver of the total feeling and accurately convey it to another person, but that person's interpretations will always be unique as well. In fact nothing I can do can truly capture how I feel simply because it is what I feel. My viewpoint is mine and without actually being me, you cannot experience what I experience or visa versa.

I never really understood why some people argue with other people about musical tastes or rip on other bands. I mean, it's just their opinion, not everyone has to like the same music, (although according to some record producers we do) so why bother arguing over which band is best, or what group is junk?

I think the answer to the question of whether or not analyzing music is futile is certainly 100% yes. No matter how much I attempt to discuss, analyze and describe music, my audience will never truly be able to understand what I feel when I listen to that song or album, and is always going to develop their opinion of both my perspective and the music.

So why continue to share my opinion about music everyday? In fact, why even bother voicing an opinion about music at all? Or, you could argue, and opinion about anything for that matter?

Well, I could claim I do it every day for the money this site makes, but I think a quick look at my bank statement might discredit that. Instead, I think it is good to discuss and analyze music because it just might inspire someone else and making them happier in the long run.

Music is such an emotion based media that finding a favorite band can really turn things around, relieve some stress, and bring some happiness to someone's life. When I write a piece about how a certain band has changed my viewpoint on something, has inspired me in some way, or even just makes me recall some memories from the past, whoever reads that piece gets to see a little tiny sliver of what that music is for me. Maybe by reading that, other people might start to think that maybe that music can do that for them as well, or they might realize that another band does that for them, or be inspired to new heights in their own music... you never know... You may not be able to understand exactly what a particular song does for me, but my experiences might sound interesting enough to encourage others to check out what I'm talking about.

That band might end up being that your next favorite band, or in some way bring you a little happiness. I think that is reason enough to continue to write about, analyze and discuss music.

It may be futile trying to make anyone understand exactly what a particular song makes me feel, but if through my efforts I can make the world a little better, at least for one person, I think I'll do it. Plus, it sounds noble and it is also a great way of putting all the time I already spend listening to music to good use.

- The Soul of Rock 'n' Roll is a division of Fifth Column Media - www.fifthcolumnmedia.com -