Sunday, February 1, 2015

Creating a Life-Affirming Love of Life With Art That Reminds Us How Shitty the World Is

One of the best pieces in Greil Marcus' The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs (Yale University Press) was Transmission: 2007/1979/2010, about the song Transmission by Joy Division.

I loved this quote because even though it's in reference to some other quote, what I really like about it is the italics part, in reference to what Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis must have felt:

He said that life was terrible. I wanted to get up and tell people life was terrible, too.

It gets to the essence of what a lot of music I like is about, which is basically, telling the world how shitty life is, sometimes in some big social or political way, but also on a personal level, like maybe having a broken heart, a mental illness, physical pain or whatever it is that's causing you grief.

And isn't that pretty much a lot of art? We make art because we're inspired by someone else's art, and we're thinking in our head I'm inspired by your art telling the world how shitty the world is! Now I'm going to create art continuing to remind the world how shitty it is! Maybe I will inspire somebody else to remind everyone how shitty the world is! and so on. Sure, I do realize that some folks can't make it past the shittiness and they don't stick around (exhibit a: the lead singer of Joy Division), but maybe for those moments where they're experiencing the art they love they find a release. For many others, I wonder if maybe we communicate a life-affirming love of life with our art that reminds us how shitty the world is. And I am totally fine with that.


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