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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Mathias

More than words

It is true, most of us are waiting to hit the finish line with this pandemic. We are resolved to the fact that until a credible vaccine hits the shelves, we are all in this together. As (un)comforting as that may sound, there have been collective signs of gratitude towards health care providers, the police and ordinary citizens, who have gone beyond the call of duty. Unbelievable accounts of endurance have shown a brighter side of the human spirit.

Like many, I've been filling my lockdown days with music. Listening to the songs of my childhood and a mixed bag of new stuff has been a good way to spend my time. It is fascinating to tune in to legendary musicians like Louis Armstrong who claimed that despite everything, it is a 'Wonderful world.' I always wonder what went through his mind when and if he penned those lyrics in 1967. Billy Joel singing, 'We didn't start the fire,' with its anecdotal narration in 1987, holds a blemished mirror for coming generations. Indeed songwriters may have never written these tunes with many premonitions of the future. It is probably why these evergreen melodies have stood the test of time.

For me, music has always provided a rescue. When the Eagles ask you to, 'Get over it,' you can't help think they are asking you to read between the lines. "You don't want to work; you want to live like a king

But the big, bad world doesn't owe you a thing." There are countless ballads that do not just rhyme, they evoke memories of simpler times. Every time, "I want to break free," plays it reminds me of the 80's and many of us imitating Freddie Mercury using a vacuum cleaner as he did in the controversial music video. With the passage of time, the song has become an anthem for rebels the world over. Some pieces by Don Mclean leave us puzzled when he sang of a day, 'The music died.'

While fame and fortune is a given, celebrities also have to deal with an intrusion in their private lives. Many famous folks have also caught the dreaded Coronavirus and it should not shock us, they are human after all. Many songwriters believe that failure and misfortune is fodder for worthy content. They've come out with ballads which remind us that, 'Everybody hurts.'

So if you groove to heavy metal and popular music is not your cup of tea -- find your own tune and ensure it keeps you grooving. Words have power to uplift the spirit. They can crush you too, but do not dwell on that.

As everyone curses 2020 for the horror that has ensued, it has forced us to take stock of what we have. Let's use words with caution and realise the impact they have on all our lives.

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