Monday, May 30, 2011

Visualizing a Musical Problem

I'm sure everyone knows I'm a music lover. On my iPod, I have everything from Victoria Justice (of course, LOL) to Twisted Sister to Josh Groban to Run-DMC to TobyMac to John Williams to Jennifer Lopez to Rascal Flatts to Sara Barielles to the Donnas to Led Zeppelin to Thousand Foot Krutch and then some. I've said before that I'm an entertainment lover, and music is right up there with books, movies and television as one of my favorite types of entertainment.
However, there's something I've been noticing recently, and I'll use an analogy to explain it: During the summer of 2000, I spent a week at a sports day camp at a nearby church. Every day, while we ate lunch, they would have a short Bible lesson for us. One lesson, taught by a high-school-aged girl, began with a story from years ago about marbles, which she said were like Pokémon cards at the time, meaning everyone collected them. She described how, back then, there were some marble-sized balls that came from a X-ray machine, and people loved them because they looked cool; however, they also emitted radiation, which ended up hurting people. The moral of the story was this: There may be things in our lives that we think are cool, but are actually hurting us.
I bring that up for one reason only: Lately, I've wondered if my music is hurting me. Now, I know many Christians talk about lyrical content, but that's not a problem in my collection. Although I listen to some secular music, it's pretty much clean and without any need of censoring. The problem is that some songs, including many I've listened to dozens of times, evoke strange images in my mind.
What kind of images? Well, usually, they involve a person or group of people dancing. It's usually no one specific; the only ones where it's the same person every time are "Valerie" (which makes me think of Valerie Bertinelli getting down; no joke) and "Got My Mind Set On You" (which causes me to see a nameless dark-haired, fair-skinned beauty doing the Monkey). Some songs cause me to see celebrities dancing, but which one(s) I see depends on where and when I'm listening to that song. Other songs evoke video-game-esque battle depictions ("Wizards in Winter"), a grand-finale-like musical sequence ("Section 23: Get Up and Go"), and maybe some other things I'm not thinking of at the moment.
Now, let me be clear: The music-induced visuals are not obscene in any way. If there were some way to put my imagined visuals onto a screen, you would see that the dancing is quite similar to the stuff seen in Camp Rock or Victorious, and the battles are no worse than anything in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Even songs that have an eerie sound, such as Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me," don't cause me to see anything scarier than what can be seen on PBS Kids.
You may wonder: If the visuals aren't suggestive or violent, then why are they a problem? Well, simply put: While "seeing" those things, I feel like I'm going nuts. I know that what I'm "seeing" isn't real; however, some people with severe mental disabilities--ones worse than mine, that is--see strange things and insist that they're real. The fact that I'm seeing weird things just because I hear a certain song brings me too close to being like that.
Then again, maybe imagining things while listening to music is common, and I just don't know it. I wouldn't know, but I'd like to hear what you think.

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