Listening isn’t the half of it.
Rhythm vibrates in your bones. Dents your fragile skin. Does you in. Penetrates up your spine and along your tapping foot or fingers.
Rhythm is an awakening.
Lyrics sail aloft between the eardrums, riding on air, and linger lightly, often disappearing before you can hold onto them.
Lines of music drop individual images like fishhooks in the pond of your mind and ripple, triggering concentric circles of thought, until the tug of an idea comes ripping clean out of the water, and takes shape whole in your mind’s eye the way a fisherman snags a wriggling trout. You catch it, words hit you with spray, a cold reckoning in the heat of the performer’s Kleig lights.
Guitar strums or the hammering of a piano ride you just as the rhythm hits and the words connect, and you are immersed in the world of song.
What listener could resist this harmony of intent: Me, reaching for the higher register of my voice, plucking the strings, aiming the verbal darts at your heart, and you, tilting your head, watching my fingers, and saying to yourself, “I know what that feels like. I know what she means.”
You cannot sleep through it. You will be roused.
And we will have had a conversation, impromptu, unbounded, with room to interpret one another’s gift, the gift of music, and the gift of absorbing meaning and melody, until we feel we know each other intimately, having never once lain side by side.