It Was Only a Song

My Symphonies: Mr. Brightside by The Killers | Littlest Things by Lilly Allen


| My 12:01am thoughts on a starless evening in Spring

Just like images and scents, a song can be a compelling storyteller who doesn’t only narrate past and present events, but also puts the listener in a heightened state of emotion. “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers is one of those songs that never fail to make me feel young, wild and vulnerable. It takes me back to the old days, making me feel like the high school version of myself. The words speak to me the promise of young love, and the melody entrances me with the bittersweet memory of an innocent life– an eager existence hungry for anything the world has to offer. The ups and downs, the highs and lows. Mr. Brightside has done to me what Autumn does to trees.

Just the other day I randomly happened to listen to “Littlest Things” by Lilly Allen in the train on my way home. That was one of those moments in my life when I thanked all the forces of the universe for somehow creating what is called a ‘shuffle’. Finally listening to it after months and months of separation, I found that a song, in extreme cases as this one, is more powerful than the mind itself. I have a very strong and intimate personal relationship to Littlest Things. It was the imaginary life soundtrack of my days as a fourteen-year old boy only learning how to love for the first time. And it’s not often delightful. Most of the time, the emotions this song triggers in me are quite strange and, to an extent, disturbing. I hear the first beat and I am instantly bombarded with motion pictures from the past, images, wavering sound of laughter and conversations. It’s as if I am watching a documentary of my life as a sophomore in high school. I felt constant jolts of pain during that train ride, listening to that song, knowing that I can never look away from that mental screen playing scenes of my past. Maybe the next hour, maybe the next day. But definitely not within those three minutes and twenty-three seconds of Lilly Allen’s sleepy yet stinging voice serenading my mind and soul with something rather inevitable. Because within those three and a half minutes, I wasn’t there in the train at all. I wasn’t Kenn the post-adolescent with the resolved and cured childhood issues and existential crisis. I wasn’t this guy who’s aware of the world’s complexity, of life’s chaotic condition. I wasn’t this walking human being with a plan for a future; I didn’t even know what it’s like to be with friends, with the people who build you up as a part of a community. I wasn’t who I am today. In those three and a half minutes, I was just a doppelganger of Kenn. The real me was off somewhere else. With a few words and a few beats, there I was along the halls of my high school, sitting next to the one I loved, unaware of everything else outside of that bubble I lived in. The world disappeared.

That’s how powerful a song can be.

I always say, “Some people have lives; other people have music.” Even though no one can ever accuse me of being a pro at playing a musical instrument, I am a very dreamy and introspective appreciator of music. Always have been, always will be. I have an incredible amount of respect for musicians in this world. They are one of the few things on this planet that somehow give me hope and remind me that there is still something real in this humanity. Music is a gift of life, indeed. It delivers to us the joys and the sadness of yesterday and the excitement and horror of tomorrow.

“It started out with a song,
how can it ever get so wrong?
It was only a song-
only a song.” — KENN TENORIO 2013

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