This week’s Weekly Writing Challenge deals with how music has impacted or represents your life. My regular readers already know to be afraid of this. Very afraid.
Fortunately for you, those fears are well grounded. Out of all the tunes ever written, you can probably guess what I’ll be writing about. (Hint: it ain’t Wrecking Ball.)
Today’s post will discuss the Roman Catholic funerary hymn Dies Irae. It just screams my personality, doesn’t it?
For those of you who don’t know the song, here’s a version that some monks performed:
Even though religion didn’t figure prominently in my home life, I attended Catholic schools growing up. You might say that I absorbed more religion than vodka in school. That’s vodka, not wine. The Church endorses an occasional sip of wine from an early age. So, I suppose I absorbed more alcohol than religion as a child and that’s why I became such an upstanding citizen.
Although the schools offered strong academics, the religious content droned on and on like the monks. That’s not to say that the monks lack talent, but they, like theological instruction, don’t connect with listeners unless the listeners possess a preexisting desire to drink it in. I didn’t have that.
Wine, on the other hand, connects whether you want it to or not. That post will have to wait, though.
Back to the story: I graduated from high school and never attended church again except for weddings and funerals. I no longer had to appear religion-friendly because I was no longer subject to religious expectations. During these years, I picked up a CD with another version of Dies Irae… this time by a goth band called Mantus:
No, I never took on goth dress or anything like that. In retrospect, though, I find it rather amusing that a goth band would choose to sing Catholic liturgical music, even if it was originally for funerals. I suppose that means the band, much like myself, never became anti-religion in any real sense. The updated hymn also makes for a more substantial listening experience than the mindless Satan worship that comes from so many cheap metal bands; I guess that’s why I’ve never gotten rid of my old goth-style music. Goths appreciate the classics.
And then I reached graduate school, an experience that would suffice to send anyone into a greater depression than the average goth band depicts. Fortunately, I stayed psychologically healthy and made it through to graduation. And then I became unemployed. Normally, unemployment is supposed to be depressing but I’ve somehow remained happy. I guess it’s a lot easier to deal with new problems if you’re glad enough to be free of where you were. Unfortunately, I can’t use that explanation in a job interview because it counts as badmouthing former employers.
I probably need not inform you that I discovered a more upbeat version of Dies Irae. I may be in a morbid state of affairs but I’m still cheerful when my intelligence isn’t being insulted. Anyway, here’s the song:
I presume you want me to finally explain the point of this whole post. So, here we go: if your music doesn’t fit your life, change your playlist to something more suitable. Change is liberating, and there’s something in the new tune that will hold an echo of the old… even if that echo is heresy to your earlier life.
Since I’m feeling generous, I’ll give you a second moral to the story: funerary music is much more enjoyable when it’s not being played at a funeral.