Stopped Me In My Tracks

Hello friends! Been awhile since I posted a new blog, so here I am! I saw an article on the /r/music SubReddit with the title “What songs have literally stopped you in your tracks the first time you heard them?” and I wanted to share my response.

Music is an amazing thing. The little receptor doodads within our brains that respond to musical expression can actually cause physical and euphoric sensations (check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_neuroscience_of_music#Emotion for an interesting read). I think that’s why I love music so much. I love creating melodies and writing chord progressions that make people FEEL things – good and bad. I like to make an emotional connection. I love the idea of creating a musical experience that affects listeners in such a way that they can pinpoint the exact moment where they first heard a song – exactly where they were, what they were doing, etc… While I don’t pretend to know that I affect people in this way, I’d like to think that I do from time to time.

I have two “stopped me dead in my tracks” experiences I want to share –

1) Empty Space by Air Traffic. I was swimming at my dad’s house and had just exited the swimming pool. A random music playlist was playing, but I was paying no attention to it. All of a sudden I was stopped dead in my tracks by one of the most beautiful musical expressions I’ve ever heard – the bridge of this song. You can hear this at the 2:08 mark of the link above. Still gives me chills every time I hear it, over 3 years later. I love the song so much that I covered it on my album. It always makes me laugh when people consistently tell me that my cover of Empty Space is their favorite live song. I WISH I wrote that tune.

2) Apocalypse Please by Muse. I always loved certain types of songs, ever since I was little. I could never explain why I loved a particular song or exactly WHAT my favorite song type was; I just knew it when I heard it. In 2003 I finally learned to quantify it. My uncle Larry owned a CD shop up in Amarillo called CD Planet, a place where I would spend countless hours (and dollars) building up my music collection. I learned about so many new artists and genres. This store literally changed my musical life. I saw a promo sign for Muse’s latest record – “Absolution”. An acquaintance of mine mentioned that she loved Muse, but I had never heard of them before. I liked the album art and remembered my friend’s glowing review, so I popped the CD into the try-before-you-buy machine. I listened to the CD for 47 seconds (the exact moment of brain melty-ness is second :25 of the link above), took the CD back out of the player and told my uncle (I wonder if he remembers this) “I will pay you anything you ask for as long as I get a copy of this CD RIGHT NOW.” The alt/indie/bombastic/minor key/play-the-crap-out-of-your-instrument-at-all-times/over-the-top/classically-infused rock music genre is my favorite, quantified all thanks to Muse.

– Matt
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