Music or Magic Spells: What’s the Difference?

There is that certain part of your favorite song that always seems to cut deep inside you. It makes you invigorated, it makes you cry, or it makes you laugh. You want to belt it out, and dance to the rhythm. I have been to a lot of concerts, and when that song that I am waiting for comes on, it is like being in a different world. Without any mind-altering substances added, standing there with the crowd as the booming music ripples through me, I feel it. The magic of music.

Magic is a weird thing. The definition seems tough to nail down. Many people from centuries ago would think the way I am writing this post, the way it is being transmitted to you, and the way you are reading it is all magic. Since it is not mysterious to us (well actually, I am not super well versed in exactly how all this technology works, but I digress) we do not consider it magic. It is not supernatural, it is technology.

But if I conjured a fireball in my hands, would that be magic? What if it was then explained by science, and we found out there is a legitimate explanation for how I did this? Magicians don’t really do magic, they perform illusions. But if magic is simply influencing things without a clear method; effecting the course of events with mysterious or supernatural means… well that would seem to fit the definition. I don’t know how magicians do most of their tricks, so it is mysterious to me. Even if it is slight of hand, could that not be considered magic, since it is still not very clear how the slight of hand was achieved?

My point is: what’s the difference between magic spells and music? I would say the difference is success rate and fine tuning. I don’t know any magic spells that work, but I know songs that work in some ways to do some things. There are songs that work to make me happy, or energetic, or pumped up, or relaxed. Is that so different than chanting a magic spell: and mysteriously influencing a person’s mood?

But we are all so different (like puzzle pieces) that the same song is not going to always work the same on every one of us. You might have no use for country, while a certain country song might make me feel like the world is my oyster. Why rely on snake oil placebo elixirs in a vial when we have real magic spells in the speakers?

In lore there are incantations and chantings that give life, sew death, change attitudes, and influence the material world. But is not much truth conveyed in tales and myths? Perhaps songs are a primitive form of magic. Music is certainly involved in essentially all worship in one way or another. We have songs for hope, songs for change, songs for sport, songs for play. Is it so far fetched to think that with a little fine-tuning we could create “spells” that work on almost everyone?

There are patterns of music that people like. Many of the top songs use a very similar arrangement of tunes. Pachelbel’s Cannon in D can be heard in countless songs, as this comedian points out.

So can you explain why Pachelbel’s Cannon in D hits a chord with so many music enthusiasts? If not, then this fits the definition of magical. It is influencing us through means that we do not fully understand. Another example is this mashup of 6 hit country songs, check it out.

There is an official explanation for why we like certain songs: human brains like patterns but get bored easily. So if there is a pattern that changes slightly with each verse, our brains enjoy it because we eventually feel smart when we not only recognize the pattern, but can predict how that pattern will change slightly the next go around.

But still, someone just got inside our brains and influenced us, and we were powerless to resist. And playing the numbers, it seems certain types of songs are able to affect the masses; they know which spells will work. Taylor Swift must have some very powerful sorcerers working for her.

I know it happens to you too, you hear some crappy song once in the store, and then you are whistling it all day because it’s so damn catchy! It’s catchy because someone just cast a magic spell on you, and you go around spreading this spell to others who may also get the tune stuck in their head, for better or for worse.

Please share your thoughts below, I would LOVE to get a discussion going on this topic. But let me leave off by attempting to cast a spell on you all. This one is a calming spell intended to also elicit empathy for your fellow humans.


“the water’s sweet but blood is thicker”

Hey brother, there’s an endless road to rediscover.

That’s what I’m saying. Don’t let life get boring. Rediscover mundane things you forget to take wonder in, and find exciting. This might be our only chance at life, take it by the balls! Never let yourself become complacent; there are infinite discoveries to be made, and remade. Notice something new on the same road, path, or hallway you always take.

Hey sister, know the water’s sweet but blood is thicker.

I’ve heard that many people mistake this to mean relatives are more important than friends, but that it actually means blood shed together in battle is thicker than the water in which you reside in the womb. I can’t be sure, but I would interpret the sweet water in this song to be material or superficial offerings by those who have no stake in your life. There may be people who offer you things, money, success, their own beauty, but just remember what is more important.

The struggles you have gone through together, the friends who you have shed blood with; these are the people who have a more deep connection with you than exciting strangers who offer the world. Fame and fortune may be sweet, but never forget where you came from and who shaped you and who was by your side when it mattered. It may just so happen, as for me in many cases, that the thick blood shed also happens to be the same blood running through each of your veins.

Oh, if the sky comes falling down, for you,
There’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do.

For those whose “blood I share”, and for those with whom I’ve shed blood metaphorically. If there are those in your life who would do anything for you, I should hope you’re damn well prepared to do anything for them. All trade is not monetary. Isn’t it sad to offer your love, and get none in return? Don’t waste your energy on people who are not willing reciprocate when the sky comes falling down for you.

Hey brother, do you still believe in one another?
Hey sister, do you still believe in love, I wonder?

This is two ways of saying the same basic thing. Have we lost faith in our fellow man? Do we believe that humans are basically good or bad? Have you become disenfranchised with life, depressed by the media, disheartened by the evil capabilities you see in humanity? Is love even real, or possible? Try not to be too cynical. Believe in, or even trust your companions, but not blindly. Love, but not without receiving. Don’t blame all of humanity for a few bad people’s actions. Look for the best in people, but don’t allow them to take advantage of your good will.

What if I’m far from home?
Oh, brother I will hear you call.

You can be far from home in the only place you’ve ever lived. Sometimes it is a state of mind, and we need to help our friends come back to a good place. Or it may get back to the strangers that offer you sweet water, and then abandon you; blood is thicker and those who are truly by a person’s side will come back when they are needed. And keep in mind that people do not always ask to be helped; hearing someone’s call could be tougher than it seems in some situations.

What if I lose it all?
Oh, sister I will help you out!

Same idea, right? Losing “it all” can take many forms, doesn’t have to be monetary. I think we are pack animals to some degree, and sometimes it is tough to be alone. At least I know I have the best times with true friends, the kinds you share a figurative (maybe literal, I don’t know how you guys roll) blood pact with. And who doesn’t love cuddling? I may be getting off topic. Or maybe it’s all related?

I may have recently been nervous of being judged for writing so sentimentally, but that’s part of my new thing, doing it for me, because life’s too short to not be yourself.

Oh, if the sky comes falling down for you,
There’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do.

Song Therapy to Get Out of a Rut

I developed a strategy yesterday for mentally returning to a good place. I didn’t know I was doing it, but in the morning before work (I didn’t work until 3pm) I was very high on life, having a recent reference point from an amazing festival all last week, and found myself enjoying the moment, when 2 weeks ago work would have loomed over me negatively. And I have a pretty upbeat job selling running shoes; retail though it is, I would categorize it as generally enjoyable.

So anyway I went for a run in the high noon heat and danced to the music, sang along a few lines because thats what I wanted to do, when I would normally be like, “but what if someone sees me and thinks I’m weird?” (Though I’ve probably been holding myself back for no reason; I’m sure some people already think I’m a bit odd).

When I felt a pulse of energy or excitement, I raised my arms to the sky, breathed in deep and took it all in. I passed an older gentleman running and would have kept my head straight forward two weeks ago, but yesterday I turned, smiled, and waved. He took out his earbuds and joked, “I was young once too”, and I laughed and told him if he keeps it up he’ll stay young. I ungracefully hurdled over a lawn sign.

Afterwards I’m happy, feeling accomplished (from the run), excited about my new blog! I just so happen to love this song “Rewind” by the Rascal Flatts right now, and I inadvertently bumped it at my highest moment (keep in mind I am not talking about drugs when I say high). Here’s the song:

And I was still quite happy well into work, and it was not so much negativity as it was tiredness that hit me around 5 or 6pm. I was like, damn being happy takes a lot of energy… or running 5 miles during the hottest part of the day. One of the two.

At points throughout the day pangs of fear would rise in me, as if its scary to be excited about life. The higher you fly, the further you can fall, so what—just stay neutral? I don’t think that is the answer, I think perpetual happiness is a better goal. So I tried to ignore the negatively.

What if my blog fails: who cares, what have I lost? And worrying about it doesn’t help anyway. What if at my happiest moment, it all comes crashing down? Well, at least I was happy before. What if I am judged for what I post? I am sure I am! And the best feeling is not caring at all and doing it for me.

But sometimes just rationalizing things is not enough, because then I engage in a conversation with myself, and in doing so, allow a platform for the negativity. Okay long setup, but back to the strategy I stumbled upon. Every time I started to whistle the tune to “Rewind” I would return mentally to my happy state of mind, from the best part of my day. Singing the lyrics had an even better effect (though not wanting to scare away repressed Massachusetts customers, I limited that to the back room amidst the shoe box audience).

I don’t know, maybe there’s a psychological basis for my observation, if I have any Psychologists reading (or maybe a freshman year pschology major who knows it all, and just needs to complete the other 6 years of study as a formality). But anyway, try it out and let me know if it works for you.

It does, however, take energy to be happy, and at points yesterday I had to let myself relax, perhaps slipping into neutral. I’m expecting as I train myself it will become default to be excited about life instead of having to coax myself back into position.

I’ve never really been an unhappy person, I’ve just found that I tend to fall into a routine, and not enjoy life as much as I could. It is cool to look for opportunities to have fun in a normally mundane situation. And really there is infinite amounts of things to be excited about.

So maybe no day should be normal. If we expect our days to be the same old drudgery, they will be. But two seemingly uniform days where I write, run, then work do not have to be identical; in fact it is impossible for them to be identical. Yet it is easy to feel like you are Bill Murray stuck in Punxsutawney indefinitely. But if you look for opportunities to be excited about “the same old stuff”, I am pretty sure you’ll find them.