Saturday, May 26, 2007

Can Music Change A Life?

I feel so silly. I've been online for almost as long as online has been available, but I've just now discovered the "post to blog" feature on YouTube.

I guess that's because I don't use YouTube all that much. Now that I see how useful it is can be, I've started a new blog called
Can Music Change A Life? It's going to be filled with videos that affect me and others.

Please feel free to contribute by sending me links to your favorites and how they impact your life. I'd like to make this blog a tribute to the musicians who not only give us great music, but also great memories and great things to think about.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My Chemical Romance

When my daughter first started listening to My Chemical Romance, I knew I needed to learn more about them. I trust her a lot, but doesn't their name imply approval of drug and alcohol abuse? Why would she like a band like that?

I started by asking her what she liked best about them. She told me it was their passion. I could immediately relate to that. I like most musical genres, but a band doesn't become a favorite unless they sing like they care more about sharing the music than about getting wealthy.

She showed me a DVD about them. In it, they chronicle Gerard Way's struggle with drug and alcohol abuse. Despite their name, this is a band that most definitely does not condone the drug lifestyle. They deliberately used footage that would discourage others. I can't imagine most people allowing others to see them in their worst moments, but this band obviously realizes one of the benefits of having fans. They can use the mistakes in their lives to influence others.

My daughter then played me some of her favorites. She was right when she mentioned passion. This band sounds like they are playing because they need to. It's who they are.

Since that time, some of their songs have become an important part of our lives. The Ghost of You is one example. In that song, there are eight memorable words:

You are never coming home, never coming home

When my mother was in the hospital in the last month of her life, those words haunted me. Every day on the way to visit her they played over and over in my mind. Unfortunately, they proved true. She never did come home. That song still brings back those memories.

Another meaningful song for us is Helena. This song is about Gerard's grandmother. I love it when bands aren't afraid to show love to their families.

There is a casket scene in the Helena video. At one point you can see and hear Gerard choke up for a moment. My daughter watched this over and over after losing her Grandmother. Her friends never understood her grief, but MCR did. They showed that it is right to honor our loved ones in our grief.

MCR has a new CD, The Black Parade. There is a lot to like in it. Here's my favorite part from the title song:

When I was a young boy
My father took me into the city
To see a marching band.
He said, "Son when you grow up would you be the savior of the broken, the beaten and the damned?"
He said "Will you defeat them, your demons, and all the non-believers, the plans that they have made?"

In the song Cancer, Gerard is singing about his last days. The key line, which I know is true for many when they are dying, is
'Cause the hardest part of this is leaving you.
To some, it might appear that MCR is obsessed by death. The newest CD is, in fact, about a death journey. After seeing how we avoid death in our society, I think a CD like this has a lot to offer.
We need to be able to talk better about death. We need to share our fears and our grief. It seems that when a person grieves, the only thing others want to do is get them to stop.
Maybe that's just a way of trying to help. It's much better to help through understanding. That's one reason why I enjoy this CD.
For parents who may quote other lines from other songs to convince me of how bad MCR is for kids, I can say that I don't know every word of every song. I just know how they've influenced my daughter, and it's all been positive. I'm sure some kids find the negative.
If your child is being badly influenced by the music of My Chemical Romance, by all means take the music out of your home. If not, don't judge by their looks and what you may have heard. Ask her what she likes about them. You might be pleasantly surprised.
In closing, here's a quote from Gerard. It must touch some hearts because it's been posted all over the internet.
Hey girls, you're beautiful.
Don't look at those stupid magazines with sticklike models. Eat healthy and exercise.
Don't let anyone tell you your not good enough.You are too good.
Love your family with all your heart and listen to it.
You are gorgeous, whether you're a size 3 or a size 14. It doen't matter what you look like on the outside, as long as you're a good person, as long as you respect others.
I know it's been told hundreds of times before, but it's true. Hey girls, you are beautiful.