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  • Shannon Brault

Musical Relief



We all have our own ways of dealing with quarantine right now. For a while people were learning tik Tok dances, baking bread, going on walks, etc. I feel like I have exhausted so many things that could have turned into hobbies and now I am left trying to figure out what the heck to do in the present moment and for the next few months. I thought I did a lot of reflecting at the beginning of quarantine, but it turns out I didn’t do nearly as much as I am now. Many can relate, but I’m processing and sorting through memories to learn more about myself, other people, and the world. Of course, when we do this there is always the saying that hindsight is 20/20 and we can’t be too hard on ourselves for not “realizing” things sooner. With that being said, I think a lot of us are doing a lot of processing which can be great, but too much of it can be detrimental.


You could say I’ve had a bit of writer’s block. I haven’t been sure of what to write about considering that not a lot is happening as far as major life events, while there are some major things happening behind the scenes that I’m not ready to share and sort through in a public sense. SO, today I wanted to talk about music. I’m not, by any means, a musician. I took guitar lessons for a few months and I own a guitar and a ukulele that I learned how to play very minimally. I have always wanted to learn, but I’m very impatient with myself when it comes to learning new instruments and languages, so it hasn’t really panned out. I also would go downstairs in the residence hall basement my first semester of college to play Señorita on the piano horribly and would have to awkwardly wait in the piano room until people left the study lounge so they wouldn’t see that it was me, but hey, at least I was trying! Music has regardless been an incredibly big instrument (get it?) in my life and has helped me through every good and bad experience. I think most people can say that music is a huge part of their lives and that music means a lot to them, but we never really talk about why. What does it mean in our lives? Why does it mean a lot? Where would we be without it?


I’ve told a lot of people this, and sometimes people look at me like it is this hugely strange concept, but I associate songs, albums, and lyrics with certain people, situations, memories, and places. There are certain songs that will always and forever elicit certain feelings in me, whether they be good or bad. I can’t quite explain it other than that music is so much deeper to me than just something to listen to when you’re working out. I have a special fascination with words and how we string them together to connect them into these messages that can be of comfort and significance to a complete stranger halfway across the world. This is also why I love this blog and other blogs, and it is what I find so special and significant in life in general. I want to be able to write messages and posts that resonate with people both that I know and that I don’t. Our experiences can be so intertwined and deeply related to one another in ways that none of us realize at a surface level. Our words have the power to connect us to each other in this all-powerful way. They can make us feel understood, seen, and heard, all of which are incredibly powerful, important, and meaningful.


I also have a tendency to have a few favorite songs at any certain time that I listen to CONSTANTLY, and usually on repeat, so the general feelings I have towards life and major things happening at that time tend to have an influence on how I remember the songs and music. With that being said, there are some beautiful songs that are truly amazing in every way that I can’t listen to as they elicit painful memories. It makes me wonder if I haven’t processed the painful memories associated with these songs, or if they will just forever remind me of a time that I don’t want to go back to. Surely, I cannot be the only one that this happens to, but I think it’s an interesting concept and it would be really cool to look at the science behind it. And even with these songs reminding me of painful times, they were still the songs and music that helped me through and have a special place in my heart.


For whatever reason, I’m going to bring you back to middle school. Middle school and early high school suckkkkeddddd, which is very relatable, I know. I had a lot of things happening in my life with a major one being ED treatment, which if that doesn’t speak for itself was tough and I wasn’t very happy. I was OBSESSED with Demi Lovato for the longest time, specifically in middle school and a lot of her music helped calm me down in times where my ED was really bad or my mental health wasn’t great. But now I can’t listen to her music without getting reminded or feeling the incredibly heavy pain in my chest and stomach that I felt all the time in those years. I can’t listen to Don’t Panic! by All Time Low without thinking of a not-so-great summer, I can’t listen to Halsey’s Badland album without thinking of how scared I was high school, I can’t listen to The Weeknd’s Starboy album without thinking about an extremely toxic relationship I had at 16 and I can’t listen to Camila Cabello’s Romance Album without thinking about the events of my first semester of college. Those all sound more negative, but just like life, there are positives. Listening to any song by KALEO feels like a hug, Shawn Mendes’ Illuminate will always be comforting to me during fall months and rainy afternoons, Ed Sheeran’s Divide and No.6 Collaboration remind me of summer, ANY song by 5SOS will forever make me happy in an inexplicable way because I am and will probably always be in love with them, The Score will always make me feel like the main character in an anthem-like movie, which is pretty cool in my opinion, etc. Honestly, I could go on forever, but just to name a few.


There are lyrics that I have found more comfort and understanding in than I ever have found in another place. These are people completely separate from me who sing lyrics that resonate so deeply in my soul that I feel like I am understood in the deepest way that we desire to be. I also have been joking around with my sister lately about how there are a few bands like 5 Seconds of Summer and All Time Low that have been a huge part of my life for 6 and 12 years, and I feel that I instantly connect with people who also listen to them in a way that I can never connect with anyone else. It's so strange, yet so cool to me and again goes back to the idea of being understood and whether we admit it or not, every single person on this planet just wants to be understood by at least one person. That's an incredibly special thing to be able to connect with someone in general, but especially about music, or something that you care so deeply about.


I could also get into concerts and how much I love and miss them during a time where we can't be physically together. I've been to something like 32 concerts that I physically paid for the tickets and after a while, I was starting to lose a little bit of interest in concerts, but then I realized why I loved them. I love standing there with other people who also find comfort and purpose in the same words sung by someone else. I love the physical feeling of everyone singing around me and the feeling of the bass flowing through my body. I love the camaraderie and the ability to really live and feel present in that moment, and that moment alone. For a few hours, nothing else matters. You're there. You're alive. You're free. Maybe it relates back to just who I am and the desire I have for the simplicity of being able to flow in and out of experiences as they work with my life, but I know this is a common thing with many people.


A lot of the happy moments I store away in my head and heart for times where I need to remember the good in life come from concerts and singing along to music with people I love most in life. I think about Macklemore throwing a cookie from the stage to the back of the arena, just to prove that he could. I think of the times where I went to open mics and sat there being proud of my friends and happy that they were doing what makes them happy. I think of driving at night with friends playing old songs that remind us of what it was like to be younger, I think of buying tickets to go see Ed Sheeran, Charlie Puth and other artists at the last second with my sister to make a fun adventure out of the night when I should have been saving the money for college. I think of trips to Michigan when I was way younger listening to Green Day with my dad. I think of Saturday mornings when my brother, sister and I would make pancakes and watch music videos on MTV and VH1. I think of how many of my friendships have been deeper bonded because of music and I think of all the times that I have been calmed down by music and just how much it means to me deep in my soul. I think of all of these along with other moments and I take them with me wherever I go to remind myself what it feels like to be truly alive because feeling alive doesn't mean you need to be happy all of the time, but rather that you let yourself feel everything you're feeling, the good, the bad and the ugly.


I don't know where I would be personally without music, and it's not because music is a huge part of my life in terms of making it, playing it, producing it, etc., but because music, in its purest form, is meant to connect us with each other, which yes is cheesy, but it's true. The ability to connect with other people is probably the single most important thing in life and relationships. Music can help you through any situation whether it's good or bad and I hope that you're able to find yourself in someone else's words just like I want people to be able to find themselves in my own words and narrative through this blog.


To end this, I wanted to share a playlist of sorts that is composed of songs that make me feel alive, and/or calm me down in this time of uncertainty. This again changes quite frequently and this is just some of the current ones:


Vienna - Ben Platt

I Want More - Kaleo

Favorite Place - All Time Low ft. The Band CAMINO

Scene Two- Roger Rabbit - Sleeping With Sirens

Hold On - Shawn Mendes

HAPPINESS - Acoustic - NEEDTOBREATHE

All The Pretty Girls - Kaleo

Excavate (Feat.Saint Claire) - Macklemore

Old Me - 5 Seconds of Summer

Shakedown - The Score

Old Scars/Future hearts - All Time Low

Over and Out - 5 seconds of Summer

Mercy - Acoustic - Shawn Mendes

Sorry - Halsey

Lover of Mine - 5 Seconds of Summer

Before You go - Lewis Capaldi

More - Halsey

Ghost of You - 5 Second of Summer


and more. Here is a link to the work-in-progress playlist, hehe: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/22Q8pXXAQQsnCp4E2MR7yF


Hope you all have a lovely week. Much Love,


Shannon


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