As much as I’d like today not to be about music for a minute, the fact of the matter is that 9/11/01 did fall on a release date (Tuesday). I was managing the music department of a store at that time, and I remember one eye being on the registers with another eye on the news. I remember closing the store early and finding the streets of NYC in absolute chaos. I remember taking the subways and watching the stunned looks on everyone’s faces. I remember getting back to my apartment, staring at a sky thick and black with smoke, with nothing else to do but listen to the music I’d just bought. There was no phone service in Manhattan, no internet…nothing to do except slap the headphones on my ears and try to make sense of the tragedy that had just occurred.
Of course, music went on to become a healing balm for many after the events of 9/11: plenty of songs took on a special significance. Music has always provided the answers to my questions at times when nothing else could answer, so everything from POD’s “Youth of the Nation” to Five for Fighting’s “Superman” to…well, just about anything from U2’s “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”. Although I was 25 when the attacks happened, the suddenness of everything and the lack of reasoning behind what was going on almost turned me into a five-year old again. With no one to provide a rational explanation to what was happening and no one to offer a solution or even any kind of consolation, I (and many others I assume) took solace in music.
And this is why, no matter how many businessmen say that the music BUSINESS will die, music itself remains as vital as ever. For many people, music is the one of the few things that makes sense in an uncertain world. You can celebrate, mourn, motivate and take solace in music in a way that no other media can really offer.
But let’s forget about music for a second and take a second to mourn as well as show appreciation for the lives that were unnecessarily lost, the brave firemen, policemen (and women) and ordinary civilians who gave selflessly in a time of need. Let’s appreciate our servicemen and women fighting overseas. Whether you agree with the war or not, the men and women out there need our support. Let’s take a second and look in the mirror and realize that tomorrow’s not promised. Let’s try to do good things for and to people-not just today, but every day. Let’s show a little more tolerance, a little more appreciation, a little more love. So many of us just take for granted that life will continue as is, and we fail to appreciate the little things in life as they happen (hell, sometimes I do too).
Kanye, 50 and Kenny Chesney can wait. I thought taking a second to remember was more important than discussing music that comes out today. I hope you agree.