The Sound of Silence. . .

Have you ever heard “The Sound of Silence?” I’m sure you have heard lately Disturbed version of the classic by Simon & Garfunkel . . . Oh you have no idea what I’m talking about? Well, here, let me enlighten you briefly.

The very first time I heard this song, it was the background song in a movie. That movie was “Kingpin,” with Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, and Bill Murray, I was ten years old. I was still pretty naïve about the story line, particularly the scene when I first heard . . .

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never shared
And no one dared disturb the sound of silence

“Fools,” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said
“The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence”

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The simple melody, the words so clear but deep and powerful. It was always a favorite of mine, along with “America,” but that’s a different entry. It wasn’t until a few years later in middle school when our English teacher showed us how people used music and songs during the 60s to talk about current event, political views, and social injustices. Go a few more years down the road and senior year during our History in the 60s class with my advisor, we listened to the songs again, with an older ear, and we discussed even deeper the songs and the importance of the music at the time.

Flash forward a few more years and a rock band, Disturbed, covers the timeless classic, a haunting cover, I have always loved the sound Simon and Garfunkel had, but Disturbed breathed new life into this song. The words still ring true, even in today’s society.

I believe music tells stories, it’s the feelings and emotions we’re unsure how to put into words, I know everyone has had a bonding moment with Adele at least once. For me it’s been the earlier generations of music that has captured my ear. I also believe music can heal. Music has a power, a religion, a quintessential aspect of my life. I’m also very partial to songs and their original recordings. If you are going to cover the song, you better own it and make me feel the words, or else you kill the song. I also believe songs have a way of knowing how to break down your walls. For years, all I had was music.  I had friends but sometimes the music would be more comforting than the kind words of friends. Anyway, moving on . . .

We were down visiting my in laws, my husband nudges me and hands me his headphones, I’m terrified, you can say we listen to the same music but my normal pace is pretty tame and his is slightly more on the louder and rockier side. I wait for the song to begin . . .

There it was, the familiar intro of a song I had listened, sang, and replayed a million times, it was fresh, it was a solo, there were strings, the range was different, but the impact of the words were still there. I had fallen in love with a song all over again. I sunk into my pillow, the headphones were mine now, the music must be mine. I will listen to anything, I will only listen to it again if I like it. Some things grow on me and others I want to burn but I’ve learned not to judge a band or song right away. My husband finally told me Disturbed was the culprit behind my new audible obsession. I respect all musicians, it’s a tough job, but breathing new life into a song takes talent and hardwork. At least that’s what I like to think, I’m probably way off. But that’s all for now, go and enjoy some tunes


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