I earlier quoted J.R. Lennon who had written:
Writing is paradoxical. The impulse to do it (if it's done right) comes not from a need for recognition or appreciation, but a need to express something, some obsession or impression or emotion, which is essentially inexpressible. The pleasure in it comes from seeing how close you can get to that elusive something, or seeing what other things you uncover on the way. Every book is a failure, in that you never get it right.
Not having any expertise in the matter, it seems to me that the same is not necessarily true of music - to be more precise, it's almost certainly true of symphonies, the novels of music, but not necessarily of songs, the poems of music. At least this seems to become apparent when I listen to a simple, even primitive composition with very simple, even clich├ęd lyrics, which absolutely blows me away:

Call me a moron, but the lines "I know that you are almost in love with me / I can see it in your eyes" do more for me than anything by Shakespeare I've ever read.

[Insert essay about the high and the low, the rational and the emotional in the arts here]

1 comment:

John Althouse Cohen said...

Lennon is really stretching the meanings of "inexpressible" and "failure."