I find the power of music amazing. The more I read, and write, the more I have come to marvel at the power of words. But the power of words combined with music can take me to different places, change my thinking and transform my mood in a way that fascinates me.
I listen to a fair bit of music, from a variety of genres. A lot of the time, I end up listening to quite melancholy music. Songs with sadder sounds, and deep, thoughtful lyrics. My dad and I share a love for this kind of music.
Why do I listen to melancholy music? It’s not necessarily just for when I feel down. I find myself listening to such music so I can pause and think. Sometimes to hear someone else’s story, feel their pain, understand their struggles. Music can express all of that to us.
As you may know, I’m a big fan of all things Middle-earth. I love The Lord of the Rings (LotR) and The Hobbit. And while the books far surpass them (as is always the case), I also love the movies. The featured songs form a special part of the experience of the movies for me.
The songs featured in the movies are pensive and soulful. They struggle under darkness, and so they are sorrowful and heavy. But many of them bear glimmers of hope and fellowship in amongst the darkness. This reflects a big theme throughout the story: while tragedy and hardship seem to overwhelm the characters, hope is not altogether lost. Good eventually triumphs over evil, in spite of constant hardship and moments of despair. That is what I love about the LotR.
The songs have been on my mind quite a bit lately, as I recently created a playlist of all of them, named it “LotR Feels”, and shared it with my dad. It has been played quite a lot by both of us, and has become our go-to when we need melancholy. I have included links to some of my favourites at the end of this post.
There are a few reasons why I listen to these songs.
One, is because I love the characters, and feel close to them from the books and movies. Listening to the songs is a way of revisiting the feelings they made me feel. It’s reliving the pain I felt for them while reading the books. Feeling again the almost-hopelessness. Remembering with wonder, that even in the darkest moments, there seems to be some light, some hope, around the corner.
However, it’s not just because I love fictional characters, but because I want to empathise with the people of this world. I see a lot of parallels between the story and our world. And the music seems to ring true for the world I live in, as much as it does for Middle-earth.
I See Fire by Ed Sheeran, featuring in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug reflects the devastation that happens over the world, a pain of watching one’s home being destroyed, and not being able to do anything.
Now I see fire, inside the mountainI See Fire, by Ed Sheeran (source: Genius Lyrics)
I see fire, burning the trees
And I see fire, hollowing souls
I see fire, blood in the breeze
And I hope that you remember me
When these words are put to music, they feel very real. It helps to convey the raw emotions that one would feel, helping me to understand.
Gollum’s Song by Emilíana Torrini, from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is another that opens my eyes.
And we will weepGollum’s Song, by Emilíana Torrini (source: Genius Lyrics)
To be so alone
We are lost!
We can never go home
The theme of friendship and connection is present throughout The Lord of the Rings. The stark reminder of Gollum’s loneliness in this song is a reminder of what could happen around me. I want to be the one to reach out, and not forsake those who need me to be their friend.
There is a potential for all of this sadness and hurt to be overwhelming.
But there is light.
And this theme isn’t unique to LotR, it is also something to hang on to for life.
These songs show that the feelings of sadness and melancholy can be good for us to feel. There is darkness in the world, and I believe these emotions are the right response. But the songs of LotR, and the way they make me feel, teach me that even in melancholy there is room for hope.
May it be you journey onMay It Be, by Enya. (source: Genius Lyrics)
To light the day
When the night is overcome
You may rise to find the sun
Why do you weep?Into The West, by Annie Lennox (source: Genius Lyrics)
What are these tears upon your face?
Soon you will see
All of your fears will pass away
I feel you need to hear the music to understand the full power of these songs. Here are links to some of my favourite “LotR Feels” songs: