Have you ever realized that there were just no words? That no matter how many lyric booklets you combed through, how many lyrics websites you clicked on, sing alongs you sang, there just weren’t any lyrics that explained how you felt?
I think that we’ve all been there, and that’s why instrumental music plays such an important role in my life. Sometimes you need to be left alone with your thoughts to understand your thoughts. Instrumental music can help me sort things out. The instruments may have a very specific “feel” to them, but the lack of specific words is what makes these songs so easy to fit to your needs. Unsurprisingly, some of these songs are from movie soundtracks, so you may have already heard them and not realized it. I fear trying to write about instrumental music in any sensible way might be a bit of a challenge for me.
However, I will say this; you will see themes in these songs. There will be a lot of piano. Some of them fall into the category of quieter, more morose — I find that I am most drawn to instrumental music on my more challenging days. However, To West Texas gives me more hope than any song I’ve ever heard. I’ve always imagined that Gymnopédies is what museums sound like at night after everyone has left. The upbeat, fast-paced Music For a Found Harmonium (points if you know which movie the song is from) never fails to make me smile.
The violin in Movement IV makes my heart race. Nick & Norah’s Theme is the perfect auditory representation of the stomach-butterflies of a crush. La Valse D’Amelie feels like the wonderment of fast city streets. Divisondero feels like meeting an old friend for coffee the first time in years. There Is No Goodbye, Chunky Rice (an excellent companion to an amazing graphic novel) expresses the pain and release of the goodbye that it’s protagonist is trying so hard to deny.
Variation XIV is off of an album I’ve written about many times, and every single song on that record sounds like a waterfall to me. And I had to return to Yann Tiersen once again, because Comptine might truly be the ultimate song about sorrow. And yet – no instrumental song or album has touched me more than the grandness, the all-encompassing, the unspoken words of Sufjan. And thus, In The Countenance of Kings must close us out.
:Explosions In The Sky – To West Texas:
:Erik Satie – Gymnopedies-No 2. Lent et Triste:
:Patrick Street – Music For a Found Harmonium:
:Graham Reynolds – Movement IV – Late at Night-The Astronomer:
:Mark Mothersbaugh – Nick And Norah’s Theme:
:Yann Tiersen – La Valse D’Amelie (Orchestral Version):
:Balmorhea – Divisondero:
:Bill LePage – Finale – There is No Good-bye, Chunky Rice:
:d’Eon – Variation XIV:
:Yann Tiersen – Comptine D’un Autre Ete – l’Apres Midi:
:Sufjan Stevens – Movement I – In the Countenance of Kings: