“In the future people will make music that people are not only willing but eager to die to”-Apostle of Hustle
When I was fifteen I enjoyed reading the works of Elizabeth Wurztel like most suburban fifteen-year-old girls who pretend they are tortured because they understand Nirvanas’ lyrics on two cognitive levels. Wurtzel wrote “Prozac Nation” and like many other writers she had a fascination with dying and drugs.
Although I found her problems self indulgent, one particular piece stood out to me was choosing her ideal song to die to. Her choice was the tortured yet whimsical “Strawberry Fields Forever” by The Beatles and her weapon was drowning in a bathtub. Her perception of death was something quite flowery, picturesque and calming.
A friend of mine who goes by the name Dirt, yup- just Dirt, is a wildly sensitive animal cruelty activist. His song of choice is Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” in which would play from the sky while he goes head to head with a walrus, the walrus ultimately winning and reminding us that humans are inferior to wild animals. Dirt’s perception of death is much more broad and makes a global statement. My song of choice on the other hand, is the Stranglers “Golden Brown” while choking on truffle oil between Dolly Parton’s giant breasts. I see the comic relief in everything over the top and am fond of gluttony.
Is there some kind of neurological correlation between audio pleasure and dying? Does hearing a song of immense talent make us feel more satisfied with life therefore willing to die? Is death so intangibly fascinating that we can only correlate with something equally as separated yet near to us?
I believe learning about one’s perception of death illuminates their perception of life, and music is a tunnel for that. Of course, this question is more suitable to people who are not seriously plotting their suicide. However there is something about music and dying that correlates nicely in a way most of us can’t fully conceive. Music Journalist Chuck Klosterman (Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs) once stated that every time he hears a good hip hop song he wants to light himself on fire. In addition, music has been both scientifically and philosophically recognized as the “universal language” by philosopher Willam Arthur Ward.
Perhaps music and dying are one of the few interplanetary connections we share unanimously and therefore connect the two. In addition, a multitude of undeniably talented musicians have died tremendously young, also known as the “27 club.” These deaths were almost always due to an overdose of alcohol or drugs. Perhaps dancing closely with the whisper of death made the temporary and exhilarating nature of performing seem more magical.
At the risk of sounding morbid, I believe that music and dying are brilliantly connected. I state this with the sheer recognition towards the mysterious and mystic nature of death and not its other properties. Perhaps the connection between music and dying is neurologically correlated, that our brains relate the two mysterious experiences. The fantasies that are associated with songs we find beautiful can maybe only be properly imagined if we can see ourselves surrendering life to it. Either way I believe the mystic of death holds hands with sonic havoc. Do me one favour: next time you get close to somebody, ask them what song they would like to die to and the scenario in which it would be played. Shortly after, come tell me.