Propagandhi- Music's Power to Describe, Compel, Renew
By Justin George at Feb 22, 2009
"Music's power to describe, compel, renew..."
I listen to a lot of music, every day I have a record playing at some time of the day. If I'm at work my personal mp3 player is constantly on. This is partly an escape from dealing with the boring and routine office job I do and partly to keep me moving, driving me through the day from it's inherent energy.
Like many, music has played a large part in who I am today, in influencing and directing my understanding of the world. Music was critical in political awakening, in being exposed to new ideas. Pouring over liner notes I would study the lyrics, discover new bands and find out about groups or websites that provided even more to explore and understand. I loved that aspect, of playing detective and historian, backtracking influences, tracing the origins of ideas I had found to better understand them, to make them mine. I often reached for the dictionary, or when my family got a home computer, searched for the people or websites mentioned.
Music provided me with a great way to not only find but engage with radical thoughts and ideas- on my own terms and in my own time. I could try some things on for size, other times I could dive right in, or let things sit and see where I stood on issues or organizations.
I didn't feel pushed. In fact it was the opposite as I kept going back to my favourite songs and the ideas behind them.
At the centre of this learning and growing was the band Propagandhi. Fast, melodic and intelligent they set something off in my teenage heart and mind. Each album expanded my understandings, providing a creative force of ideas and music. From their choice of artwork to the liner notes to the enhanced material on their CDs never let me rest. It was accessible but not simplified, complex yet engaging. It was life changing.
They inspired my efforts to become vegan after several years as a vegetarian. As I've written for my ZSpace bio, they helped lead me to Z, to participatory ideals, to engaging and questioning the world we find ourselves.
I just got back from seeing them live for the third time as they tour
What these three awesome experiences have really confirmed, what it reinforces after listening to these songs and to punk rock after all these years, is succinctly summed by Propagandhi themselves- "Music's power to describe, compel and renew."
Everytime I listen to an album, or each time I've left a show, I've had a renewed fire inside. Of feeling strong, empowered, driven, connected and importantly, somehow hopeful. At this moment it puts a smile on my face, a sense of calm joy.
I can draw from these memories and listen to the albums and renew and replenish, ready to face the world and its problems again.
In a world of corporate rock, bubblegum pop and hit singles, it's easy to forget how important and powerful music can be.
Lucky we have Propagandhi to inspire and remind us.