A perfect song about the creative process, “Tightrope” caught my ear when it came out in 2010, and hasn’t really let it go since. Based in a funky alternate reality in which the musicians are inmates in an insane asylum (now there’s some symbolism!), the song talks about how you have to keep on keeping on — and keep on making your art — no matter “whether you’re high or low,” or if people are criticizing you, or you’re on top of the world, or whatever. As an artist who struggles with keeping upbeat on dreary “down” kind of days, I find this song totally inspiring. Not to mention totally fun! Janelle Monáe sings it right on. Take a listen:
Fear is the lock / And laughter the key to your heart
How beautiful is that? And how applicable to the artist’s journey. To any journey, actually. I’m thinking I may write this one down and post in a place where I’ll see it regularly.
Those lines have been playing through my head since last night, when I watched The Music Never Stopped, a fascinating movie about a guy with a brain tumor who can’t form new memories — except when he’s listening to the music he grew up with in the ’60s. It’s based on “The Last Hippie,” an essay by Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and writer famous for his books about (among other things) memory and music. Continue reading →