Music, musings and more from the mind of Ben Averch.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Can You See the Real Me

I was reading a thread on recently and somebody made a comment that I've been thinking about a lot the last couple of days. They said that they listened to Yes for many years and have heard hundreds of Yes songs but can't tell anything about what kind of person Jon Anderson (Yes' singer and lyricist) really is. He doesn't know the person despite being immersed in that person's creativity and the world of their imagination.

That kind of stuck with me. I've written a lot of songs. Could someone going over my collected lyrics really have any insight into who I am as a person? It's hard to know. Going back to when I first started writing songs some time in high school to now, I've written songs on a lot of different topics. My current album seems to have the theme of personal and spiritual growth; my last record had ten songs about nano-sized, supremely intelligent robots that soar through the universe and bend the fabric of reality to their will; prior to that there have been songs about biotechnology, disasters in outer space, old girlfriends, shape shifting monsters, manta rays, dwarves, you name it.

Probably the most successful song I ever wrote was the 1992 classic 'Open Your Arms (Alycia)'. That one got a certain girl to notice me when my band played it on stage at our high school battle of the bands. 13 years and one son later, we're still together...!

Now Yes lyrics are a unique example -- Jon Anderson's writing is really hard to find a literal meaning for -- he's writing about rivers and forests and suntowers and a lot about returning to the center. I find Yes songs to be very positive and spiritually uplifting. He's writing about the mystery and awe of just being alive and experiencing nature. That is awesome.

Looking at the lyrics for the songs on Washington State it's clear that I'm trying to make a statement about what people need to do -- stand up, take responsibility and move yourself forward in a positive direction. Now that kind of sounds a little bit didactic but I think about it a lot so I guess what it boils down to is an expression that's trying to change things or people's perceptions of things rather than a window into my own soul.

It is possible that more about me as a person can be understood by my writings on my Microvision Blog. The combination of an epically large blog about some pretty far out technology and a whole concept album about porting human consciousness to a digital environment could lead one to think I am either nuts or obsessed with the future. One or both of those may be true. But what I want to do and what I want to say isn't really about technology at all -- it's about the soul, and the moment. It's about yearning for things that you already have and don't know it. It's about how sometimes rain falls so hard that you can't even see it. There's a lot of mystery about life. It's an amazing thing. So having that awe and reverence for being alive is what I really want to get on about.

So we'll see how I do. Thanks for listening!


Anonymous Halli said...

yeps, Jon Anderson's lyrics sure are noodle-scratchers

5:00 AM

Anonymous Matt said...

Knowing you personally makes it difficult to separate your personality from your music in my mind, but I think your lyrics show that you are generally optimistic and an idealist. That you like the possibilities of technology and you like to think about its philosophical ramifications. That you are an introspective and philosophical type of thinker, you write about big, expansive topics rather than about the minutia of everyday life.

As for Jon Anderson, even though his lyrics are difficult to comprehend, perhaps even non-sensical, I get the impression of him as kind of a New Agey, head in the clouds type. He also likes big concepts, but treats them in a more abstract or disjointed way. He doesn't seem to follow a coherent line of thought. It may be that he chooses words to sing based more upon how they actually sound than what they mean.

2:36 PM

Blogger Ben said...

Hey Matt!!!

Thanks for writing. I do try to be optimistic. There's a lot of awesome stuff in life. I also have grown to not be able to take 'angry' music. I think as time goes along you realize that your mental bandwidth is limited. You only have the time to experience and do so many things. This makes prioritizing what you spend your time doing really important.

(Note this does not mean I won't spend many many hours watching football in my life.)

So positivity and mystery and all that great stuff is something that's really core to what I want to spend my time on.

You are the man!!!

4:31 PM


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