Tuesday night my family and I attended Andreas Bocelli's concert in Taipei Arena. Now the only time I've ever listened to opera was in Vienna, and during that time friends and I walked into the concert hall late, purchased standing tickets that were so off to the side, I had to crane my neck to see just the corner of the stage. I didn't follow the story as closely as I should have, with the subtitle screens attached to the rails, but rather just immersed myself in the voices and let them have their way with me.

Similarly, Bocelli definitely did a thing or two with me a couple nights ago. The man is completely blind, yet his voice acts as dripping paint on a canvas. Even if I don't understand a word of Italian, I imagined myself running through the streets of Bologna, slurping fettuccine and winking at tanned boys. I see sun, I see nostalgia, and I see heartbreak when I listen to him sing. It was impressive to hear such force and power emanate from a rather small mouth.

While he is a very talented performer, Bocelli is by no means the best opera singer of all time. He is commercial, and one person referred to him as, "Disney." It does make me question what music I have listened to in the past, and what I like listening to now. I've grown up with Disney songs and Broadway musicals, and as a result, I've become the poster child for mainstream music. Z100 and Billboard's Top 100 are my go to sources for what's new in the music scene, and it's kind of ridiculous that I only listen to what is popular, not necessarily what is good. And that raises the question,

what is good music?

Good music is the kind that makes people talk, the kind that makes people congregate. Music has this collective effervescence to bring people, complete strangers, together for just one night. This energy, this unknown energy, somehow turns strangers into friends. Music turns an empty room into an arena of love where personal histories don't matter. I've been to raves with people rolling on ecstasy and instrumental concerts and even an Elton John concert. In all of these concerts, people raise their hands and shake their head to the bass beat, or hold lighters and sway their arms. It's almost like we're worshipping a god, the music god. It's beautiful how we all shed our boundaries and our shields for one night, but we're celebrating more than just music, we are worshipping ourselves. We come to worship the group we are, the friendships we make, and the happiness and strength we provide to each other. We solidify and verify that no matter where individuals come from, we're never alone.

Music is not a religion. People are.



  1. I've been reflecting on this quite a bit too this past year and was in the middle of writing a tumblr post about taste changes over the past year (life wise, books wise, music wise) when I decided to read your blog and you summed up that part perfectly! Something else that's also really fascinating to me are the people who are very I guess GROUNDED in their beliefs on what good music is or what good artists really are. I always wonder if I grew up with more exposure to non-mainstream music whether my perspective would change or not, or rather, whether the fact that enjoying "mainstream" necessarily dubs out the appreciation of other types of music because I've grown to love so many different artists and genres of music. The last paragraph though, describing good music, is so touching :)

    I hope your summer is treating you wonderfully!


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