Lately, I’ve been really fascinated by colors triggered by emotions in one’s brain. That is to say, if you were to get beneath a cat scan or MRI while having specific types of emotions and look at the colors that are activated in your mind, what would you find? Entire pools of red and yellow when angry? Primarily cool blue tones when you’re relaxed? And are those colors ever known to us, even if we can’t see them for ourselves? Like, do we have some strange intuitive sense as to what is going on in our heads? Specifically, in relation to music — something so complex and not just one emotion, I like to think about what parts of the brain light up. I’m imagining a light show.
The amount of gifted music that has crossed my path in the past ten years, especially this past year after beginning to write for EMPT, has been astounding to say the least. Whether it’s been new discoveries, where you give something a first-time listen and feel instantly attached and connected, or old re-discoveries. Songs that meant so much to you in a period of time that was either really red-brained, or perhaps more chilled out and blue-brained. Of course I don’t know the actual reality of what color your brain turns. I’m not involved in neuroscience whatsoever, though I’d love to be. This song is one of those re-discoveries for me.
It’s hard to imagine that you forget certain songs after a what seemed like a really significant period of time. The first time I heard this song (and let me just say, the original/most well-known by Karen Dalton must be listened to in its own time as well as it is just as eery and hauntingly beautiful), was right after I started to get involved in a pretty serious relationship. Anytime I enter something more serious, I try to keep an open-mind. A lot of self-reflection takes place, almost like editing a paper while writing it. It’s not entirely effective, but sometimes it just needs to be done. Maybe this is why there is no certainty as to where a relationship will go, what path it will take, and when jealousy will start to kick in. But in the beginning, it was constant euphoria, as it always tends to be.
Coming across the piano and hum of Agnes Obel’s comforting, but almost motherly, female voice seemed to dig a hole deep inside my heart almost instantaneously. In this situation, it was a combination of a number of things that led me to such an emotional place. The lyrics tell a story of someone who was, and then who they became. That was what stuck to me most, as you’ll see in the first verses.
When I first came to town,
They called me roving jewel;
Now they’ve changed their tune,
Call me Katie Cruel,
Through the woods I’m goin’,
Through the bogs and mire,
Straightway down the road,
To my heart’s desire
I guess it got me thinking about how life throws a lot of people at you who you get to watch go from one kind of persona to another. That notion in general chokes me up, because we see it every single day. A celebrity who possessed such great talent, then suddenly, an enormous failure. A friend who remained loyal no matter what, then one day, betrayal of your own trust.
The same can be said for relationships. What they start as, is not necessarily real. I believe it was CP who said a few posts ago, the beginnings of relationships are seemingly perfect. But just because they seem perfect, doesn’t mean you see the entire truth. (Something along those lines, hope I haven’t completely butchered your ideas on love, CP! That is why I took to this song immediately and so strongly: because it was a reality check and a reminder that what was, would eventually become something else. And it may be something great, but it would most likely be painful. After all, we are dealing with humans here, the most complex of creatures only because we can self-reflect and possess emotions that we can talk about.
So what was the point of the colors in the brain, besides my own geeky fascination? I recently came across footage of a female’s brain during an orgasm, highlighted specifically in colors of red and yellow which appropriately showed the gradual process. I was immediately fascinated by the notion of colors equating to emotions in the brain.
Enjoy this remix by Feltman & Badutski. It doesn’t significantly alter the original, but it does enhance the quality of the already existing sound and emphasize the lyric. The beginning feels like a character introduction into a movie, walking down a long hallway into a room where the main shot will take place.
Try to be conscious of your brain’s colors as you listen. Just for fun.