Saturday, November 26, 2016

Boston - More Than a Feeling

When choosing songs to review I often like to discuss songs that no one I know in my social life are talking about. I often talk about songs that have little to no presence on terrestrial radio. I like to shine a spotlight on songs that are underappreciated or unjustly unknown. This however is not my only criteria and hardly my sole motivation.

Younger readers of this blog may struggle to relate to this, but when I was young discovering new music was hard. The only realistic means was to listen to the radio, and in my part of the world we only had a handful of radio stations, in fact I could probably count them out if I was serious and I believe there would have been no more than six, and that would be including talk radio. Naturally the only station I liked at that time was CJay 92, the classic rock station. As we all know there are some songs that get played routinely on classic rock stations and in turn are understandably titled the dreaded status of “overplayed.”

A song being overplayed in theory weakens its appeal, and I am not immune from this phenomenon, there are doubtless many songs out there that I now underappreciate because of their constant presence in my life. In turn it is the songs that defy this rule that have always stood out to me. Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” has never gotten old to me and I must have listened to that song well over a thousand times in my life by now. Guns N Roses “November Rain” still resonates as strongly to me as it did the first time I heard it. Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” still sparks within me a joy and comfort every single time I hear it.

I have discussed “Stairway to Heaven” and “November Rain” before, so it is now time to discuss “More Than a Feeling.”

Tom Scholz
“More Than a Feeling” was a true passion project for writer Tom Scholz, as he spent five years creating it. Even before Boston was a band Scholz was working on “More Than a Feeling” and the final product does ooze with deep emotion and a very fine refinement in structure and sound. It is a great success story because “More Than a Feeling” is now a stable of classic rock, and the debut album of Boston was a huge commercial success and was loved by critics.

The lyrics suggest a longing for a lost love Marianne, and how an old familiar song reminds the narrator of Marianne. The chorus is very clear in this regard:

“It's more than a feeling (more than a feeling),
When I hear that old song they used to play (more than a feeling),
And I begin dreaming (more than a feeling),
Till I see Marianne walk away.
I see my Marianne walkin' away.”

It is easy to get wrapped up in Marianne when analyzing this song, so many songs are about lost loves and longing thereof for a return to togetherness, however the true focus for Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” rests within the “familiar song.” This song is primarily about the feelings old familiar music invoke in us. Call it nostalgia if you must, but there is something very powerful about the slipstream of memories and emotions we can experience through song. I talked about this before in several reviews about how something tangential or completely unrelated to the song’s actual meaning is called up in my mind because of where that song was most heard by me or how it was introduced to me. That old song, Scholz refers to the chorus, just so happens to remind him of Marianne walking away. Marianne is just one wonderful example of old feelings of potentially countless being brought up by music.

There is apparently a real Marianne, but she was not some lost love of Scholz, rather she was one of his cousins. When Scholz very young he thought his cousin, Marianne, was the prettiest girl he had ever met and thought he was in love with her. Evidently this is a very innocent love, one of extremely youth filled with simple wonderment. Nothing more than, “my cousin is pretty” but that too is an old memory and rather a kind hearted one at that.

There is something potentially unintentionally meta about “More Than a Feeling,” a song about music bringing out emotion in us all, ultimately has the exact affect itself while describing the experience itself. How befitting “More Than a Feeling” is now an old familiar song that invokes in countless people a wide range of tangential and unrelated feelings and memories from those in Scholz’s heart. How appropriate that “More Than a Feeling” be titled what it is, it is not just a fun little line to emphasize the intensity and power of the feeling in question, but has become much more than a singular feeling. Within the context of the song is meant to be something more significant than just an emotion, a surge of memories and music combining to be something more. The cultural significance is now a nearly infinite number of all those things with every person who loves this song, and has become to represent so much more than a feeling.

In finality “More Than a Feeling” is a perfect song. Thank you, Boston, you rock.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- King of Braves

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