The Sharpe Life Is Here.
It’s easy to find good music. However, it is rare to find good music that has the power to create the world around you. The ability to make you feel, to turn on a light switch in your soul. When I first heard Home, by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zero’s, I felt this way. Sure, their music was catchy, but there was something else.
And so began my curious search to find out what made this group of people so special. Why did they have such a cult following? Why did people leave their shows speaking of transformation, even enlightenment? Crowds of strangers seemed to be high off something, dancing, hugging, and singing up on stage like they were back in Woodstock, reincarnated.
I listened and listened, hitting play and repeat. The music flowed through their first release, then onto Alex Ebert’s solo album, and recently their new sophomore record, ‘Here’. But I couldn’t seem to crack the code. I knew it wasn’t just good music, because good music is relative. You and I have different tastes, and yet I have no doubt that this particular group would move you, beyond their chords and lyrics.
Then recently, I spoke to a friend of mine who was raving about an incredible music festival he had returned from. He confided in me that during this time, he took pretty strong drugs. With eyes wide open, and an enthusiastic look that I had ever seen on his face, he proclaimed, “It felt like love.” It was as if he discovered the answers to the universe. So I asked politely, “have you ever felt love before?” He smiled coyly, “Well, of course. And I swear, it felt exactly like that.” Suddenly, I had this epiphany. Could it be possible that he had the ability to produce something in his mind that a drug promised to do so well? Indeed. The pill may have induced the feeling of love, but at one time, so did he.
We all have in our minds the ability to create our own reality. Without drugs, or magic, or even other people. Within ourselves we can generate love, happiness, anxiety, fear, bravery, all of the above. However it is the few that truly believe in the supreme force that they have within, and even fewer that can make us feel what they feel. And this, I realized, is what Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zero’s has done so well.
After seeing them perform live, I noticed a shift; some sort of out of body control that they had over the audience. It was beyond any explanation. I realized that like so few great artists, Edward Sharpe not only conveyed what they felt, but were able to make us feel it with them. It is not just their nostalgic sound that can take you back to days you never lived through, but a collective energy that is placed into their music. And it is with purpose.
Alex Ebert, the lead singer of Edward Sharpe, who battled serious drug addiction in the past and wrestled with the idea of death since he was a young child, points out that this self-manifesting is an answer to his angst. In an interview last year, Ebert noted that with "the refusal to lose hope comes the desire to build something else and the ability to accept that that something else may not be created in your lifetime. But that's irrelevant. The thrust," he concludes, "is the intention."
Call it a drug, call it magic, call it human nature. Whatever it is, I am hooked.
For past musicallyinclined articles, click here.