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The Student News Site of Tualatin High School

The Wolf

The Student News Site of Tualatin High School

The Wolf


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Akash Balakumar
Akash Balakumar

Music has undeniable unifying quality that bridges our divides

 Differences in language, culture and perception have created a fake wall, splitting humanity apart from itself. We’ve built a universe around this separation, seeing our identical halves instead as aliens and our respective planets each as the center of everyone else’s orbit.

Music – and good art in general – presents an overarching and connective logic to disprove this. While we use different languages and have different cultures, we all share the universal intrinsic human trait of emotion that music speaks through. Connected by this shared understanding held by everyone, we can see our real unified nature.

UK artist King Krule’s recent fourth album released in early June and titled Space Heavy is a good example of this. 

On my initial listen through, every carefully constructed verse, cryptically – some might say pretentiously – delivered by the British singer, flew past me completely. No words in the song seemed to stick out because they came secondary to the main communicative tool of the album: its music.

Through the sound alone, Krule fully captures the plane his feelings exist on, converting them to their closest material representation in music form with nothing lost in the transformation. 

Krule’s unique production sets the album in an ethereal and uneasy realm only understood in your experience of it. It floats between detached melancholy and pensive dread before snapping to a disjointed confusion and unhappiness.

After more listens, I eventually picked up on Krule’s words and stories, deciphering the dense poems and allusions that fill the beautifully written lyrics on the album. But this added context did nothing to expand my understanding of the project. Instead, it only reinforced my previous view of it, one already so explicitly laid out in the sound that I didn’t need to look into its lyrical supports.

Space Heavy will give the same message to every listener because its medium doesn’t rely on pre-built, memorized semantics or conditioned outlooks. Instead, it speaks through the universal human understanding of emotion, inexpressible in any other format and seen only in between the lines of our linguistic barriers and built separation. 

The not thriving but certainly not dead Portland hardcore scene gives a second clearer example of this unique communication from the other end of the emotional spectrum.

Concerts in this subgenre of punk are so loud and chaotic that even songs you know backwards seem impossible to parse a single word from. But in this mess of incomprehensible sound, everyone has a singular, unified understanding unlike anything else. 

No carefully constructed essay, polemic or conversation would ever be able to communicate as clearly and effectively as the atmosphere of one of these shows. 

In a perfect display of this universal language, and without use of a single understandable word, everyone in these venues is of a connected understanding, unachievable outside the sphere of art and spectacularly unifying.

Whether it be a depressing alternative album or an emotionally concise live show, music speaks on a channel tuned directly to the base of our humanity. Through this, it can sew our split together and allow us to see that these created worlds of separation revolve not around us, but the greater shared star of our commonalities.

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About the Contributor
Liam Frith
Liam Frith, Entertainment Editor
Hi, my name is Liam and I'm a junior. This is my first year on staff. I joined The Wolf because I enjoy writing and would love to contribute to our school paper. In my free time I like to skateboard, read, and listen to music.

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