Most songs convey a message of some sort. Whether the song is a “top 40” jam or a deep cut of one of your favorite artists, each conveys a message to be heard and internalized by listeners.
I’m here to make the claim that some songs hide messages that transcend generational gaps, trends, fads and individual genres of music. Some messages just mean more.
If you were alive and hip to the music scene in the ’60s, you’re probably familiar with one of my favorite artists, Jimi Hendrix. In his bright career, there were certainly many individual successes. Of those successes, none shines more brightly than “Hear My Train A Comin’.”
On this track, my man Jimi is the only one singing, but you’d be mistaken if you think that makes it a solo.
It’s really a duet.
When the legend isn’t singing his soulful blues, his guitar fills in fluidly to allow Jimi a breather.
Each of Jimi’s lyrics force listeners to confront personal and collective questions of existence. They’re deep, they’re raw and they don’t pull any punches.
Affirming each of Jimi’s thoughts, his guitar sings “lyrics” that can’t be achieved through simple, spoken language we so often rely on. His guitar stirs up deep emotions that words have trouble reaching.
It submits listeners to slowly strolling riffs, only to jarringly reawaken audiences with complex sequences. As the guitar alternates between wailing messages from the deep and playfully strumming out lighter feelings, it can only be said that the guitar speaks as much truth as the man.
But isn’t this always the case with powerful music? Too often, we’re subjected to flat music. To our ears, the music is dead on arrival. It offers a weak message, little substance and certainly no originality of flavor or style. But throughout history, music is made that shatters that mold. That music gives us listeners glimpses at truth, a truth of things that’s more powerful than the next catchy song to top the charts.
Here, Jimi and his guitar graciously offer us some of the most important life lessons you’ll find.
The track features wide, disorienting lightning strikes of sound. Twanging and roaring, Jimi and his guitar let us in on their feelings.
And the message? Well, it’s the only one worth hearing.
It tells the story of an individuality resting inside of every one of us. For most, that individuality lays dormant, waiting for you to whisper an “all-clear” for it to emerge and manifest itself.
America certainly touts its ostensible diversity. You name it, we’ve got it – diversity of ethnicity, creed, ideology, political view and any number of other qualities. But apart from these outward differences, is there really much difference between strangers you pass on the street? Haven’t the majority of the people you met been shoved into a mold of what the world needs (or thinks it needs)? In most cases, I’d say the answer to that question is unequivocally and resoundingly “yes.”
Jimi and his guitar let us in on the secret that you’re not supposed to fit in. In his day, Jimi rocked kaleidoscopic outfits and hats topped with feathers. Whether in spite of his eccentricities or because of them, Jimi Hendrix was very loved.
So, stop critiquing the quirks and special qualities of those around you. If you see someone pursuing a strange path in life, I’d be willing to bet that they’re following their passion. They’ve boarded the train Jimi described, and they didn’t bother to buy a return ticket.
Jimi tells us how we can empower ourselves and truly live. We only need to follow his example and purchase our one-way tickets with no notion of ever heading anywhere else. Our train’s destination isn’t a “place” in the traditional sense. It’s simultaneously different and identical for every person, because that destination is your destiny.
Each person was born into this world with passions, talents and a unique perspective. These characteristics create the individuality that fuels your future. With individual futures, the only ticket worth buying for any person is the ticket that puts you on a personalized train to your destiny.
Our destinies are hopelessly intertwined with each other’s. The world can only operate if every person devotes their whole self to their deepest passions and talents. When we’re passionate, we commit our whole efforts to the object of interest.