Why good songs are dark: thoughts on Lion King, suffering, and what we're doing here.
Why are good songs so dark?Well, it has a lot to do with the ones that write them. To write anything requires the desire to create.
But that desire can only come from questioning the nature of existence. At the very least the meaning of an experience that has occurred during your existence. Maybe the loss of innocence, the betrayal of a lover, or even the betrayal by life itself. To go one day from vibrancy and potential to the cold uncertainty of death.
Why do these things happen? Why are they even a part of the game? If someone wrote the rules, why would the pain all of us face be included?
If all of us must face pain and no one is exempt, where does that leave us in terms of what life even is?
When you start to pull on the thread of the creation, often times the artist/writer/or musician finds that life is suffering.
What do you do with that? When every artifact you uncover in the search for what life is about, confirms this belief.
As it seems there are three paths that are usually traveled when the curious man starts to ask questions.
The first, and likely the most commonly practiced is to pretend you didn't make this discovery. You take the "life is suffering notion" and bury it deep in your closet with the rest of the skeletons you hope to never confront again. Followed promptly by going about your life the same as before.
The second is the path of the nihilist. If life is suffering no matter what I do, then fuck this. No matter what I do, the randomness in the world may knock me flat on my ass with no mercy what so ever. We all know about triathletes with brain tumors and pedophiles with shortened sentences. If the only rule that seems to be in place is that we all will sufferer, then I will play by as few rules as I can get away with. By forgoing any meaning in life comes with it the absence of any responsibility.
The third is the artist. Upon realizing that life is suffering, the artist begs to know why. When this question is asked consciously (or unconsciously) the place to find the answer becomes abundantly clear. The answer is found in the suffering. The artist has to willing wade deeper into hell.
Only once little Simba flees Pride Rock and goes into the jungle of the unknown (after the death of Mufasa) can he grow and learn to recognize his purpose. What was little Simbas purpose? Little Simba needs to become big Simba, the best version of himself. The kind of self you can become once you've accepted your suffering and started working on it.
Then after some prompting by a crazed baboon, he returned to pride rock and kicked the shit out of the tyrannical Scar. By doing this, he was able to save his kingdom from unnecessary suffering.
The path of the artist is much of the same. No one will be spared from suffering in this life, but the trick that true artists have understood is that life is about making that suffering worth it. They stare into the eyes of pain most of us are afraid to face. They consistently take trips to hell so they can bring back a song.
A song that when we inevitably find ourselves there, can call us back into the light.
Thanks for reading,