We were camping last week at a really nice camping resort that's become a yearly tradition for us. On Thursday, the kids were in the pool, I was lounging in a wicker chair (with my laptop, of course) and music was being piped over the PA system - most of it bubblegum pop stuff.
All of a sudden, I heard the strains of one of my favorite songs - "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers, and I started singing along in a quiet voice. Or so I thought.
A middle-aged dad walked by me, then stopped in his tracks. He looked at me, he looked up at the speaker on the wall, and he broke into a grin.
"Mr. Brightside?" He asked.
I smiled back. "I know, right?"
"'Bout time they played some real tunes," he said, and then he strolled off, singing along with "Mr. Brightside."
I was reminded of my trip to Dublin last fall. I walked into a pub after wandering Grafton street for awhile, and "Mr. Brightside" was playing there. It was middle of the afternoon, but people in the pub were singing along like it was half an hour before closing and they'd all been drinking together for hours. It was as if the song instantly turned everyone into best mates, and I knew this was the pub for me.
Music can be the great uniter. It can communicate without words, across boundaries, borders and social classes. It can lift our souls and bring us together for a common good. That's the power of music.
And now, I'll let Bobby McFerrin sing us out with his discussion about music and commonality, via the use of the pentatonic scale: