Listening to: Lovely (Center of my Universe) [Michelle Tumes]
Guys, I can’t tell you why this first set of posts keeps coming in these early morning hours, but whatever. I’ll roll with it.
This song. How do I explain what I thought of this as a child (which is when I first heard it)…it was a fairy’s song; Michelle Tumes was one of my musical fairy princesses (Sixpence None the Richer’s Leigh Nash was one, Michelle Tumes was one and Raze’s Mizzie was another). She looked like a fairy princess and her voice was what I thought a fairy princess’ voice should have sounded like. Of course as a bigger girl now, I realize that a lot of the fairy-ness indeed comes from studio work and layering, similar to what Enya does to achieve that enchanting vocal you hear on her tracks. In addition to that realization, I have a different sense of wonder with this song outside of feeling sprinkled with fairy dust – I feel at complete ease with the gentleness, subtlety and peace of the music and lyrics.
Michelle’s breathy (and layered) vocal soothingly starts off the song:
“You’re the sweet dreams that soothe me when I can’t fall asleep, You’re the feel in the middle of the city rushing by at the speed of light. You’re the strong resolution when I find no peace, You’re the church bells ringing in the evening; when all is quiet, You whisper comfort, lifts my heart, I get so weak.”
By the time this first verse is done and the chorus comes in, you literally feel like transforming into a feather or a bubble or SOMETHING EXTREMELY LIGHT and just floating away…at least that’s what I feel like. I used to think it was just the beauty of the arrangement and her voice, but it’s a bit deeper than that – it’s the gentleness of it. There is nothing brash or bold or in your face about this track. The lyrics all point to peaceful moments in everyday life, even those peaceful moments that manage to come about in a busy or chaotic setting and the entire arrangement and vocal styling completely caters to that serene set up.
It got me thinking about how almost everything in 2016’s society tells you that it’s all about being a stand out- making a statement! Being heard and strong and empowered and bold and making sure everyone knows it! BANG! POW! BIFF! ZAP! Impact. Lol, not that these things are necessarily bad because they’re really not, but…with all this emphasis on being flashy, assertive (aggressive even) and ensuring you’re making a splash, whether with your outfit, your taste in music or with your vast vocabulary, your extreme sense of self-awareness and political correctness or whatever…people have forgotten the art of being subtle, humble and gentle. We mistake gentleness with weakness; gentle women are seen as adhering to the submissive role that guys are trying to force on us (AND HOW DARE WE SET WOMEN BACK BY BEING NICE AND GENTLE!) and gentle men are seen as weak pushovers and not masculine enough (HOW DARE THEY WUSSIFY THEMSELVES BY BEING NICE AND GENTLE!)
However! Have you ever noticed how refreshing it is to see someone who is legitimately gentle and more of a quiet nature? Not necessarily a shy or introverted person now, just a gentle one. There’s something about them that seems regal, wiser or more mature. I’m so animated and hyper (at times) that I can’t help but admire people who always seem so stoic. When you think about it, in today’s world where it’s so easy to veer towards being loud, aggressive and over-the-top, it takes more strength than anything to reel it all in and remain subtle and understated, so I’m not quite sure why it’s associated with weakness.
It is a beautiful thing; peace. Being around a person who is peaceful in nature and influences peace in their environment, a moment of peace in a world of utter confusion and having a God who is more than willing to give you that peace and self-control if you allow Him to – it’s all good; kinda makes me be inclined to take it down a couple notches more often.
Don’t get me wrong; we all have different personalities and that’s what makes existing here so interesting. I mean, even ‘gentle Jesus, meek and mild’ had the ‘sons of thunder’ in His circle while on Earth. So yeah! There’s room for the bold and loud, but in all honesty, it seems that a lot of conflicts and crap that we end up in, could have been avoided/sorted out smoothly if we knew how to turn on a bit of the gentle gene more often. Idk…
TL;DR – Everything is so loud and aggressive; we could use some more subtlety and gentleness. There’s a reason everyone secretly admires that one gentle and self-controlled person, even if others openly calls them a pushover/goody-two-shoes etc…it’s because they seem classier, wiser and more mature. Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger“. Michelle Tumes’ music is sprinkled in stoic fairy dust…check out her soothing tunes…like Lovely~