“If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.”
William Shakespeare wrote this a few years back, providing us with valuable insight into a heretofore unknown food chain and squarely defining love as a predator that preys on music. This makes sense, as we all know love to be that most vicious of beasts and there is not much that it will not devour, given time. But if love is eating music, what is music eating? Does music have other natural predators? Just how many things does love eat in this food web? The answers may surprise you.
First of all, I think we can safely place love at the top of this ecosystem. Does anything prey on love? No, because, as Virgil writes in Eclogue X, ‘omnia vincit amor,’ which translates to “Love conquers all.” And, in fact, love, like humanity, also preys upon itself, as evidenced by this Elton John lyric: “Love eats love eat love. Love is a cannibal.” So love, you go up at the top.
Wait a minute! Love may eat everything, but that doesn’t mean that nothing can eat it. Mr. Shakespeare comes to our aid again, by letting us know, in Romeo and Juliet, that death eats love! ‘Then love-devouring death do what he dare; It is enough I may but call her mine.’ Well said, Romeo. Death eats love. But love conquers all, so love must also prey on death. They are mutual predators, love and death. Like Democrats and Republicans. So Death can go next to love on the list.
Death also preys on everything, since we know from A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin that ‘valar morghulis’ (all men must die), and from George Harrison that “All Things Must Pass.” But now that we have our top two predators, it’s time to figure out what music is feeding on while trying to escape from the talons of love.
I was having hard time find any information on the food of music, so I turned to my greatest resource: all of my Facebook friends, many of whom have done one or more musics at some point. The list I got was quite long and varied, but as far as I can tell, the things that music eats are, in no particular order, silliness, joy, awe, fear, emotion, imagination, creativity, booze, teamwork, motion, inspiration, relationships, goblins, nachos, passion, addiction, mental illness, and monsters.
Since we need proof, let’s start narrowing it down. We know that love definitely eats relationships, as evidenced by everything Taylor Swift has ever created, but does music eat them too? I think we can look to Bill Murray in “What About Bob?” for proof of this. As he explains when detailing the end of his marriage, “There are two types of people in this world: those who like Neil Diamond and those who don’t.” So music certainly consumed that relationship. It goes on the list.
Of course we have seen in The Lord of the Rings” and many other places that monsters (Durin’s Bane) eat goblins (orcs). Does music eat either of them? Luckily we have proof that music is a predator where scary things are concerned, as evidenced by this video of a Dad using music to protect his daughter from things she is scared of, and I think we can assume that goblins and monsters are on that list. And fear itself, obviously.
I’m going to put passion, addiction, and mental illness in the same category, since they are three sides of the same really weird looking coin. Does music consume them? Well, according to this really long and boring looking paper, it does. It’s called music therapy, and it turns out that music freakin’ wolfs down your inner demons. Use it. Learn from it. Grow. Be happy.
What about silliness and joy? Can music gobble them up? According to this completely circumstantial evidence from “Time” magazine, teens who listen to more music are more depressed. So long, joy and silliness. Music is coming for you.
I can’t find any evidence for the other suggestions, so I am tossing them all out, except for nachos, because music loves nachos. Everybody knows that.
So there you have it. The beginnings of a food web that has yet to have any major research published on it. This, to me, is unbelievable. Surely I cannot be the first to discover this complex ecosystem that is co-existing with us all, wherever we go. But if I am, rest assured that I will not stop until I have completed mapping this brave new world that has been here the whole time, right under our noses! After I eat some nachos. Obviously.