howdy there and welcome to the first installment of this little blog series, which I am calling "behind the music". each week, I'll do a bit of a deep dive into each of the tracks from my newly-released album Crystal Eyes. part of the reason I love creating music is that it's a way to share stories, thoughts, and connections with others, and I really wanted to lean into that as much as I could for this album. I hope you enjoy reading about the stories and inspirations behind these songs, and if you haven't done so yet, go stream the album! it's currently available on Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube (and YouTube Music), and variety of other platforms. you can get directly to my artist profile on Spotify and YouTube by tapping their respective buttons at the top of the page.
so, without further ado, let's dig into the first track of the album, which also happens to be the title track: Crystal Eyes [the intro]. if you've known me or have been following my journey for awhile, you know that poetry is my first love. I last paid tribute to spoken word poetry on the intro track to my first EP, what's going on up there?, which I released way back in 2018. (you've likely seen me perform that piece if you've come to a show, it holds a very dear place in my heart.) I have a fondness for intro tracks (and interludes, skits, etc.) on albums. they add a different dimension to the message of an album and how it's portrayed to the listeners. I think that's why I decided to do a spoken word intro for Crystal Eyes. the rhyme, rhythm, imagery, flow of a good poem is captivating. it can silence a crowded room, it can evoke so many thoughts and emotions in just one person. I have experienced both, and there is nothing like it in the world.
my central, driving inspiration when working on Crystal Eyes was the impact that hardships, trauma, or battling personal demons have on perspectives. navigating life through a lens of anxiety and depression often made the world around me seem dull, unimportant, and meaningless. when you're so lost inside your own head, you really don't have the energy to care about what's going on around you. it is extremely easy to slip into a downward spiral of apathy and dread. in my experience, these are the moments when people tend to notice that you aren't doing super great, and they respond by giving you extremely unhelpful (and unsolicited) advice, such as telling you to try smiling more, or reminding you that you have so much to be happy about. so then you aren't just feeling terribly numb or awful about life in general, you also start feeling angry, annoyed, or guilty! it's really great (she said sarcastically).
don't get me wrong, I think some credit should be given to practices like actively smiling, gratitude, and reframing thoughts. these things can help mitigate the toll that mental illness can take on you and help you grow more resilient. but telling someone these things when they're trying to claw their way out of a pit is probably not the best idea. I mean, if you see somebody break their arm, do you tell them they probably should have been monitoring their calcium intake more closely? or tell them to just get up and shake it off? (if you answered yes to either of those questions, please take a few moments and find some ways to become a more empathetic person. seriously.)
I have noticed, though, that after I've come out on the other side of a "low spell", my focus tends to very easily shift to things that would normally seem small or insignificant. I can become so enraptured in the silliest things, absolutely amazed that I am sharing space with them. the feel of a tree trunk when I run my hand across it, catching a glimpse of someone singing loudly in their car, the trail a raindrop makes when it slides down a window. things I would likely not otherwise notice overtake me with awe.
I'm not sure exactly what it is, but something about those moments feels healing. maybe they ground me. maybe they remind me that I'm alive, and a lot of things had to happen in order for me (or any of us, really) to exist. even if it all is just a senseless accident, it's pretty cool that I can share a moment with a garden spider while she's spinning her intricate web, or gaze upon a full blood moon on a cloudless night. I might as well admire all of the mesmerizing moments that I can, while I can.
sometimes, when I feel myself start slipping again, these little things pop up into my mind. it's like a reminder that it is possible to feel delighted to be alive, to be captivated by the prospect of living. even if I can't feel it in that particular moment, I have felt it numerous times before. that gives me hope that I'll be able to feel it again.
honestly, I think that being caught in dark places has contributed to my appreciation of the often-overlooked. when you don't care about anything for so long, even the smallest ounce of enthusiasm for the tiniest speck of earth is a wondrously overwhelming joy. and that's truly the message behind this track. when you find yourself so entranced by something, no matter how stupid or pointless it may seem, hold onto that feeling. in those moments, when your eyes are finally opened, take in as much of it as you can, before they close again.