I have always been fascinated by the influence of music on people. In its most simplistic definition, it is nothing more than a sequence of sounds synchronized to please our ears. At its best, it moves us like few things can, invigorates us into an out-of-body experience. Its influence stretches beyond our receptive senses into our minds and bodies. It can spark off an impulse to dance, put you under an enchanting spell, fire you up for instant battle, jolt you into a revolt against wrong, cheer you up into a sunny delight, sadden you into a gloomy retreat, brighten up your invisible future, or put you on a path of nostalgic reverie. It also acts as an intangible bookmark that prompts you to open up those forgotten pages of your life that have been associated with it, whether it is by chronological alliance or an emotional binding or some completely inexplicable connection; similar to other art forms like a painting or a picture, but only invisible and much more impalpable. In this series of my random musical bookmarks, I want to highlight a musical piece in each post that might have evoked one such reaction in me.

Arrested Development :: Tennessee

Arrested Development

Arresed Development

The year was 1992, perhaps when the rise of alternative music gained momentum on its way to becoming essentially mainstream and thus no longer alternative, Arrested Development broke into the hip-hop music scene as an alternative hip-hop group with a captivating fusion of blues, rap, soul, and hip-hop, with socially conscious lyrics.

3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life of..

3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life of..

Branching off into an afro-centric path of love and harmony, a stark contrast from the then popularity of gangsta rap, they blazed through the air waves with their debut album “3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the life of..”, derived from the time it took the group to land a record contract.The track “Tennessee” hit the top 10 that year and triggerred a huge sale of this album, setting them on a path to immediate stardom. They won grammys and were in every year end top 10 list. Too bad they couldn’t sustain this success and split up after a couple of years into a relatively obscure solo careers. Tennessee was the height of their achievements and it still sounds as refreshing as in 1992 and remains one of my few personal favorites from this genre..

Lord I’ve really been real stressed
Down and out, losin ground
Although I am black and proud
Problems got me pessimistic
Brothers and sisters keep messin up
Why does it have to be so damn tuff?
I don’t know where I can go
To let these ghosts out of my skull
My grandmas past, my brothers gone
I never at once felt so alone
I know you’re supposed to be my steering wheel
Not just my spare tire
But lord I ask you
To be my guiding force and truth
For some strange reason it had to be
He guided me to Tennessee

Take me to another place
Take me to another land
Make me forget all that hurts me
Let me understand your plan

Lord it’s obvious we got a relationship
Talkin to each other every night and day
Although you’re superior over me
We talk to each other in a friendship way
Then outta nowhere you tell me to break
Outta the country and into more country
Past Dyesburg into Ripley
Where the ghost of childhood haunts me
Walk the roads my forefathers walked
Climbed the trees my forefathers hung from
Ask those trees for all their wisdom
They tell me my ears are so young
Go back to from whence you came
My family tree my family name
For some strange reason it had to be
He guided me to Tennessee

Now I see the importance of history
Why people be in the mess that they be
Many journeys to freedom made in vain
By brothers on the corner playin ghetto games
I ask you lord why you enlightened me
Without the enlightment of all my folks
He said cuz I set myself on a quest for truth
And he was there to quench my thirst
But I am still thirsty…
The lord allowed me to drink some more
He said what I am searchin for are
The answers to all which are in front of me
The ultimate truth started to get blurry
For some strange reason it had to be
It was all a dream about Tennessee