Q: Mom, does this song have soul?
Me: Uh, it's the Village People, honey. I don't think they have soul.
(Do not judge me for listening to disco with my kids. If you must judge me, accuse me of being a bad mom because I spent 2 hours tonight sitting in the van with the heater going listening to "Shake your Groove Thing" while E was out playing baseball in the freezing cold. So I am not only a bad mother, but I listen to disco. But do not judge me for the disco!!)Q: Why not?
Me: Honey, the Village People are singing YMCA. Do I really need to explain further?
Q: Mom what does it mean for a song to have soul?
Me: Uh. I don't know, honey. I guess it's a feeling.
*silence* (I'm thinking I'm not going to be able to get out of this line of questioning after all.)
Q: Do you mean the words and music have a lot of emotion in them?
Me: Well, I guess so. Yeah.
Q: You mean like this?
And at this point the floodlights came on and the orchestra struck up and Q and E simultaneously broke out into a rendition of Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. My previously drab and cold and baseball centered life was suddenly transformed into the middle of a musical - I cannot tell you how incredibly odd it was. They knew every single word and nuance of the song and it was so unrehearsed yet so perfectly executed that it HAD to have been the result of living in a musical. Plus, the sudden appearance of the orchestra was disconcerting. And the floodlights were making it hard to drive. They sang it perfectly. The only reason they weren't dancing in perfect synchronicity was because they were strapped by seatbelts in the van. I do so wish I could have recorded it and put it here. Weird, weird, weird. I have no idea how they knew all the words. I was so shocked that I forgot the whole subject had been about what "soul" in music means.
Speaking of which, I still don't know how to explain what I think it means for music to have soul. I've spent the last 30 minutes surfing the internet on soul sites looking at examples of "Soul Singers." I've read the definitions and read about Blue-eyed soul and Philadelphia soul and Deep soul and Neo soul, but I still don't have the right words. I guess I don't need to anymore, since my Natasha Bedingfield-loving musical-living kids have it all figured out. I'll let you know when the tickets are on sale.
By the way, my personal musical presentation was especially poignant for me because DH has decided that song is perfect for our kids.
I am unwritten, can't read my mind, I'm undefined
I'm just beginning, the pen's in my hand, ending unplanned
Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten