I’m tired. It’s 1:45a.m. and I know I should be in bed but I’m at that point now when I’m feeling so lightheaded from the lack of sleep that I’m either a few steps from nirvana and I can ponder the true meaning of life, or I’m just going to pass out and let dreams consume my subconscious.

The only thing that makes sense at this hour is good music. Not the head-bangin’, teeth-rattling kind of music that makes you want to go out and do violence to stray cats or the sappy, innuendo laced love songs that drives your testosterone levels into red alert status. No, I’m talking about the kind of music that makes you sit back and consider things. The Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder kinda music that makes you chew on lyrics, get a feel for the texture, let it roll around on your tongue for a bit before you really digest the meaning of the words.

Music only has meaning for me when I can tear it down and restore it from the ground up. It’s like a kid taking apart their very first radio and trying to put it back together again so that they can see how it really works. Until I can kick the lyrics around in my head for awhile, I can’t feel the music. If I understand and can’t find an appreciation for who the artist is, their motivations, their passion, I can never truly appreciate the music. If I can arrive at that point, then Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” become a homogeneous hodgepodge in my head. Both stirring. Both meaningful. Both very different and yet the same.

I thrive on simplicity. I grew up on everything from The Carpenters to The Beatles; the Stylistics to The Gap Band, A Taste of Honey and The Grateful Dead; Tiama’a and Cecilio and Kapono. My musical tastes are as varied, confusing and as bizarre as my palate but just like food, I love any music that stirs up emotions and invokes memories like a family picnic with BBQ chicken, potato salad and watermelon on a warm Summer evening.

Can you tell I’m tired? I’ll leave you with this, one of my favorite songs was released in 1980 on the album Gap Band III. The song was covered by George “Fiji” Veikoso on his debut album Born and Raised. It is a powerful ballad. I hope you like it and if you’ve heard it before, I hope you like it again.