The Righteous Brothers, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield, were unrelated. Their name came when a fan shouted, “That was righteous, brothers!”, and would often greet them with “Hey righteous brothers, how you doin’?”.
Their music had soul. It touched us at an emotional level—as did Mozart, Gershwin, John Lennon, Martens, Johnny Cash.
It’s hard to put your finger on what elements in music reach deep within us to elicit emotional or intellectual energy. We know it when it grabs us.
We don’t require a high-end audio system to touch the soul of music. A song played in the car can grab you as firmly as a live performance.
And yet the best stereo systems I know of have a magic to them that seems to enhance beyond words music’s emotion.
I think of high-end’s magic not as a requirement for connecting with music’s emotion but as an aid, a seasoning, a spice.
There are few pleasures better in life than connecting with music’s soul.
A high-end system gets us closer.
Exceptions to the rule
Our opinions and judgments are strongly connected to our personal biases. If we’re convinced LP’s are superior to digital we carry that belief into a listening session. If we should hear something that counters our vinyl predisposition, we typically pass the experience off as an exception to the rule.
The rules turn out to be arbitrary: self-imposed fences that help us navigate the complexities of the world.
I am predisposed to believe stereo systems will not properly image unless there’s enough room between them and the front wall to let the image breathe. I am always surprised when I encounter an exception to that rule.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to reset our accumulated biases? Like a case of amnesia.
In my personal development, I have found it valuable to mentally press reset when presented with new ideas or concepts—to let down the guard of my internal rule book and permit the new idea to wash over me without fear or bias. I’ve never managed to pull off this reset technique on the fly, but given a bit of prep, I find it valuable.
I think it’s good to remember that rules are like fences—self-imposed boundary walls erected to keep us safe.
If we’re brave enough, sometimes we can scale the fence and trespass on the greener grass.