“Moments” by Emerson Drive
- Pages: 6
- Word count: 1367
- Category: Moments
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Recently in my English Composition class, we began learning about reading as a process. While discussing this topic, it was pointed out that when a person reads a text they bring their own life experience with them and it influences the way that the content is perceived by that person. It was also stated that, whenever a person reads, they go through three response stages in what is labeled as their reading response analysis. These three stages are: perceptions, affective response, and associative response. The perceptions are the reader’s initial impressions in response to the text; the affective response is the raw emotion that the text produces in the reader; and the associative response is where the reader determines what is behind their initial impressions to the text and why the text brought about the perceptions that it prompted. In this paper, I am going to illustrate a reading response analysis as it pertains to a text by elaborating on my personal responses regarding a particular text through the utilization of the three stages that I have just presented.
The text that I have chosen is the song “Moments” (Tate, Tate, & Berg, 2006) as it was recorded by the country music group Emerson Drive. My perception of this song is that it starts out very sad and depressing but, by then end, it has taken on a much brighter outlook. My affective response is that the lyrics touch my heart in a way very few songs ever have and that it makes me smile and brings a tear to my eye at the same time. My associative response is that my struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts throughout my lifetime have led me to where I can relate very closely to the emotion being alluded to in the narrative of the song. Almost seven years ago, “Moments” came across my radio’s airwaves for the very first time and it proceeded to touch my heart. I will admit that I have listened to hundreds of thousands of songs performed by many different artists and in many different genres within my relatively short lifetime.
However, there have not been many songs that have been able to bring a tear to my eye every single time that I have heard them. My initial impression was that the song was fairly slow so is gives the listener enough time to really listen and think about what the singer is saying. The song starts out seeming very sad and depressing because it is being told from the point of view of a man who is contemplating committing suicide by jumping off of a bridge. However, by the end it does not feel nearly as sad and the man singing the song appears to be much more upbeat about life than he was at the beginning. This song, for me, brings up a lot of mixed emotions in my affective response to it. At first, it appears to be very sad and depressing because the young man is thinking about jumping off of a bridge and ending his life. He has gotten to a point in his life where he is not even sure that anyone would miss him if he actually did die.
It makes me feel extremely curious to know what exactly the man has been going through to get to a point where he feels like nobody cares about him and he just wants to end his life rather than keep trying to move forward. As the song progresses, there is information presented regarding the lives of the suicidal man and the homeless man that he encounters as he is heading to the middle of the bridge to jump. Hearing about their lives, it makes me feel sympathy for both of the men after learning that they used to have such great things in their lives but, for whatever reason, those wonderful things appear to have gone away. Then, at the end of the song, it is revealed that the young man did not kill himself and that he, at least partially, credits the homeless man with helping him pull through whatever he felt was so horrible and find the will to keep living. The lyrics at the end of the song are much more upbeat and hopeful than I was expecting based on the way that the song started out. This song has never failed to illicit a very strong emotional reaction from me. Even to this very day, by the end of the song I almost always have a smile on my face and a tear in my eye.
I find it to be a very touching song. While digging deeper and attempting to better understand my associative response to this song, I discovered a belief that this song elicits these particular emotional reactions from me because I have been a sufferer of depression and suicidal thoughts in varying degrees for almost as long as I can remember. I, personally, have known that feeling of complete hopelessness. I have known the feeling of believing that I had hit absolute rock bottom where there are no silver linings, no ladders back out of the hole that has been dug, and no reason to even go on for one more day. I have also come to realize, just as the man in the song did, that it can make all the difference in the world to have someone there to talk to. I believe that there are times when the only thing needed is for someone else to point out that life hasn’t always been so bad and to emphasize that there have been good times too.
If there is someone who can do that, then they may also be able to stress the belief that there could be more good times coming but the storm has to run its course before the sunlight can find its way back through to shine again. When I first heard the song “Moments” so many years ago, my initial impression was that it started out coming across as a very sad and depressing song but, at its conclusion, turned out not to be all that sad after all. In fact, contrary to the feeling of hopelessness that is presented at the beginning of the song, the ending feels very upbeat and hopeful. By the way that the story is presented throughout the song, my affective response is actually a mix of many different emotions. During the course of hearing the song all the way through it brings about feelings of sorrow, depression, curiosity, sympathy, and hopefulness from within me.
While doing research for this paper and analyzing my own associative response to the song, I have come to believe that I have such a strong, mixed emotional response to the lyrics because of my own personal history of struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts. The things that are being stated within the content of the song seem to hit me very hard because I can empathize with the emotions that the narrator is alluding to in his story. The emotions are extremely powerful for me because I have experienced very similar emotions in my own life. Whenever a person reads a text they bring their entire life experience with them and it influences how that person responds to the text. From their initial response to what they have read, to their raw emotional reaction, to their understanding of why they have reacted in the way that they have, the experience is exclusive for each individual. It would be impossible to produce an identical perception, affective response, and associative response to any text in two different readers. There have never been two people who have experienced the exact same life and, therefore, there will never be two people who perceive any text in the exact same way and for the exact same reasons. Every person is unique so it is only fitting that their response to a text is equally as unique.
Tate, A., Tate, S. & Berg, D. (2006). Moments [Recorded by Emerson Drive]. On Countrified [CD]. Nashville, TN: Midas Records.