Music of the Soul, Part II: the Outcasts

Why do we like one song and not another?  One artist and not another? I may be conflating here, but two of my favorite artists are Queen and Melissa Etheridge. Perhaps I like them because they write good songs and sing well. For me to like a song, the words are what matter.  (What a surprise, given I’m a writer.) In these two cases, however, there is one more thing: Queen was four gay guys and Melissa Etheridge is a lesbian. The connection here is not the obvious–I’m straight.

I’m also rather naïve at times. I listened to Queen for years–I first heard of them in Junior High–and had no idea they were gay until well into college. (I mean, the name isn’t a clue or anything. And Freddie Mercury’s clothes and antics, those wouldn’t be clues either.)

What I realized today, however, is another connection: these artists and I have something else in common. When we grew up, we were all outcasts; picked on, bullied, ignored, picked last on any sports teams, not invited, not included. The truth is that no one should feel that way. Someone may be different, unusual, strange, or may not fit our view of how the world should be. No one. Ever. It does not matter how uncomfortable we feel around that person. This is the true meaning of “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

In fact, Melissa Etheridge grew up in Leavenworth, Kansas, not 50 miles from my home town, to parents not so different from my own. Thus this first song is quite true:

The other songs from Ms. Etheridge,  just ones I like–again, not the most popular necessarily:

For Queen, everyone would mention Bohemian Rhapsody or Killer Queen, but let’s look at some others: