PeiPei’s Pennies – I’m COCO Loco for Music!

Hola, nerds! Welcome to PeiPei’s Pennies, the part wherein I give my two cents on stuff that’s hardly relevant to the subject material. I’ve yet to mention it, really, to anyone that the year of 2018 has been my self-proclaimed “PeiPei’s Year of the Disney!” (more on this later). Regardless, this is a thing that’s happening, in my head-canon. As such, with the Blu-ray/DVD release for the latest Disney-Pixar hit, COCO, I thought I’d come write a quick bit about my relationship with it. And though this shan’t really be a review, since I’ll probably do that a bit later, the movie really struck a chord with me on one of its values. Not the family aspect, or the tradition aspect, or the following your dreams aspect, nah. I want to talk about one of the things that stood out to me almost immediately. No worries, no spoilers here (though you should go watch that movie, it was pretty good), this premise you could find in just one of the trailers for the film – “Never underestimate the power of music.”

Now, COCO doesn’t really have a monopoly on this thought, nor is it the strongest forefront on the subject, yet, it got me to thinking about how passionate I am on the subject itself. So, mild recap: COCO is about a young boy who is in love with music, despite the fact his entire family hates it because of some prior-generation mumbo-jumbo. Regardless of his family’s spite he continues to seek out his dream of playing music while adoring his idol who did the same thing-play music. Wherein the main character goes on his Disney adventure to make his dream come true and play music.

“Why does this matter so much, PeiPei?” you might be asking yourself. Indeed, there are other themes in the film that they are trying to express, the music aspect just happens to be an instrument (haha, get it?) to convey those themes throughout the movie and sure I get that. It matters, dearest readers, because I am an audiophile and the premise of “the power of music” rustles up my jammies something fierce. Music, is quite possibly, one of the greatest things human beings have invented (or stumbled upon, I don’t know). Music, and all of its genres, produces one of the strongest forces that we experience. That corporeal and emotional feeling one gets when hearing their favorite song, the relaxing, calming aspect of listening to soothing melodies before heading off to bed. These sensational souvenirs of sensory stimulation hit harder than the most motivating speech of a leader, than the mind-blowing questions of the logician, and even the reassuring whispers from our families.

I am almost positive that I’m not the only one here with a “Mood Boost Playlist” of some kind. I’m sure you do too. A work-out playlist, perhaps? Maybe a playlist for when your cooking? Cleaning? Most definitely, the playlist one plays when indulging into their own self-sorrows. We all have ‘em! Music is such a phenomenal psychiatrist for our temperament. It can ignite within us a passion long-lost to time. Or allow us to channel emotions that, otherwise, would prove harmful if not expressed else-wise. Whether music demands our dignity, or grants it to us, whether or not music commands our attention, or shatters the chains to our hidden emotions, it still holds the keys to unlocking our innermost self.

Have you ever bonded with a stranger (soon to be friend) about the genre of music you both happen to like most? Maybe attended a concert and were met with a life-altering moment, just because your love for music led you there. Music has that strange ability to allow us to see what we can have in common, together. Some of my closest friends are such because of music, and the experiences we shared because of it.

I don’t mean to get too off topic here, but allow me to give y’all a classic example on the issue I’m so vigorously typing about, perhaps my most favorite example: the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Without going into too much detail, Orpheus, the greatest musician ever, of all time, lost his bride Eurydice and was so determined to get her back, he traveled to the underworld to get her back. Along his way there he had to get past Cerberus, the captain Charon who ferried dead souls across the River Styx, ultimately leading to his audience with the King and Queen of the underworld. How did he get passed all these trials you might ask? Orpheus played and sang the most beautiful of music of course! The savage, ferocious Cerberus fell asleep to his lullaby, Charon gave him ferry free of charge due to the beauty of his melody, as well as Hades and Persephone, not to mention all of the underworld, shed tears after Orpheus sang of his beloved bride. Could you imagine? Think about it: Orpheus didn’t argue with Cerberus, he didn’t explain his plight to Charon, and he didn’t make a speech to the rulers of the Underworld about his love for Eurydice, he sang about it and influenced all who stood in his path to his side with the power of music.

I think that was one of my favorite parts about the movie COCO. It was strangely like this classic Greek myth. Y’know the underworld compared to land of the dead in the movie – the dead bride compared to the dead daddy-issues, you get the point. The main character even uses the power of his music to influence every obstacle in his way to help him reach his goal! Okay – for realsies done this time. Regardless, whether or not that obstacle was friend or foe, the love and passion he holds as a musician convinces or dissuades in his musical abilities and charm.

Amoung the other things that make COCO a good movie, this underlying theme certainly made its impact on me. We are all very susceptible to the hard-knock trails of life, the anxieties and fears of the normal everyday tribulations, living up to work’s, friend’s, and family’s expectations. The characters of COCO are reminiscent of this notion. In the very first teaser-trailer we hear the phrase “When life gets me down, I play my guitar.” And I couldn’t agree with this more. Not so much that I play the guitar to sooth myself but more along the lines of the playing of music. A lot of people, myself included sometimes seek the guidance of our friends and loved ones to sooth and calm our minds. And by no means is this a bad thing. However, maybe the best thing we could do for ourselves, sometimes, is to play our favorite piece of music or, I suppose maybe in this case, our favourite modern Disney movie.

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