Great music is there when you need it. Songs can make you understand that you’re not alone in facing this. They help you get through situations and experiences. A good song tells a story, a great song may just tell the story you yourself weren’t able to put in words. For me, songs from Maria Mena do this.
I remember many moments feeling down and misunderstood and finding comfort and understanding in her songs. I remember long carrides to France where her music always accompanied me, I remember blasting her words through my headphones to overshadow the fights that happened downstairs. I remember thinking Maria, you have got to stop stealing the pages of my diary. “I feel like I’ve grown up with you Dutch fans”, Maria smiled at her concert on the 27th of November. No, I thought. I grew up with you.
I’ve wanted to see Maria Mena live for a while now, but I’m horrible with keeping track of concerts and buying tickets on time. I was also a bit worried about not getting back home, because public transport can be horrible in my hometown. Two days ago it finally happened. I saw her live.
Maria started out with a blast. The dancing beats of her new album Weapon in Mind sounded great. They really made you want to move along and indulge in the experience that is Maria Mena. While I was nodding my head and slightly shaking my hips, Maria was dancing like there was no tomorrow. Girl, you can shake it! It’s amazing to see artists having a good time on stage and there was no doubt she was having a blast.
Don’t let yourself be fooled by the dancing spirit. Her lyrics are still very profound and close to heart. As a writer you have to be honest to yourself and open up to your feelings. Writing is difficult, because there’s nowhere to hide behind your words anymore. It’s there, written right before your eyes. Maria Mena is honest like no other. Writing must be her therapy and she’s taking us all with her on this journey. In between songs she was very open. She told us how she sees the world now. How it took her a long time to realize it’s useless trying to be someone you’re not (in my own words).
She took me to me teenage insecurities with Just a Little Bit. No epic beats, no dancing. Just Maria singing the words I once believed. Then she and her band transcended to I Always Liked That, which is about how she views the world now. Finally realizing that it really is on the inside what counts. She told us we were through with thinking we had to be a little bit better, stronger and wiser. I believed her.
Maria Mena was everything I could have hoped for. Her honest, well-written, lyrics (inspiring me to be a better writer) were accompanied by a voice that sounded just like it came from the record. I don’t mean this in a bad way. I can just imagine that she doesn’t need to do a thousand takes to make it sound like it does in the final product. During the concert it wasn’t like is she singing live or not? She was clearly singing live, but it still sounded like the record. Except for some old hits that she converted to her new dancy style, like a more upbeat version of Just Hold Me. This was a nice change from the arrangements I’m used to.
I have to say Maria and her band were at their best singing vulnerable slower songs like Habits. But it was wonderful to see a woman who has come so far on her personal journey. The dance beats show she feels more comfortable in her skin and they made me, being the shy person as I am, dance my butt off.
Thank you, Maria Mena for this experience. It was inspiring and liberating. Thank you for your personal ‘tips’: let yourself go by saying fuck you in a while, it’s really on the inside what counts and be free. See you next time!
To the people that were in the audience standing around me: sorry for singing along. I heard myself sing at one point and yeah… it wasn’t very good ;). I should really leave that to Maria.
I’ll finish this blogpost with a snippet of the song that she ended with as well. You Hurt the Ones You Love.