- Death. It’s a painful thing to feel, whether you lost a family member or a friend. It’s an unfortunate part of life that you have to live with. But does it work the same with an actor? An athlete? A musician? Do you mourn for their death as if they were a friend or family member? Do you have more of a sense of gratitude towards the work and achievements they made?
This week, Mark Hollis passed away at the age of 64 caused by a short, unknown illness. Hollis was best known as the lead singer for the English band Talk Talk, a group that initially started out as a Synthpop band and received commercial success in the early to mid ‘80s. But in the late ‘80s and the early ‘90s, Talk Talk moved towards an ambient and experimental direction that saw them become pioneers in the genre of Post-rock. Following their disbandment, Hollis would release a self-titled solo album in 1998 before retiring from the music industry.
Some of my favorite records come from Talk Talk’s catalog. Records such as “The Colour of Spring,” “Spirit of Eden” and “Laughing Stock” took my music taste to new horizons. But upon hearing about Hollis’ death, I wasn’t sure how to feel about his passing. It didn’t leave me bawling on the floor. It didn’t leave me in a state of numbness and lacking of emotions. The only thing that I felt was a sense of gratitude.
Now I have my reasons for why I feel this way. I obviously don’t know Hollis personally, but he seemed to be a generous man based on interviews I’ve seen. Secondly, he was a very private man who hadn’t released new music since the late ‘90s and preferred to remain out of the spotlight. Hence, why he hadn’t been in the public eye for many years and rarely gave interviews. So there’s personal respect for Hollis in keeping his life private and releasing music at his own pace and leisure.
I’m not one for mourning for a person that I personally don’t know, even if I really like their music. It’s a bit of an extreme measure for me. But it is very understandable why some mourn for their loss. Their music has taken on a huge meaning to the listener’s everyday life and was there for them during hardships.
Granted, I have only listened to Talk Talk’s music for the last two to three years compared to those who were listening since the ‘80s. I’ve yet to experience the death of a current musician who I really love. So I wonder how I will react when I learn about Alex Turner, MC Ride or Kendrick Lamar’s passing, especially since they share similar qualities to Hollis.
When it comes to the death of an artist, take this is as an opportunity to look back on the music that they made and find meaning out of it. If you never got a chance to listen to it for the first time, then this is a way to pay respects to the musicians. As a fan of Talk Talk, it was a personal reminder of how these records were able to take me to mythical places.
Whoever you are a fan of, take their death as a way to celebrate their work and give them thanks for providing you with an experience that you will never forget.
For Mark Hollis, I’d like to give my most sincere thanks for providing some of the most fascinating records ever made and here’s hopes that someone will discover and appreciate your music. Rest in Peace.
Listen to Talk Talk’s music on Spotify: