Saturday, May 1, 2010

Music Part 1

I was kinda dreading ever tackling or trying to tackle this subject, but I cannot put off talking about music forever.

I love music, I love all it's incarnations and influences and I love how there is so much available and so much more to be written.

I even like superficial music, in a relative kinda way... ya know, looking back on it 10 years later or something. New music is generally shit unless it's got a certain pop sensibility to it. You know, a direct appeal to a decent predictable scale like the mixolydian or pentatonic, or everyone's favourites, the major and minor scale. Basically, if music is played at least fairly honestly, I'm down for listening to it, so long as it's melodic and tries to appeal to my direct sense of music in general, or does something new and unpredictable, but in a good way.

And everyone has a good ear for music, whether they can play or sing, tap along rhythmically to it or not at all.

But there are certain things that really let down a tune for me. I mean the song could be sincere yet rubbishy and I might still like it, so long as it's appealing some kinda way.

At this point I want to point out the differences between pop sensibility and pop-culture.

Pop-sensibility is on going. In music it is to play chord progressions and scale progressions within a certain predictive order. To mix two scales together that have no real common note progressions is unusual to say the least... not always impossible, but if you don't have an ear naturally for composing music, this can be detrimental. A positive example is Kate Bush's song - The Sensual World where two completely different scales are merged in the chorus. A negative example (but still a good song somehow) is in We Have Band's song Buffet. Something about it doesn't work that well at all. It's like a weird bum note that keeps happening over and over. I don't really get it. But this is the only song of their's I can recommend. The rest of that album is too contrived.

Pop-Culture references in music can be terminal if not done properly. When you have bands or artists singing about temporary things like a well known scandal that lasts a week or about someone in a judgemental way before their life even finishes it's likely to be a bad thing for your song or band, well at least in my opinion anyway. People are fickle, but not ignorant generally. Pop sensibility never leaves a good song, but pop-culture can leave very quickly indeed.

The next problem when talking about music with pop-sensibility is in fact music that tries NOT to have pop sensibility. Music, to have any kind of appeal at all, must have pop sensibility in order to reach ANY populace, whether the majority of people or even a few that might like, say, heavy distorted guitar. Heavy distorted guitar isn't to everyone's liking, but it's not what sells the music, it's the appeal of a well written melodic song that uses a HOOK like heavy guitar as an appeal, not a selling point. There is music in the heavy metal world that tries specifically to avoid pop sensibility and that just does not make any sense to me whatsoever. I can only say so as having been a heavy metal fan for years. There are few really good bands out there who write really good, melodic metal songs and so many who spill out the same aural-rape for years and years. It does eventually dull into competitive noise after a while. Remember, this is my OPINION and you are on MY page ;-)

There is of course more elements of music that can make it very difficult to take seriously. I think being able to take music seriously even at a foundation level is important to liking it. I mean, you could write parody (music I have BIG issues with if not done properly) so long as it's genuine and sincere. You know, where creativity and honesty and a genuine interest in what you are doing played a key role in it rather than recognition and respect as a priority. Fickle music can even be forgiven so long as it was making a legitimate statement of the writer through music or lyrics. But when it becomes music for the sake of music, well that's a let-down at the very least. There are 3 songs I can think of straight-up that are truly insincere in essence. The two polar opposites that are the "work" of Beyoncé - "If ya like then you shoulda put a ring on it" and "all the ladies are independent throw your hands at Batman (sic)". Sorry, ad-libbed but so contradicting opposites. Then there is the much loved and truly HAWT Cheryl Cole's "Fight for this Love" when after 2 weeks or something she ends up divorced. Insincere I think maybe?

Last night I was talking to a good friend of mine about music. Somehow we got onto the subject of Muse to which I said I have no opinion as I've never heard their stuff. The funny thing was today, I got to my mother's home and my brother put on one of their songs and waited to see if I reacted to it. What I heard in one sang was this: Blondie, Ultravox!, Marilyn Manson, Dr. Who, Battles all coming through. I'm sorry, but I have to say this only based on one song I've heard. Either Muse are contrived, or dishonest to be going around with the name Muse but using blatant carbon copies of previous musicians as their own "ideas". I heard nothing original in it.

But I am assured, nothing else in their catalogue sounds like this song... Uprising I think it is.

I would like to believe it's true

It would be a shame and misuse of the name Muse, otherwise.

I'm not putting particular restrictions on what someone should or shouldn't listen to by any means. This opinion comes purely from observing the same inconsistencies that seem to repeat over and over and ring out loudest as far as I'm concerned. Music is a real natural wonder that is endless in supply, so long as the people behind the instruments are honest about it and so much more useful when done to that effect and the musician's ability. Once it's layered with dishonest contrived crap it becomes largely useless as far as I'm concerned because real expression cannot come through when one worries about the unstable base of pop culture and fame as a goal. Besides, I don't make the rules... The majority of great musicians do.

Anyway, this has been music part 1... because I'm sure I'm not finished with this topic :-)

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