Monday, March 23, 2009

Let's talk music

Just reflecting here on what music and done for me and my preferences. Not that it really matters. Just my perspective and yes I'm still sleepy. Starting out, I grew up with older brothers who had quite a bit of influence on what I listened to because they controlled the radio dial lol. My oldest brother moved out when I was about 8 so my other brother from the same mother, lol, who was in his teens during the 60's turned me on to the likes of the Grand Funk Railroad, Doors, Hendrix, Beatles, Zepplin,Who and bands like that. I guess you could say I was a rocker at a very early age. In the 60's, the music was very emotional. You had the peace movement going on, protests, threats of revolution, drug experimentation and all kinds of other things influencing music. People were stepping away from the politically correct mainstream sock hop type of music into the wailing and screaching of feedback and distortion. It was a cool time to grow up musically. I hit my teens in the early 70's full of emotion and dreams. One of the first major influences I had, had to be Alice Cooper. Dramatic, Dynamic, Sinister, Revolting, everything that your parents hated, right there in front of you. Cooper was one of the first rock bands to use theatrics. I was hooked and ever since then have leaned more towards bands that are theatrical in one way or another. Bands that move you emotionally per se. I started listening to more bands like Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Black Sabbath, ELP and so on. I wasn't as likely to listen to Bob Seger of Steve Miller type bands. I needed more substance and emotion in my music. Not to take anything away from those bands. They were(are) great songwriters and deserve the fame they achieved.Basically, I grew to expect more out of my music than simple 3 chord songs with a bridge thrown in for good measure.Songs that had dynamics, not just loud and softer at times but emotionally dynamic. That's pretty much defined in what I listen to today. If you'd like some good examples of this type of music try these on your ears...Genesis - Suppers Ready, Alice cooper - The Ballad of Dwight Frye, Yes - Starship Trooper, David Bowie - Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed, Gentle Giant - Cogs in Cogs or the whole Three Friends album, Jeff Beck Live with Jan Hammer - Darkness in search of sun., Pink Floyd - Any album.

Moving on, it's seems that there's a lack or a void in music today. I guess it could just be me and what I'm listening to but it seems that if you have a really good band come out, the next 20 will sound just like them. I'm sure it's all marketing but still, there doesn't seem to be as much originality as there used to be. There are a few that stand out to me over the past decade or so but for the most part, they all seem to be the same in one aspect or another. They mainly thrash out a few chords and throw in the half step to make it cool or darker. I guess there's nothing wrong with that. I'm not talking about really heavy metal, as they are in a group all their own, I'm talking about the mainstream rock that's being played nowadays. Maybe it's just me getting old but music doesn't seem as intense as it used to be. There are a few exceptions to this and everyone has their own tastes and probably think I'm nuts and living in the past. I do like bands like Disturbed, Korn, Nickelback, Godsmack, Linkin Park and so on but it seems rare nowadays to hear a song and actually feel a part of that song. I remember back when I had this studio apartment, that was really tiny, and I had this stereo with ginormous speakers. I would pull out the hide a bed and prop the speakers on each side of me and listen to Pink Floyd's Meddle and I could feel the music go through me. Back in the 60's and 70's the new innovation was the discovery of stereo and people experimenting with it. Bands would actually write songs thinking of different ways to utilize this effect in their music. A great example would be Frankenstein...Edgar Winter. If you haven't listened to this with head phones on, you haven't really heard it. I will say that the quality and clarity of music is better today with all the technological advances over the past 40 years, but it just seems harder, or less appealing, to sit down with headphones and listen to a whole production these days. The last band to actually made me want to listen to them in that way was Queensryche. They brought back the theatrics in music for me. I'm not talking just about a stage performance. I'm talking about the whole package. If you listen to Operation Mindcrime from beginning to end, you can picture the story they are telling, you become part of it. Another band that has done that, althought the singer is evil, is King Diamond. His band is full of unbelievable musicians. I suppose I prefer concept albums, but that's not all I enjoy. I actually have a wide span of likes in music. Some songs that came to me with perfect timing were, Don't give up - Peter Gabriel, Take a Look at me Now - Phil Collins, Magnum Opus - Kansas, Eyes of a stranger - Queensyche, Black Sabbath N.I.B(strangse story on that one that I won't get into). On a quick note, I have heard a lot of new bands on myspace that are just incredible. There's a whole new generation of undiscovered music coming out that I'm really looking forward to. A couple examples would be Mary Magdalan, Reign IV and Stever. to just name a few.

Also , I need to mention Rush and Frank Zappa who were huge influences on me, but that's a whole different blog.

In closing I just want to say that there is no such thing as bad music. This is what works for me and I'm sure it's probably different than what works for you. I prefer music that makes you think or reflect or helps me get through whatever. Some people don't want to have to think and would rather drink a beer and scream out I Wanna Rock or some facsimile thereof. Nothing wrong with that either. Music is part of all of our lives, embrace it in whatever way works for you but embrace it.

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You Are 87% Grown Up, 13% Kid
Your emotional maturity is fully developed, and you have an excellent grasp on your emotions. In fact, you are so emotionally mature - you should consider being a therapist!
How Emotionally Mature Are You?