Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I love music, but I just don't approach it like most people. I really can't explain it, but I appreciate it at face value. I don't listen to, or even sometimes understand, the lyrics as words. I don't really listen to what the song has to "say". I simply hear the vocals as another instrument. Mix of horn and percussion.

That is to say I most likely don't know the words to a song I love, or even what they are saying, but I still love the song. The conviction in the lyric and the delivery are what I enjoy.

I have to think a lot of that is simply due to poor hearing. I seriously can't hear 99% of what any artist says.

Exceptions to this are forms of heavy political artists. Hip-hop or rap in particular. For the most part I can hear every word and understand what they are attempting to say. I tend to like this type of work not for the message, but for the raw energy it taps into.

Rage Against the Machine is a prime example for me. They had the ability to tap into the primal energy of aggression, hate, conviction, dedication, hard-work, passion, etc. within me. I call that pool of emotion "Young Man's Energy" mainly because that pool isn't as deep as you get older.

Everyone has that kind of music. It's the stuff that you put in and crank on the Friday night in a car on your way out to a great party, or get together.

For me it's the heavy stuff. In that collection would be Rage, Eminem, Metallica, The Who, Green Day, Van Halen (old not 'new'), No Doubt, Led Zeppelin, White Stripes, etc. Kind of a strange mix, but remember....I don't really listen to what they are trying to say, or the image, coolness, etc....just the actual music notes....

Recently aham turned me on to the flobots. Rather he made me aware of their single "handlebars". I'd like the youtube video, but meh. You have the internet....you do it. I loved the single instantly. I rarely fall for music like that.

....so based on a further conversation with aham I decided to get the album/cd/whatever it is these kids call the collection of music that is released at one time anymore.

First reaction....meh. I hate the idea of buying an album for 1 song. Just never really works out well although I have had great experience doing it before. I started realizing what was ind of turning me off about this one though....it's the lyrics. They're just too Young Guy moody, political, social, protesty, hip wannabe, blah for me. The message is OK for that kind of group, but they just do it so much more poorly than say a Rage Against the Machine.

Kind of in a rut music wise and feel like I am disconnected with a lot of the great stuff going on with the kids.


Eric Cox said...

Gotta stop reading' your blog. It's frightening, really. I still love Rage Against the Machine. My grading music of late, however, has been audioslave.

Guilty pleasure make the eardrums bleed song: "Mother" by danzig

Eric Cox said...

Thank aham for recommending flobots, by the way. Most interesting.

But you are right. The thing about political albums / messages is sometimes you have to back off a little bit. It can't be all rage. I haven't listened to the whole album, but just the sampling does make it seem like it would get a bit old...

More fun, IMHO, are the bands that tried to throw social commentary in so they would sound serious (Skid Row -- 18 and Life anyone?).

My personal over-the-top band of all time, however, is Iron Maiden. Songs based on Coleridge (Rime of the Ancient Mariner), the Charge of the Light Brigade, and, the ultimate for you endurance athletes, the Lonliness of the Long Distance Runner. Even better now that I know that Bruce Dickinson, when not on tour now, is a commercial airline pilot.

Ultimate Maiden Concept album: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Best song? Wasted Years. Quoted it in my valedictory address from highschool. I rocked.

aham23 said...

i really like the flobots album. like you Psi, i dont pay much attention to or put much stock in the message. however, mayday (#2) and combat (#8) are great rap songs. the style is very, shall i say, eminem and i like him. later.

CyLowe said...

Instrument as voice, for sure, but for me lyrics are only part of the mood. I have a list of songs that hit in different spots on the mood ring. Some don't have words or even drums, yet can be aggressive to ecstatic to mournful.

It's all about how the musician(s) make it work.

That said, who doesn't get jacked up when Ace of Bass's "I Saw The Sign" comes on the radio?

Oh yeah... for aggressive, give me "Unsung" by Helmet. That song kicks seven kinds of ass.