Sharing Music

I don’t think I could express how much music means to me and what has influenced my perceptions and taste, but I’ve been really happy to see a resurgence of meaningful good music and I wanted to at least try and say something about it.

For christmas this year I got my mom’s record collection, and the amount and range of great albums she had started me thinking about the effect of collectively being influenced by music.  I don’t know many people who dislike music, and most are at least affected by it emotionally in some way.  So it has to do something right?

There are large portions of the population who have all grown up listening to some really revolutionary bands.  The best example of this would have to be the Beatles.  How lucky to have such a great band provide an ever changing soundtrack!  We got Brittany Spears shoved down our throats….  What a sad personification of modern American media….

I actually did grow up listening to the Beatles, but missed out on the shared experience part.  When I was really young I listened to Please Please Me constantly.  It’s still my favorite and the only album I’ll actually dance to.  I went through my White album phase during what I’ll just call my “experimental” years….which I vaguely recall had something to do with being in high school :p  I didn’t really listen to Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour until much more recently.  I find it funny now that I skipped the experimental albums and went right to the end result when I first started.  But I digress…

It felt like music went through an almost 10 year stint of shit.  There were a few good bands sprinkled about but you had to try really hard to find them and as soon as they started selling, record companies would scoop them up and make them suck.  Meanwhile pre-packaged pop tunes were celebrated and relentlessly pushed on children.  Children!  Oh, Think of the children!  Their lives filled with thoughtless meaningless “music” and shitty TV….I’m surprised any musicians survived the 90’s with their dignity in tact.

So of course I love that the internet has been helping to usher in a new revolution in music.  Instant worldwide word of mouth.  Musicians can stay out of the crap again and just make music.  Hooray!  Back to real talent and real heart and real feeling and…ahh…good music….I’ve missed you!  

I was worried for a while after Metallica’s ridiculous tantrum over Napster.  I honestly could not understand at the time why a band would want to punish fans of their music (now that I’m soooo much older and wiser I understand the world is just actually run by greed!).  Then there’s the RIAA…which is Disney villain evil and really needs to be put out of its misery.  

*On a side note the movie industry equivalent of the RIAA just recently admitted to “accidently” pushing false statistics about college students since 2005.  Turns out college students aren’t responsible for 44% of illegal movie downloads…it’s only 15%…

These groups have been targeting college campuses and student networks for censorship and prosecution specifically based on shit like this.  You’d swear it was almost like creativity and education were being actively discouraged in this country!  But that would just be silly, wouldn’t it…

There were a decent amount of bands though that kept pushing back against the record companies and conventional views on marketing and image.  The Gorillaz for example use animated characters in videos and concerts to represent the members.  This is a live performance of the song Demon Days from the album of the same name.

Ok Go on the other hand, unbeknownst to their record company released a music video on Youtube costing less than $10 to make, that ended up becoming the most downloaded music video ever less than a year later.

More recently, there is of course Radiohead.  After breaking with their record company they released In Rainbows this past October.

Initially it was available for download at any price you wanted to pay.  So you could choose $100 or nothing at all depending on what you personally thought their music was worth.  This was then followed by a collectors “discbox” release containing an extra CD, double vinyl and artwork.  Then on New Years they released an online video called Scotch Mist.  

I am a huge fan of OK Computer.  It’s on my personal top 10 favorite albums list.  I’ve listened to it hundreds of times since it was first released and I’m still not tired of it.  I haven’t really liked any of their other albums nearly as much until In Rainbows.  The Scotch Mist video is just incredible.  I saw notlightnessofbeing had a post here just after they first released it.  I was so glad to see someone else had felt the same way after watching it!  I’d say it’s taken me about this long to really digest what I think about it overall.

If I could make a request of anyone who happens to read this, it would be to watch this video (preferably in an altered state….).  Just humor me.  Let me know 10 years from now if my plan works :p

The beauty of having large amounts of people all listening to the same music at the same time is that it gets everyone thinking on the same wavelength – another cultural revolution is most definitely in order and long overdue.  Good on Radiohead for doing their part, and rocking while they were at it.

It’s also good to know that right now we are all trying to do our part to bring about that same type of change.  I’d say this place especially has gone so far in such a short time.  I haven’t spent this much time reading for pleasure in years!  My brain was starting to run out of fuel there for a while.  Stuck on a steady diet of over processed junk food culture and propaganda.  It’s so nice to be mentally detoxing.  Get that shit out of my system and start breathing fresh air again.  Mmmmm…air…

There are of course lots of other really great bands out there now too.  My latest favorite has been TV on the Radio.  This performance of Wolf like Me on Letterman blew me away the first time I saw it.

Even David Bowie is a huge fan of theirs and sings backup on the song Province.  (The video has embedding disabled which is a real shame because it’s beautiful).  

So I guess now I’m curious.  What has everyone else been listening to?

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  1. Music Genome project.  They launched Pandora, a site that will create a station for you based on a song or band of your choosing using the data from the Music Genome project and user input on the songs.  I’ve been digging listening to it at work lately and it’s free, so I thought I would share that too 🙂

    • OPOL on January 25, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    where would we be without music?  Few things can touch our souls and our hearts so directly.  🙂

    • Edger on January 25, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    singing with Willie Nelson on Willie’s 70th birthday, and with Ray Charles wrapping it up as only he can…

    Anyone remember Leon?

    • pico on January 25, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    My favorite singer/songwriter at the moment is Sufjan Stevens.  My god does he have a way with words, and his song settings range from simple and melancholic (like this) to expansive and nutty (like this).  Here’s one of his most powerful songs, about a girl dying of cancer: “Casimir Pulaski Day”

    The lyrics can be hard to make out in the live performance, but here they are.

    Another favorite is Wilco, who’ve grown a lot in the last couple years.  Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is my favorite album, evah, and it almost didn’t get made: the record label dropped them because they hated it so much.  Of course it was picked up in a bidding war, and of course it was a huge success.  From that album, here’s “Jesus, etc.”

    If you’re interested in exploring hip hop or rap, check out Madvillain for some variety.  This is a great video from his album Madvillainy, although I couldn’t find a good vid of my favorite song from that album (“Rainbows”, although you can get a brief taste of it here, in a cover by Mos Def).

    And sometimes you just gotta jump back to some older stuff.  Here’s my favorite pop song ever (“Wonderful”), a barely released Beach Boys song that was part of the catastrophic Smile set.  But my god is it gorgeous; the incoming melodies layer over each other like velvet.  The track seems to end abruptly because it’s supposed to segue immediately into the next song.

    Hope you enjoy, and thanks for the recommendations. (Huge Radiohead fan here, by the way)

    • Edger on January 25, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    since the rise of the religious nutbar right…

  2. Perlman and Ma do Dvorak.  Conducted by Seiji Ozawa.

    Watch Yo-Yo Ma’s face: he’s making love to his cello.

  3. Leon Russell fans.  It is Friday nite so have

    to give you this

    And to say the Best People in the Whole WORLD

    hang here !  

  4. here, is something else

    We give to you a disc of gold

    It represents the dreams we hold

    We’ll tell our children what to do

    We’ll show them how to listen for you

    Please feel free to call

    Our wheatfields await you all

    We are the number one offender

    Of specieism and yet

    Here we are reaching out for aliens

    Looking for our salvation

    Pity our emptiness

    Save our souls

    Save our souls

    Save our souls

    We think that we’re superior

    To every living thing

    It can be lonely at the top

    So we look for higher praise to sing

    Won’t you just say hello

    We’ll give you a cable show

    We have weapons to intimidate

    You if you look afright

    Come on down and see our

    Zoos and refugee camps

    Ain’t it worth your time

    Pity our emptiness

    Save our souls

    Save our souls

    Save our souls

    Save our souls

    Save our souls

    SOS

    SOS

    Please feel free to call

    Our wheatfields await you all

    We are the number one offender

    Of specieism and yet

    Here we are reaching out for aliens

    Looking for our salvation

    Pity our emptiness

    Save our souls

    Save our souls

    Save our souls

    Save our souls

    Save our souls

    SOS

    SOS

    Well, there’s a beacon in the sky

    Meant to catch their eye

  5. This is Avenutra.  Get out of those chairs and get away from the keyboard.

  6. John Barrowman:  I am what I am . . .

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