June 6, 2008

"This is it — this is what it's all about."

What music makes you feel that way? Jac says it's this, as he makes a few recommendations to a friend who's looking to "knock the cobwebs out of my itunes library." I love all his selections, but especially this.

Do you ask for help from friends and family when you're trying to figure out what new things to listen to? Do you read the opinion of experts (which experts)? Do you twiddle the dial of the satellite radio or fool with YouTube in the hope of catching something that pleases you? Do you try to get others to listen to what you like? And if you have kids, are you the one showing them what to like or are they the ones showing you? I remember when, years ago, I was the one bringing things to their attention, but there was a point, also years ago, when the tables turned. Oddly, they liked what I played for them, and I like what they play for me.

I say oddly, because when I was young, my parents' music was not only intolerable to me, but I thought it somehow needed to be defeated by my music. And I was outraged when something that didn't belong — like Frank Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night" — got played on Top 40 radio. It was a music war. We were all anti-war back then, but somehow we pictured music as war.

40 comments:

Bob said...

I listen to three different music services on the internet: Yahoo! Launchcast (subscriber), Accuradio's Traditional Celtic channel, and Pandora on MSN. Yahoo and Pandora work similarly, by programming "similar" music to that you select. I also have a few friends on LiveJournal whose taste I trust to a certain extent.

Palladian said...

""This is it — this is what it's all about."

What music makes you feel that way?

Part 1 | Part II

AllenS said...

"We were all anti-war back then"

No, we were not all anti-war back then. Some of us were warriors.

rhhardin said...

Nothing struck me until Old English music (John Dowland) turned up. That whole pre-classical period turned out to be a gold mine.

Mozart was a drag and entirely predictable. I didn't see the point of it.

A music theory teacher rejoinder'd on a composition homework that with this talent someday I'd like Mozart.

It hasn't happened.

Late Faure is excellent. Evidently I like certain non-classical cadences, and the voice, if there is one, as an instrument only.

Thai Loogthung music, some of it; and Tibetan music, some of it, has interesting cliches.

I never got rock and roll.

John and Ken, talking about music when they were children, realized as DJs that there were different format for girls and for boys, answering John's question at the time : who listens to this crap? That was a girl's station. (I think that's in this Princess Di show.)

Faure real audio, banned in Iran as unislamic. (Modern real players will ask to download the old no-longer-included-automatically sipr 9 codec, which today has its niche filled by a cook codec.)

Bissage said...

Ever since November 19, 1984, I have steadfastly refused to listen to any song other than “The Girl from Ipanema.”

I am insane.

Palladian said...

"Nothing struck me until Old English music (John Dowland) turned up. That whole pre-classical period turned out to be a gold mine.

Mozart was a drag and entirely predictable. I didn't see the point of it.

A music theory teacher rejoinder'd on a composition homework that with this talent someday I'd like Mozart.

It hasn't happened."

A man after my own heart. I'll never understand the appeal of Mozart. If you want classicism, Haydn is entirely more appealing and intelligent than Mozart.

Early music was an ear-opener for me. Dowland, yes, but more so with Orlando Gibbons.

downtownlad said...

Well Ann, I predict you'll like this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9JI0GXkARQ

And not sure if you know your fellow Brooklynite Sufjan Stevens, but he's probably the best musician in America today - you "might" like him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-IyAPn1mPk

I don't know if either of them are gay though. . . .

George said...

The best way to get into new tunes? Frequent the local music club that the groovy college kids go to. Ticket costs about what an album does. Plus, you can make the scene with all the happenin' people. Also, archive.org.....

The reason most of us stop trying on new music is that a) there are new demands (i.e. diapers) on our discretionary spending; and b) you realize that for every great album you've bought, you've also been burned buying 3-5 others that you only listened to once or twice.

As a general rule, the sexier the photo of the chanteuse, the worse the album is. (This is known as The Carly Simon Rule. There is also the Gordon Lightfoot corollary.) Without exception, all re-releases featuring unreleased demos and alternate takes are never worth the money, ever, except for 8,000 examples that other people will now provide.

Theo Boehm said...

Elitist snobs! How DARE you talk about that crap from dead white men as "music?"

It's a proven fact that Top 40 radio has given more people pleasure than all the so-called "music" before it, whether antique "art" music or the crap that used to pass as popular "music" before the invention of rock 'n roll in the '50's.

Therefore, popular American and British music styles of the Boomer generation and later are superior to all that old, dead crap.

To say or even think anything else is to be an elitist SNOB, which, as everybody knows, is the one of the most hideous crimes known to progressive people everywhere.

the Rising Jurist said...

Last.fm is where it's at. It tracks what you listen to and creates a radio station of artists you should like. And it's pretty much spot on because it's based on what other people actually listen to (unlike Pandora, which the engineer's version of musical similarity).

Ralph said...

this is what it's all about."
Do the Hokey-Pokey!

How can anyone not like the Marriage of Figaro? OK, there's too much wretchitative, but otherwise, it's one fabulous tune after another.

Kirk Parker said...

rhhardin and Palladin,

No kidding about Mozart. Somebody once called Beethoven's 8th Symphony "The best Mozart symphony ever written"; I wonder of the relative lack of predictability has anything to do with it?

However, even an average player can hit a home run now and then, e.g. the Clarinet Concerto.

Freeman Hunt said...

What music makes you feel that way?

Tchaikovsky and Sam Cooke.

I never ask anyone for help in picking music because I don't know a single person with taste in music similar to mine. Oh well.

When I was a little kid, I liked Bach and "oldies" (50's pop). Then I heard MC Hammer, and I could dance to it! So then I liked all the really terrible stuff: Vanilla Ice, that "Rico Sauve" guy, etc. Then it was time for junior high high school, so of course I owned every Dave Matthews album ever produced. Then it was Fiona Apple and Butthole Surfers and The Verve and Cake and others. Early adulthood brought me well-settled into 90's grunge rock: Nirvana and Soundgarden mostly. And now, it's pretty much all classical all the time (heavy on Tchaikovsky, Bach, and Mozart,) and I've become so set in it that I can barely stand anything else. Who knows what tomorrow will bring...

Pogo said...

I admit to an unrefined and untrained ear. The sheer volume of classical music available is daunting. Where does one begin?
With Palladian's and rhhardin's posts, a starting point.

Brian Eno's ambient pieces led me to listen to Claude DeBussy and Erik Satie. This Mortal Coil's goth versions of modern folk songs led me to Le Mystere des voix Bulgares, traditional Bulgarian folk songs done by an all-female chorus.

Sufjan Stevens and Bright Eyes are great. Bright Eye's label also carries Maria Taylor Her song "Clean Getaway", queued first on her myspace page, is sad and beautiful.

The Innocence Mission's Lakes of Canada features the ethereal voice of lead singer Karen Peris. It is similarly gorgeous and simple folk music (sorry - cheesy non-band video at link).

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind featured a pretty little instrumental by John Brion: Phone Call, and the sci-fi movie Sunshine soundtrack by John Murphy has the dynamic piece The Surface Of The Sun to amplify it.

Lately, I have been using the free internet radio service pandora.com, that lets you create different radio stations by entering certain songs or artists, then it uses its archives to find stuff you might also like, as if operated by an old style record store owner.

Freeman Hunt said...

junior high and high school

I never know what to do with a typo. Issue a correction? Delete the post and repost it without the typo? Ignore it?

gophermomeh said...

The tables have definitely turned, in our house. The kid does most of the recommending, as she has for a few years,now. She's providing the new music for us, though I know she's got a lot of her folks classics on her ipod - she has a good ear, I must say.

And on that note, I now listen to The Current, out of MN.

1970_baby said...

How ironic- I was just noticing today on the way to work that I have not listened to FM radio in years. I turned it on to see what was playing and remembered why I don't listen to it. John Cougar Mellencamp. And Bachman Turner Overdrive, etc. Just total crap. I appreciate the suggestions because I haven't heard any new music in a while. Its all classical all the time at our house too- Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Stravinsky, Shostakovich and Mahler.

Ralph said...

I should plug my brother's band, The Strand, who will be playing at Alexandria, VA's Harbor Fest next Saturday. They put out an album 20 odd years ago and quit after they all got married, but a pirate CD from Spain and the internet encouraged them to assemble a new CD.

Summer Anne said...

I have to say that I never thought I would read the comments on this particular blog and find someone other than myself recommending Bright Eyes. That made my morning.

I use last.fm pretty obsessively but find most of the new music I listen to via friends: either trading mix cds, or noticing what they're talking about or putting up on their profiles here or there.

I have pretty broad taste in music, but I get the 'this is it' feeling most strongly from things like this acoustic performance from the singer-songwriter who fronts my favorite band, Okkervil River and this performance from Bon Iver Emotive, raw, and pretty folkish songwriting gets me. I love voice cracks and big words.

but then again, there's always really pretty girls who can tap dance and sing pop music at the same time!

KLDAVIS said...

This is it.

The whole album is amazing.

-kd

1970_baby said...

I will always be grateful to Ann for turning me on to Death Cab For Cutie singing "I will follow you into the dark". Ann, whenever you recommend music, I listen.

p.s. the ones today said the videos been removed, so I don't know what they are!

Henry said...

Some days it's fado.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WN2Ib_SmteI

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

I have certain songs I will listen to, usually not because of the music, but because they remind me of someone.

I tried launchcast, but quickly got turned off by some of the crap they would play (why do they insist I might like Eminem, when my entire playlist is classic country and bluegrass!?!?!), so instead developed my own playlist of mp3s.

I usually just have my music on as a background to what I'm doing, and have everything from classical to a group who does bluegrass covers of Metallica songs, with healthy doses of Southern rock, 70's 'Classic' rock and the undefinables- Jimmy Buffet and Junior Brown- most of it there because of the memories I tend to relive while listening.

I don't do much new music, and maybe that's why- I don't consider music the end all/be all, but more of a means to an end.

John Althouse Cohen said...

The reason most of us stop trying on new music is that a) there are new demands (i.e. diapers) on our discretionary spending; and b) you realize that for every great album you've bought, you've also been burned buying 3-5 others that you only listened to once or twice.

This Metafilter comment by me explains how to discover tons of new music without spending tons of money or breaking the law.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"when I was young, my parents' music was not only intolerable to me, but I thought it somehow needed to be defeated by my music. And I was outraged when something that didn't belong — like Frank Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night" — got played on Top 40 radio. It was a music war."

This is exactly how I feel about most baby boomer-associated music. I was a teenager in the 80s and cannot disassociate Motown or "classic rock" from preening self-congratulation. The kitchen dance sequence in the Big Chill is exhibit 'A', but any 60's retrospective on PBS fundraising nights will illustrate the phenomenon as well.

vbspurs said...

Rhhardin/Palladian: Count me in too. Mozart's music, especially as a child, always sounded juvenile to me. What a contrast to dear Beethoven.

Although I did once read how Ludwig Wittgenstein LOATHED Beethoven, because Wittgenstein could hear the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution in Beethoven's music.

(He's right. Not only is Beethoven's music modern, but you CAN hear the perfect rhythms that machines make, at full speed)

P.S.: I like "classical" music, reggae, and punk rock best.

vbspurs said...

/and the Blues!

glen said...

Blogs are an interesting way to discover new (and old) music. Many allow you to listen to the music right there in your browser via their interpretation of the 'Fair Use Act'. Here are a few links to get started.

Bamboo Orchestra
HiFi Heart
Lonesome Music
The Rest is Noise

Newer sorts of music aggregation, search or social-playlist sites are also interesting. All are apparently legal, licensed and/or claiming Fair Use status.

There are also many non-commercial internet radio stations devoted to specific genres. And there are applications (free and otherwise) that play and categorize them for you. They can even record the audio stream -- correctly naming the songs and saving them individually to your hard drive. A bit like recording your favorite radio program... but with a digital twist. Here are a couple of examples.

Folk Alley
Screamer Radio

I appreciate Last FM and the like -- but if you prefer the road less traveled, these sources may be a more satisfying way to discover music.

As always... buy the discovered music and enjoy.

glen said...

In the post above I mentioned "Newer sorts of music aggregation, search or social-playlist sites are also interesting. All are apparently legal, licensed and/or claiming Fair Use status."

Here are some linked examples.

Hype Machine
SeeqPod
MuxTape
MuxFind

paul a'barge said...

"We're sorry but this video is no longer available"

Welcome to Mutt-town (YouTube).

Bad links to videos of music certainly cramp the style in a blog entry dedicated to videos of music.

blake said...

lol on Theo. I was thinking of running a similar vein but I'd hate be called a racist again.

It's spooky to me how close my tastes match palladian, theo & rhhardin. Dowland is great. I love di Lasso, du Prez (alt version), Monteverdi...

But what I love about music is how many "this is it" moments you can have. I've had that kind of feeling hearing The Beatles, Muddy Waters "Deep River Blues", Lassus' Prophetiae Sibyllarum, Stravinsky's Le Sacre Du Printemps, My Fair Lady, Ladysmith Black Mambazo on Paul Simon's Graceland album, just to name a few. All these things have resonated at some deep level that makes me smile.

And you pick up your instrument, or your pen, or your voice, and want to play along or write in that vein.

Trooper York said...

Recently we had to update the Ipod for the store as we had been listening to the same playlists since the store opened. I generally listen to jazz vocalists like Nancy Wilson, Dinah Washington, Ella, Cassandra Wilson, and Julie London. Or sweet soul music from the '70's like the Chi-lites, the Delfonics, the Stylistics, Al Green and Bill Withers. And Van Morrison. So in the morning on Saturdays, those are the playlists that I hit. Of course when the wife comes in, she changes it to all the new top 40
Nelly-Beyonce-Rihanna-Kayne stuff.
But most of my customers seem to dig my tunes.

Except for Van the Man. Some people have no taste.

Trooper York said...

Hey I thought the Sebastian Bach guy was going to be in celebrity Rehab next season. No wonder you guys don't like him.

But I did like the Beethoven movies. That was one cute doggie. I heard he was deaf.

Trooper York said...

Hey Theo, you got to stop listening to the Jonas Brothers all the time man. Broaden your horizons for crying out loud.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

"Bad links to videos of music certainly cramp the style in a blog entry dedicated to videos of music."

Try it now.

Trooper York said...

Hey it's Saturday morning and I got the Stylistics blasting baby!

TMink said...

One place that exposes me to new music is www.powerpop.blogspot.com.

I check it at least daily, they are a fun bunch, and Steve's taste in music and his writing about it are really a treat.

Trey

paul a'barge said...

Nope, still nothing under the links.

Why does YouTube do this? Is this a copyright deal of some sort?

Ann Althouse said...

Okay, I fixed it.

Jac had done something to make them appear full screen that was creating a problem. Try it now.