A French composer Claude Debussy once said, “Music is the silence between the notes.”
Who listens to music and what kind of music do we listen to? Do we really perform a background check on the artist whose “one song we like listening to?” What strikes the balance? Is it the lyrics or the euphony? On a bright blue morning when Dean Martin sang “It’s A Marshmallow World” or when the Poets of the fall penned down – “Carnival Of Rust”? Did we know why Pink Floyd wrote “Wish You Were Here”? I always thought it was a call for one’s beloved which isn’t actually so.
Music therefore has not always been about the sound of celebration; U2 performed “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” which was the band’s most overtly political song till now. There has been a good old history about the coming together of their band and their so-called prose. It is not just poetry. It was a formation of the ‘Salvation Army’ – whose single one dimensional goal was to sensitise and influence mellifluously. It seemed that music became the force with which a whole new clan of rebels, metamorphosed through the elements of sound and lyrics.
The late 80’s and 90’s saw a decade of revolutionary changes in the music circuit. The MTV generation was born in this era of our musical journey. MTV was called “illustrated radio” and the audios were soon converted into compact discs. Music became more diverse, with disco, new wave, heavy metal, rap, techno pop, grunge, punk rock and the “new” country sounds.
But the 21st century seems to have started a whole new tide. If there exists the bling, apathy and head-bopping rhythm-enticed music of hip-hop and rap, there is also the mellowed down lyrics, multi-instrumental rock which focuses more on the interpersonal relations and the human feeling. Say it isn’t so!
Rap and hip-hop is gaining ground by each day; Jay-Z, Eminem and Kanye West still remain the champions of the cause. Yet pop too is witnessing a revival of sorts; Lady GaGa, Ke$ha, Rihanna & Taylor Swift (although belonging to separate genres of R&B and Country) are bringing pop back to the masses. Indie Rock, too, is soon catching up. The list is endless with artists like The Arcade Fire, Guster, Vampire Weekend, The National, Cage The Elephant, Villagers and Modest Mouse.
Then there is the blend of various genres coming together to produce sounds never heard of before. Elton John sings with Eminem, Paul McCartney sings with Linkin Park, Chris Martin of Coldplay sings with Kanye West, Arcade Fire adopts the Blondie approach by utilising disco in their songs. But more about this in the next post by me.
Till then, you can please your ears and minds by checking out the songs mentioned here, and we’ll make sure that you’re listening to them.