Friday, May 19, 2006

Musical Musings

A musically related post and the subsequent discussion at Crooks and Liars the other day got me thinking. I also want to try to have some posts related to something other than politics, which has really gotten me frazzled these days.

All right, I am mostly a product of the 70’s and 80’s. I was pretty young going through the 60’s, so although I am very familiar with bands like Cream, the Buffalo Springfield, the Yardbyrds, Jimi Hendrix, etc., they didn’t make that much of an impact on me. I certainly liked some of the music. My older brother was playing it all the time, so I heard quite a lot of it. Probably my favorite performers of the 60’s were Simon and Garfunkel. But it wasn’t until the 70’s happened that music really started having an impact. I am not sure I can explain what that means, really.

I imagine this is true for a lot of people. Music has a direct tie-in with the emotions you felt at the time you were really “into” that music. The two become inseparable. Certain music, for me, calls up the emotions of breaking up with a girlfriend, or moving away from a high school in the middle of the year. I have read that the sense of smell is the one sense that is intensely tied to emotions. I suppose that is true. Maybe that’s why perfumes work the say they do. But I still say that I can get more emotional reverberations by listening to Paul Simon’s “One Trick Pony” album than I do by smelling chopped celery. Maybe I just never had my heart ripped out and stomped on repeatedly while eating chopped celery….

What I am listening to these days? I’m in sort of a retro mood. Actually, contrary to popular belief, the 70’s actually put out a lot over very good music. Some of it sounds dated now, but from a cutting edge perspective, very hot stuff. Not all music back then was the Bee Gees sounding like someone had a firm grasp on their collective cojones. No, there was some very good, progressive music that came from that era.

I am currently listening to groups like Yes, Renaissance, Led Zepplin, Gentle Giant, etc. Yes’s album “Tales from Topographic Oceans” is really a masterpiece. They rather destroyed the whole concept of “verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-closing”. I can’t really fathom someone sitting down and actually writing that. And the band Renaissance is still very astounding to me. I don’t think their music sounds at all dated, unless it is the Rickenbacker bass. No one uses a Rickenbacker these days. But several of their albums are so musically interesting and well put together. Their one album “Scheherazade and other stories” really deserves a listen. It’s too bad that, except for old farts like myself who were into them in their heyday, even remember there was a band by that name.

On the other hand, I suppose I am just like my parents were, thinking that music of their era was still “hip”. I’m actually surprised that Tom Jones is still popular. I would have thought his fans all died several years ago.

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