Posts Tagged ‘ music ’

Relics? No Way…

I was watching music videos on YouTube (which I’m prone to do on days when I have the time), and I came across this old gem. There’s so much music out there in the past couple of decades that guys like Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Prince, and Tom Petty have nearly been lost to history on most radio stations. It’s a tragedy, really.

Anyway, I was listening intently to the sheer enormity of the first bar’s drum intro (at 2:18 or so on the video), and had forgotten how the clarity of Clapton’s guitar intro just moves me in a way I don’t get from the majority of the music I’ve heard before. And oh lord, his guitar in the second verse…the note at 4:20, the E bent-up to the F…that one, single note just cries like it’s pleading its guts out for something.

One thing I really enjoy about Phil Collins’ music in particular is that he has a composition style in which he likes to keep the drum part so simple that it lets the of the song really emote its purpose. And it’s cool to know that yes, that is his real voice — none of this overdubbed-third and -fifth crap that you hear in every song on the radio today.

Take a listen to his other hits. You’d do well to hear the live version of “No Son Of Mine” that he did at the Billboards in ’91. There’s an authenticity there that just isn’t there anymore in radio today.

Comment if you agree!

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For Those Of You In Sales, This Is VERY Relevant.

A Throwback?

One Of Brad Paisley’s Paisley Telecasters

If you are a country fan, you might have the vague feeling that sometimes, the music sounds very similar, and not understand it.  Well, here’s why.  Click to the middle of the song for the sound I’m referring to, if you don’t have the patience to start from the beginning.

You’ve got some of the newest country bands whose sound can border on throwback.  Listen to it:  Eli Young Band sings a song called “Even If It Breaks Your Heart.”  Eric Church Sings a song called “Drink In My Hand.”

Both of them sound alike, and to me, like they have tinges of–get this–Tom Petty.  Listen closely:  Tom Petty’s “Learning To Fly” is pretty obviously similar to “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” but Eric Church’s song is channelling Petty just the same, just sped up.  Of course, nothing matches Tom Petty’s voice, but I know from my years as a concert band student that they sound alike because the songs are written in the same key, and have similar chord structures and relatively closely-matched tempo…but the intangible here is the sound of the guitars through the amplifiers.  That sound is what makes you know Dave Mathews from Jimi Hendrix from Bob Dylan,  Slash from Santana, and Brad Paisley from Keith Urban (skip to 2:30 or so to see the first of the song’s dueling solos).  It’s really the sound that takes you to a place you might be familiar with, and I think Break Your Heart is one of those songs that is too close to be original, but at the same time perfectly comfortable in my ears.  Sort of like the “Milking the prostate” scene in the movie “Road Trip.”

Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Strat

Anyway, I have been driving to work every morning and hearing these country tunes on the radio, and thinking, Why do I think of Tom Petty every time I hear this?  Now I know, I guess.  I’m glad I finally figured it out…it’s been bugging me for nearly a month now!

I don’t suppose it should be a surprise, thinking about it…sometimes, bands are simply way ahead of their time.  Take for example Hootie and the Blowfish–“Let Her Cry” was actually a country song twenty years before country sounded that way, and Trent Reznor (founder of Nine Inch Nails) had no idea he wrote one of a dying country legend’s greatest performances.  (Original here, in case you lived under a rock in the 90s.)

All new music came from somewhere, I suppose–from everything new coming out of the Beatles, Elvis, and the Stones (and many well before them), it’s inevitable that some sounds will overlap.  It’s just uncommon, that those sounds overlap from one twenty-year-period to another (“Learning To Fly” was released in ’91…when I was nine!)  And if you think about it, most great songs are remade…think of Bob Seger’s “Turn The Page,” and then listen to Metallica’s version.  Or even better, in my opinion–George Michael’s “Careless Whisper”…versus Seether’s version.

That is all for today…I had to get that off my chest, now that I’ve figured it out!  I know it’s a lot of links, but the music is all worth a listen.

Surprise Disappointments, And Life’s Other Realities

I’ll never forget where I was when I found out an unexpected truth in life–one which completely defies everything I thought I had known when I was a kid:  Airplanes, for all intensive purposes, have no “reverse.”  They must be pushed back by a tug.  I’m not sure why I was disappointed; I guess I’d always assumed that airplanes were like any other complex machine–cars, riding lawnmowers, trains, even some motorcycles–and all of them can do both.  (Thrust reversers cannot be counted because while many of them can move an aircraft backwards from a dead stop, it is dangerous to do so because of the amount of junk that gets kicked up when they are deployed.  It is not safe to stir up stuff in the air, to be ingested by the front of the engine.)

In keeping with our aviation theme, one of my other biggest disappointments happened when I found out that pilots aren’t responsible for directly hand-flying the airplane the whole time–they have an autopilot system which keeps the aircraft on course and at the assigned altitude.  For all that time, I had thought that the biggest reason for pilots being so revered in the early days of commercial flying was because of the immense responsibility inherent to managing a quarter-million-pound machine with so many souls aboard.  When I was a kid, I had equated pilots to any other profession for which you are highly paid for your skills–surgeons, dentists–and I was disappointed to find out that they aren’t even doing most of the work themselves.  For all you pilots out there, I mean not to diminish your responsibility or skills, but I’m sure on some level, you can relate.

My wife mentioned to me over wine on our deck that she has several of these disappointments of her own, which lead me to post on this topic based on the assumption that others have them, too.  One of the biggest disappointments my wife has encountered came while she was working at a particular hotel to get through school; she told me it was depressing to see the vast difference between what the hotel’s customers see, and the condition of the behind-the-scenes stuff that makes the hotel function.  Outside, there were gleaming, polished floors, freshly vacuumed carpets, and granite countertops; the workers’ workspaces were dark and dingy, and not well-kept at all.  Everything was strictly utilitarian, and it was as if they  got to be around the glitz and glamour without being able to participate in it.

Along the way while she was finishing her Epidemiology degree (epidemics, not epidermis), she told me one day that people shouldn’t be using soaps that say “Antibacterial” on them because they are unnecessary.  “But how could that be!” you ask (I did).  “Isn’t the goal of soap to kill bacteria?”  The answer is no.  I was disappointed to find out that soap’s only purpose in life is to make it harder for germs to stick to your skin when you run your hands under the water.  Soap’s only purpose in life is to be slippery.  (Further, this brings new meaning to the phrase “wash your mouth out” with soap.  I think the terrible taste was actually a design enhancement.)

The reason we shouldn’t be using antibacterial soap surprised me, too; the reason is that by using antibacterial soaps, we expose the germs to a toxin that they will eventually evolve to resist.  Then, what have we created?  Antibacterial-resistant (or, in the case of antibiotics, antibiotic-resistant) germ strains.  Sort of amusing that we are creating germs that are becoming harder for us to kill.  I know…it surprised me, too.

Here’s one more for the books:  How many of you were disappointed to find out that some musicians on the radio don’t actually write their own songs?  I was…as a longtime music student, poet, journaler, blogger, and guitarist, I had no idea that some of my favorite songs weren’t written by those who performed them.  People who do all of their own music–write the lyrics and melodies, and then perform them–are out there, but more often than not, they are the exception, not the norm.  I guess I had always assumed that in order to make it to the level that some of these musicians are at, you would have had to have cultivated some talent.  The reality is that it’s hard to find people who are the “Triple Threat”–people who write, sing, and perform all of their own songs.  It’s the reason people like Bob Dylan, Tori Amos, and even Taylor Swift have such dedicated fans.  (NOTE: This is not music commentary, so do not rant about the obvious sacrilege of Bob Dylan and Taylor Swift being the same sentence.)

What were YOU disappointed to learn?  The older I get, the more I wish I could go back to being a kid again–no responsibility, everyone was inherently good, and life was grand.

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