Tuesday, May 03, 2005

How does the fact that you listen to bands who are more introspective or have songs that are kind of depressing reflect on you? Does listening to Pink Floyd and loving "Time" mean that you wasted a lifetime and relate to it, or only that you really love the writing?

It's a question that was driven home a couple of years back, when a friend (who wasn't into much western music at all) asked me if all rock songs were depressing (This was after she'd heard "Comfortably Numb")

There was a small problem with the question - I find a lot of Pink Floyd absolutely uplifting. Maybe it is just due to memories of hostel afternoons playing "Coming Back to Life" or Another Brick in the Wall" full blast. Another problem: I see songwriting for quality, and don't particularly care if it is 'happy' or 'sad' or anywhere in between. Good music helps, of course.

Of course, if there's something in the songwriting you relate to, that hits home much harder. Yes, I thought "Time" was written with me (and a few million other people maybe) in mind when Waters sang -

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking
And racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in the relative way, but you’re older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

However, irrespective of whether I relate with it or not, it is a great piece of writing.

Among contemporary artists, one songwriter whose stuff I really like is Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty. His sizzling solo number with Carlos Santana "Smooth" probably gave him way more visibility than you'd expect (and a couple of Grammys), but the group albums "Yourself or Someone Like You" and "Mad Season" are absolute rockers. ( haven't heard their third effort - "More Than You Think You Are") There is enough musical variety to hook you, and some amazing songwriting to keep you listening. One of my favorite songs, "Rest Stop" appears on Mad Season - it describes a breakup where the girlfriend throws the singer out of her car on the highway - "three miles from the rest stop".

She said - while you were sleeping
I was listening to the radio
And wondering what you're dreaming when
It came to mind that I didn't care
So I thought - hell if it's over
I had better end it quick
Or I could lose my nerve

And no, none of my girlfriends(!) ever threw me out on the road that way.

And: if you listen to Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson, it still reflects badly on you.

4 comments:

cathy said...

I listen to 50 cent.Does that reflect badly on me?

Ajay said...

No comment

Anonymous said...

Per my $0.02, what reflects badly on you is not if you listen to Britney Spears, but rather if you laugh at other people who listen to Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson.

Damian Antoine said...

Rather disputable.