Don’t love the band, or even the genre. Just love the song
anonymous scriber mysteriously sends this to ftittaimu. it’s really rather good. feedback is a must here readers.
When I first started music lessons at school aged 11, rather than let us smash the keys on the piano or twang the violin strings, our teacher had us open our notebooks and take dictation about the history of music – the emergence of orchestra, the ‘great’ composers, the meanings of ‘lento’ and ‘crescendo’. For most of us this was dull and dreary stuff and I quickly turned away from music as an academic subject. I can still remember the first thing he said though: “Music can simply be described as organised sound”. I still disagree with this. By that logic every time Gordon Brown presents a speech we would all be dancing a jig saying “this organised sound has such good bass”. Do we? No, we sit and scowl at the overweight dunce trying to conduct the nation, and that’s pretty much the face I had sitting in those music lessons. But the whole idea of “organised sound” got me thinking about how we write music.
My brother once said to me that there must surely come a time when music would be exhausted and any song you could create would already be in existence. I forgive him this rashness of thought because I suppose one could argue that in the simplest terms there are only seven notes, which indeed was his argument. I reminded him that there are only nine numbers, but infinite combinations thereafter and he nearly conceded. “But if someone writes the song 555 [using my numbers analogy against me], no one will write the song 5555 because it’s just exactly the same song but just a bit longer” he argued. “I’m afraid they already have, and will continue to do so” I despondently replied. I explained that it is not so much about the song as it is the writer and producer, who have control over exactly how that ‘5’ sounds and whether to make the song a free-flowing ‘555’ or quirky, jerky ‘55.5’. It is the organisation and composition of the few notes and the almost limitless array of sounds at mankind’s disposal that means music is a bottomless well of any type of song you can think of just waiting to be scooped out and splodged onto our plates. So why is it that so many of us become fans and followers of the those who merely ladle out this musical stew?
I don’t believe in a good or bad band, only a good or bad song. To me, all songs are written by anonymous and performed by unknown artist. I couldn’t care less about the image or agenda of the people who front them. However, there are those who take to bands like supporting a football team; goading and berating supporters of other bands as if music were a competition, and following blindly the direction of their team safe in the knowledge that their pack gained three vital points in the race for social acceptance. Therein lies the problem: as humans we are eager to categorize and define ourselves so that we feel part of a social group who believe in the same things as us. Instinct tells us it is safer to be part of the pack. The music industry has learnt this and plays to it.
Music, like all art, is a sensual expression of our inner selves and (usually) tries to communicate a message. It seems that this message is the hook that modern music followers cling to as their creed and the music industry uses to fish for profit. This message may be conveyed by the lyrics in each song, the type of music, the image of the band, or a combination of all three. If a band or artist labels themselves (and the pressure is always there to do so by the music industry) there is a silent, almost imperceptible rallying call to the public to join their way of thinking. Whether a band is telling you there is a God, or there isn’t a God, or a band is being an advert for Gap, or a band is showing you that wearing odd coloured socks is cool, or a band is showing you that you have to be thin and pretty to be a success, there are just too many extra factors to become emotionally attached to nowadays. So much so that people start to forget about the songs themselves and get fixated on the band. People become defensive – all of a sudden it becomes personal when others say they don’t like the latest release by your favourite band. And why not, as you have invested a lot of time, money and emotion in supporting them – not liking the new single is not liking you. Music has been cruelly puppeteered to be divisive to make money from an image you want to be part of.
That is why we should all be thankful that the internet now plays such a huge role in music. The emergence of the online market and such sites as Myspace and Youtube has given all artists a level playing field. Everyone now has the chance on an individual basis to release singles or albums without the financial backing of a record label. This means, amongst other things, that all the egos, wardrobes, and looks of our musicians are obsolete when deciding whether or not to like a song. It also means that there is far less media propaganda which promotes subordination and rivalry. The internet can be the catalyst for us to love songs again rather than bands or genres. We can finally stop pigeon-holing ourselves. Music can once again be an art rather than a fashion accessory.
“Don’t think we’re so mysterious. Don’t take us all too serious. Be original”
– Aqua, Cartoon Heroes.
Written by anonymous