A creativity blog - including reviews, photographs and discussion on a variety of things; such as dragons and other things almost but not quite completely entirely unlike tea.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Musing on music

Since it's too dark to take decent photos at the moment, my packomaniac series has to wait for continuation till the next sunny morning, which might be anytime between now and the spring. In the meanwhile, I still want to write something, and as a friend of mine once requested me to write something about the kind of music I listen to, I thought I'd give it a shot. Be warned though, that I have absolutely no idea of how to write about music, as I've never done so before. With that in mind, let's have some thoughts on music.

For the most part, the most important things for me in any particular piece of music are the lyrics and the melody. (Yeah, this is beginning well, right?) Talking about lyrics, I cannot bring myself to listen to songs which I deem to have stupid, silly, unmeaningful or otherwise unlistenable lyrics. The lyrics need to have a point of some sort, they need to be witty or otherwise intelligent, or have a beautiful message or something such in order for me to like a song. Sadly, this means that most of the English pop music is not in my favour, as most of them tend to concentrate on getting the beat running and give from little to no thought to the lyrics. In terms of Finnish pop music, there is scant little of it, with a few good pieces here and there, but there are no Finnish pop singers or bands that I follow regularly. What this means to me, who am a child of the pop music generation, is that I've turned to music from different countries to quench my thirst of decent pop music - even if I can't understand the words, I can still think the songs danceable, beautiful or otherwise listenable.

As for the melody part, for me it is often important to be able to discern a melody of some sort in the song. With this I mean that I like certain definiteness in the songs, not just steady beat from finish to end. Piano is one of my favourite instruments, so it's easy to get me to like a song by adding some piano tunes in the beginning, end or generally into the middle of the song too. While I'm not musical myself, I appreciate the talent of others enormously and I like being able to pick out different instruments within the song. Apart from piano, drums are also in my favour, which has probably affected to the fact that rock music is also one of my chief loves.

When I was younger, all my favourite songs were pop ballads - the kind of dreary lamentations of one lost love or the other. An example, here. Nowadays I've also started to appreciate songs of a faster tempo, such as is often the case with the Irish traditional music, or Japanese/Korean pop music. (Also very good for dancing, both of them are.)*

I started listening to Japanese music quite early on, around my late teens, I suppose. I had some penfriends in Japan who introduced some bands to me, and I remember sitting for hours in front of the computer waiting for the then slow internet connection at my home to buffer the songs so I could listen to them over and over. I loved musicians and bands like w-inds., Koda Kumi and Yuna Ito, and listened to mainly those songs from them that had been made into music videos. Eye candy in those videos were part of the charm of the songs for me, naturally.

I had a brief respite from the Asian music when I lived with a person with a huge instrumental music collection - as I have always considered myself rather limited in my music knowledge, I spend the best part of three years listening mainly to cd's from this collection, and learned to appreciate game and film soundtracks, Vangelis, Hanz Zimmer and many others I cannot bring myself to remember at the moment.

I returned shortly to the world of Finnish pop/rock music after this, listening to mainly titles such as Zen Café, Apulanta, Nightwish and other random titles offered by the Finnish radio stations. My own cd collection at the time was very small (it still is, in fact) so radio often came to the rescue (if you can call it that) when I wished to listen to something out of the ordinary.

After this, I returned to listening to Asian music again, adding Korean groups such as Brown Eyed Girls, KARA, BoA and IU to my list of listening. This was aided by the fact that around those times I scored myself a full-time job, which meant heightened possibilities in the form of buying cd's online and being able to listen to them at length at home.

Currently my favourite songs are cheery, poppy, melodic songs with nice rhythm and (for me) unintelligible lyrics that do not destroy my enjoyment of the song by their ridiculousness. (I once listened to this English song, where the general message was that mistakes should be forgiven because everyone makes mistakes sometimes. Song logic at its finest, that is.)

*Of course. I listen to many other kinds of music, too, but for the purposes of this post I shall only recount the music styles I mainly listen to.

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