Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair) ~ A musical gem I discovered whilst sifting through the site this evening. Sandi Thom went from doing webcasts in her basement to a record deal with RCA. For some reason, the song reminds me of a passage from Milan Kundera's The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.
If it is true that the history of music has come to an end, what is left of music? Silence?
Not in the least. There is more and more of it, many times more than in its most glorious days. It pours out of outdoor speakers, out of miserable sound systems in apartments and restaurants, out of the transistor radios people carry around the streets.
Schonberg is dead, Ellington is dead, but guitar is eternal. Stereotyped harmonies, hackneyed melodies, anda beat that gets stronger as it gets duller -- that is what's left of music, the eternity of music. Everyone can come together on the basis of those simple combinations of notes. They are life itself proclaiming its jubilant "Here I am!" No sense of communion is more resonant, more unanimous, than the simple communion with life...bodies pulsing to a common beat, drunk with the conciousness that they exist. No work of Betthoven's has ever elicited greater collective passion than the constant repetitive throb of the guitar....the sadder people are, the louder the speakers blare....
I am not sure I completely ascribe to the view that the history of music is over, or that its "glorious days" are gone. But, I do admit to getting significantly depressed when I ponder the likes of Paris Hilton getting an album ("I like, cry, it's so good" she was recently quoted). Personally, I think she should just look pretty and keep her mouth completely shut (unfortunately she seems to have difficulty with that on many levels).
Ani Difranco laments on the track "Fuel" from Little Plastic Castles: "People used to make records/as in a record of an even/the event of people playing music in a room/now everything is cross-marketing/it's about sunglasses and shoes/or guns and drugs, you choose."
My solution is not listening to traditional radio any more, unless it's left of the dial without commercials. Otherwise, I "tune in" on the 'net. I don't have an ipod, but there are plenty of "webcasts" and since I am an AOL member I have access to AOLMusic which, though not an exhaustive catalogue, it suits my needs quite well, and saves me money (I haven't purchased a CD in years -- just single songs via computer).
No doubt about it, music, and the process of making music, has changed, and not always for the better. I miss my vinyl. It had a warmth to it you just can't reproduce in CD form. The CD industry has improved the manufacture of the medium, as well, so that some of the kinks have been worked out concerning longevity...and since it's only been about 20 years, I'm sure they'll get better. But still, there is no way to compare the first time I heard Joni Mitchell sing inside my bedroom from the needle on my Sears turntable.


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