Sunday, March 03, 2013

On music

As is becoming apparent, in recent times, my blog has turned into a music review site. So given that I thought that I would take the time to write a post on the music I love.

There's always been music in the house. As I grew up, it was classical music, opera, musical theatre to start with, then Neil Diamond, ABBA, Simon & Garfunkel and the Carpenters. While I didn't like of this at once, and definitely not at the time, I've grown to like some of these.

The first CD I owned was a recording of U2's 1993 concert in Dublin during their ZooTV tour. U2 was probably the first band I loved growing up. I have vague memories of hearing 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' in New Zealand, but strong memories of hearing Rattle and Hum during a trip with church. It is still one of my favourite CDs. The first CD I bought was Bon Jovi's Keep the Faith (with a CD of Live tracks). I still wait and buy albums which come with bonus tracks, whether I buy from i-tunes or the regular shop. As I mentioned in another post, I'm wondering where they will go with the additional content on albums from i-tunes.

As I've alluded to above, while I was at school, it was U2 and not much else. The only thing that's changed is that now I'm inclined to say that U2 is one of the best bands I've heard in my life-time. They are one band which has provided a soundtrack to my life, but there other bands that I've come to love/

After I left school, I encountered Contemporary Christian Music for the first time. I discovered most of these bands through Karen Beilharz. I still have the tapes she did for me. One of the artists on this tape was Rebecca St. James, and after hearing her music I joined her forum. The members of the forum were great, they introduced me to other artists. I will be forever grateful for the person who introduced me to The Normals (and Nichole Nordman).

For a period here, I listened to 'Christian Music' exclusively. (I think at this time, I also took a break from listening to U2 too).

As an aside, I find it hard to listen to Christian radio stations, as I am not convinced they do as good a job playing Christian music as they can and I also don't buy the argument that the music that's good isn't christian, and the music that christian isn't good. Aside 2: There's a lot to discuss about the label CCM and Christian music but that's another post).

Not sure what it was that made me listen to U2 again, I think it was the release of How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, but when I did I also sought to be introduced to other bands - The Frames, Wilco, Interpol, The Arcade Fire - to name a few. I also rediscovered Radiohead and Sigur Ros at this time.

The latest stage of my musical journey (for lack of a better phrase), is through the websites - Noisetrade, Daytrotter, NPR and most recently Spotify. I'm now getting most of my new music from there. NPR & Spotify are great to be able to listen to new music or new artists before buying them. I'm not sure how I first found Noisetrade, but it has been great to get new music at a small charge (ie: a tip, tweet, facebook post and your email address). Daytrotter is slightly different - for a small fee $2 a month, you can download studio sessions from a wide variety of artists.  Will be interested to see what's next.

What hasn't changed about the  music I love is that I am a words person. There are a few exceptions - bands where the voice is a another instrument, Sigur Ros is perhaps the clearest example. I'm thinking broadly speaking my favourite type of music is folk. (If that label means anything anymore. That's where the images and words match up beautifully.

I thought that I'd finish this post with the desert island game - put simply these are the five albums you would take with you if you were going to be stranded on an island. The five I'd pick are:

  1. Home - Elizabeth Marvelly 
  2. Pop - U2
  3. The Swell Season  - The Swell Season
  4. Coming to Life - The Normals
  5. Land of the Living - Matthew Perryman Jones

It's quite challenging but these are the five albums I keep coming back to.  I've picked Home because as I've send before, this album is the one which reminds me of my childhood, songs I loved growing up, songs I sang at school.  The album is a little bit of NZ.

I could have picked a few albums by U2, and in the end, I chose Pop because it contains some of Bono's best lyrics ...  Please is one of my favourite songs.

The Swell Season is a beautiful balanced album, and just about perfect. MPJ is a beautiful lyricist, and even though his album came out last year, its one which a loved on first listen, and loved more on each subsequent listen.

I always post a disclaimer with a list - saying this is accurate at 10:16pm March 3, 2013.

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