Thursday, February 3, 2011

Musical Secrets

I'll admit that I like some groups or artists that I'm "ashamed" of liking. I might prop them when they show up in other people's streams, but it's a rare occasion when I'll actually reblip them. ;) Then, there are other times when I'm feeling extra brave, & don't give a rat's ass if I lose a few followers just because I've just blipped something that completely shatters what most people have come to expect from my channel. LOL. (Listener expectation also can depend on how often people tune into or what time of day they're listening to my channel; if they've gotten accustomed to hearing a particular genre the last time they tuned in, they might be in for a rather rude shock the next time they drop in for a listen. ;) )

Don't worry, I'm not going to profess an undying love of Justin Bieber's music. Haha! I detest that little twerp's cringeworthy music & will continue to do so ad infinitum, as most others my age will undoubtedly concur, or at least those with taste. ;) While I'm not exactly a closet fan of Barry Manilow, Kenny G, or Michael Bolton either (LOL!), I still do like some artists whom I know don't possess the commonly sanctioned "coolness" factor, at least not as that's defined by the majority of people in my age group who are connected to the modern era. ;) Examples: Barry White, Exposé, Wham!, Falco, Toto, Olivia Newton John (particularly the Xanadu album -- extra points for cheesiness there!), Hall & Oates, etc. Heck, I'll even admit to liking a Britney Spears song or two (i.e., Toxic, Womanizer, Gimme More, etc.), even though I don't particularly care for her as a general rule. There are even some limited selections from the Bee Gees that I enjoy, particularly their soundtrack contributions (i.e., songs from Saturday Night Fever & Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band). OK, these admissions are starting to veer on embarrassing. You see, I've probably already said too much already! Good thing I'm anonymous here & on LOL!

The funny thing is that some of these older, formerly "uncool" artists have, in recent years, suddenly become "cool" again. Or rather, they've been (rediscovered & then) covered by some rather fearless modern artists in a fun & unique way. And then, of course, the younger generations not surprisingly go back to the source material & find that they actually enjoy this stuff. ;) The Bird & the Bee's Hall & Oates cover album is a particular example that comes to mind. Also, Chromeo has a similar fixation with Hall & Oates. I don't know, maybe it's the signature, furry, caterpillar-like 'stache. ;) (Yeah, I know he got rid of it, but you've got to admit, that thing has staying power in pop culture's collective unconsciousness.) Both groups have covered their songs & also played with either Hall or Oates, or both. :)

So, while on some level I'm sure people will probably respond to the above remarks by saying something like "you should like what you like & to hell with others who can't relate," there's still a certain part of me that can't help but balk at the "uncool" factor. I guess it's just ingrained in my subconscious; and also, my mate teases the hell out of me for liking some of these groups. Then, I remind this person that they like openly like New Age music & the Andy Bell period of Erasure, & furthermore have several of the albums to prove it, and then they shut the hell up. ;) Sure, if I was from another generation & listened to Easy 101 FM (Hahaha!), or lived in another part of the world, maybe some of these preferences would be forgiven. ;)

The movie equivalent of this would be the French & their love of Jerry Lewis movies. Or how some people -- particularly those not connected to the pulse of what's currently happening in music right now -- still think MJ's music is hip. No offense, but his music hasn't been hip since the late 80's. ;)

Of course, there are also some people who would argue that this "coolness" factor is relative, depending upon one's generation, cultural background, & other influences. While Rick Astley might be revered as a deity in some circles, he's far from hip amongst the 20-45 crowd in the US. ;)

Now, on the flip side of things, there are those artists whose "coolness" factor isn't defined or limited by any particular era or age group, that is, unless you're 90 & are still rambling on about that "darned, cotton-pickin' rock 'n' roll music" & how it's the "devil's tool." ;)

For example, the following artists are considered to be perpetually cool, & probably will continue to enjoy this reputation until the end of time. Also, it probably goes without saying, but if you blip following artists, you are almost GUARANTEED to get props (at least amongst the 20-45 crowd):

The Cure
New Order
Joy Division
Peter Murphy
Gary Numan
Siouxsie Sioux & the Banshees
The Smiths
The Ramones
The Velvet Underground
Dusty Springfield
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
The Killing Joke
Mission UK
Front 242
Frontline Assembly
VNV Nation
Sisters of Mercy
Depeche Mode
Daft Punk
Tom Waits
Violent Femmes
Massive Attack
Public Enemy
Beastie Boys
Peter Gabriel
Kate Bush
Annie Lennox
Black Sabbath
Ozzy Osbourne
The Clash
The Specials
The Jam
Thievery Corporation
Sneaker Pimps
Jill Scott
Gus Gus
Saint Etienne
Simple Minds

(I could go on....)

You know it's true. :) The people who blip or prop many of the above artists might not have been living when these artists made most of their hits, but they full well know the effect of their staying power & influence on modern music as it exists today.

And then, if you want to extend the age group to 50-60, go ahead & blip some classic rock &/or classic soul/Motown & see what happens. For starters, try The Beatles, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Golden Earring, Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin, The Commodores, James Brown, The P-Funk, EW&F, Al Greene, Sly & The Family Stone, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Ike & Tina Turner, or even Johnny Mathis, etc. Prop, prop, prop. :)

Then, there's the newer crop of "coolness," which includes (but is not exclusively limited to) some of the below artists:

Gnarls Barkley
Mark Ronson
Kate Nash
Lily Allen
Broken Bells
Bat for Lashes
Late of the Pier
Temper Trap
Silversun Pickups
Mystery Jets
Zero 7
The Kills
She Wants Revenge
Linkin Park

And then there are the "genre" people. You know who I'm talking about. The people who only prop things in their little "windows" of "acceptable" genres. People who only listen to alt.rock or pop or electronica or metal, etc. Sure, it's their prerogative to do this, but frankly, I'd rather not be limited by any one genre. Frankly, it'd just bore the crap out of me.

Of course, not everyone fits so neatly into these little boxes, & honestly, I just love it when people break the "mold" and destroy other peoples' musical expectations. People like @CargoCulte or @redoctopus, who don't let their age define their musical tastes. Or people like @Totengraeber, who, just when you think he's all about darkwave, industrial, new wave, & gothic rock, blips something completely different that doesn't fit into any of those genres. Or, people like @romanus and @BluJulius, who blip such a wide variety of genres that it's always a treat to see what they blip next. The nice thing about is that there are enough blippers who blip cross-genre selections to keep things interesting.

Also, there are a lot of people who blip international selections, regardless of whether or not they live in that song's country of origin. There are even some blippers from my age group that also blip songs that make me feel better about some of the corny songs that I've blipped. ;) And then there are also some blippers who have replied that they've enjoyed some of my more embarrassing selections, & then we shared a good laugh about it. Also, if you get to know a DJ's taste well enough, you'll also realize when they're blipping something merely as a joke. :) All of these factors certainly keep fresh & exciting.


  1. Pretty much agree with everything you say...

    I will sa this though... I often think that people forget that music just needs to be enjoyed and it doesn't matter WHY it's enjoyed

    *Vampirefreaks- prepare to be assimilated*

  2. Thanks! What you said is very true. The pleasure of listening to music definitely outweighs any of the analysis, or in some cases, overanalysis. ;) In this way, music is very much like film; sometimes we've just got to stow our inner critics, get out of analysis mode, & just enjoy the music.

    Also, I think that even if people are embarrassed by some of the songs they like, they'll still enjoy those songs, but maybe just in private. ;)

    In the end, we like what we like, whether secretly or publicly, & regardless of public opinion or the current tide of popular culture, both of which are incredibly fickle & ever-changing. After all, you never know when something once cool will become completely uncool & then cool once more. ;) Also, our tastes change & evolve with time & various life experiences. All of these factors are but a mere snapshot in time.

  3. Mostly agree, but even between the different "cool" categories you draw, they are wide differences on appreciation, (nuthin new when coming from the Beatles vs Stones age:)
    Excellent post, I'll keep following you in blipland

  4. Thanks, pratinsky! Yeah, it's true that if a person blips classic rock, they aren't going to exactly get points for novelty. ;) Of course, a lot of selections from many of the aforementioned artists in other genres would probably fall into the same category. :)

  5. Many moons ago, I used to do a "track of the day" thing on my old blog... as much to give me something to write about as anything else. Your post reminds me of the short Guilty Pleasures run I did which included a long-ish piece about my obsession with a certain 1970's disco song :). It starts around here:

    Good to read someone else's perspective on the topic. Oh, and Xanadu is an under-rated classic of a movie! Give me that rather than the endless run of Rocky Horror any day...

    Betterlucky (on Blip)