The ebb of the British band

I have the pleasure of working with someone who has a rather eccentric and unconventional music taste. I get to learn all about a whole side of music I didn’t know existed but also get incite into a cynic’s view of pop music. One night he and his band went through the UK’s top 40 and there wasn’t a single band on the list. I thought that in his old age of thirty he maybe just didn’t recognise some of the new pop bands names. However; when I decided to test his theory I was blown away to find the only band with a featured song was Clean Bandit. Some questionable exceptions might include Maroon 5, Train and The Vamps but in the words of Max Bemis, “They’re only actors who can play guitar”.

Featuring Katy Perry’s ironic stab at pop music/culture.

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The new school of old school

In my previous blog post I talked about how it was important for young generations to explore “classics”. Given the streaming platforms like Spotify’s libraries it’s really no wonder that we are sifting through old back catalogues and embracing almost forgotten classics. Whether through Dadrock or some Motown everyone should take a look at the roots of music to see how far we’ve come, or digressed in some crotchety “born in the wrong generation” types opinion. If you listen back to the likes of Otis and Dionne and find yourself longing for the sounds of old there’s plenty of revival music bringing the sound of the classics to the modern era.

Motown the musical took Broadway and London by storm.
Motown the musical took Broadway and London by storm.

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Enlightenment through sampling

Sometimes people can’t simply enjoy a good thing given to them. This is the case throughout the history of hip-hop due to the constant argument about the inclusion of sampling. Many see sampling others’ music in your own as stealing creative ideas due to an inherent lack of creativity on your part and believe that to call a song your own you have to build it from the ground up as a completely original idea which only embroils you in another musical argument about whether or not any music can be considered completely new and unique nowadays. However; there’s those of us who don’t hate life and actually like to enjoy music and see sampling as a way of not only enjoying others’ music but also sharing it with more people. Many artists find that including a sample in their music acts as a sort of shout out to the original artist while other artists use it as a way to involve themselves in the history of the original music.

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Women outside of pop music

Given the recent events taking place highlighting that we as a whole must continue to strive towards equality I thought this would be as good a time as any to explore a thought I’ve had about pop music. If you took someone who puts little stock in music, relying on chart music you’d find that their view of women in music is quite skewed. Chart music tends to feature pretty lifeless and frankly vapid songs from female artists with a few rarities that could be considered to have substance though they usually rely on the crutch of love. Unfortunately the charts want us to focus on the same old boring break up songs rather than highlighting something more akin to the classics or towards the heavier side of the spectrum, granted the later is also influenced by the fact that rock really isn’t present in any form in the charts as of late.

The true queen. Bring back Dionne and Nina.
The true queen. Bring back Dionne and Nina.

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Void of vocabulary

Are you ready to continue kicking the arse out the explorer theme? I sure am. After writing my last blog I had a Longfellow moment where it and my Japanese music blog played two ships passing in the night as I thought to myself about the importance of lyrics in music. I’ve often not put too much stock in lyrics in music as I like to focus on the instruments and as such I’ve looked at music which is void of vocals and music in foreign languages. Is it possible to derive purpose and meaning from music when we don’t have a lyricist beating us over the head with clever metaphors about love and death?

Making humble instruments otherworldly (Caspian's pedal board)
Making humble instruments otherworldly (Caspian’s pedal board)

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Taking a minimalist approach

Despite always having enjoyed a broad spectrum of music I never found myself wanting to sit and genuinely enjoy classical music. I appreciate the intricacies and the talent that goes into the music but it never gripped me. This could be because generally classical musics’ target demographic seems to be an older generation or it could be the good old Scottish education system grinding down any hope of me enjoying classical music with it’s woeful higher music curriculum, not that I’m bitter in any way. However; not too long ago our good pal Spotify threw a curve ball my way when for once the “New Releases” tab featured Philip Glass’ “Glassworks” album instead of the usual slew of chart albums.

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A journey through J-Rock/Pop

I figured I’d milk the name of this blog and as a result we’ll be journeying across Magellan’s “Peaceful” sea (the Pacific Ocean) to see what Japan has to offer. This came about through unlikely circumstances as my navigator was an unlikely one, Youtube’s recommended videos and up next feature. Usually I don’t trust this feature because more often than not the algorithm just throws up songs with a lot of views rather than songs similar to what you’re listening to but one day I noticed that the algorithm had a different, nostalgic strategy to entice me. An old song from a playlist I made years ago filled with interesting Japanese music popped up because the band had made a music video for the song and as soon as I clicked it I was sent on a journey through the wonders of contemporary Japanese Rock and Pop.

Youtube's getting real Kawaii
Youtube’s getting real Kawaii

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