HOW I CAME OUT OF THE GLAM ROCK CLOSET AND OTHER STORIES OF LIBERATION

17 Apr

I am a relatively young person so I have been thinking a lot recently about how often I seem to have to question my own taste in music. At least once a week either in a professional or a social situation I am having to make excuses for not necessarily understanding the explosion of sound carefully created by some ultra cool Youtube sensation with a one word name like Extinguisher or Dr 69.  I am often disguising my confusion and having to apologise when some bright eyed industry person or musically “savvy” teenager (usually one of my own) plays me a new and extremely popular piece of music and I am left feeling like everyone has been invited to the party except me! I tried dancing to one of these mega hits last week but I landed up in traction so I had better not do that again since I am in those circumstances clearly a danger to myself and others. Instead of wanting to dance and sing along I am often left scratching my head, bewildered and at the same time equally impressed by the cleverness of it all. A song is no longer just a song. It is a feat of scientific, electronic and engineering prowess. It seems that musicians are not only focused on the sound but also required to be on the cutting edge of science as well if they are to make it. An intricate coming together of electronic beats and instruments generated from a computer AND a human voice box creates mind bogglingly complicated compositions. My question is, can this possibly ever evoke the raw emotional responses that are forthcoming when a listener is connecting with what is in my own (humble) opinion music that talks to the human soul? Maybe I’m old fashioned. Maybe I am missing the point but forgive me for stating the obvious but I was under the impression that music required a tune! So, it was with tremendous delight that I heard Maverick Warehouse’s close harmony group aca-Thatu rehearse Zahara’s brilliantly written and popular Lolilwe. Exquisite and tuneful song writing is alive and well and living in South Africa.  I am trying a new tactic in the crusade for tuneful music.  I play Mott The Hoople and Status Quo in our house. The eternal hits of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons currently being superbly played at Teatro in the musical Jersey Boys are often heard coming out of my car at very high decibels. I am genuinely impressed and awestruck by the brilliance and complexity that is required to beat box well and create symphonies out of electronics. But does it make me a bad person that I would rather listen to “Oh What a Night” rather than something that sounds like a sound track to a space odyssey or a language from another planet? Am I an anachronism? Am I lame and uncool? Probably. Then so be it. I feel better after coming out. I am not ashamed anymore.  I am going now to listen to Bobby Darren followed by Tony Bennet and Dinah Washington. Loving life out the closet….

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