descant

There’s a rather peculiar phenomenon that happens sometimes when I listen to music. I know I’ve posted a fair bit about classical music lately, but this time I’m referring to pop music or mainstream music.

When I drive, I sometimes listen to the music on my phone, which means I hear random Persian lessons in amongst the reasonably small selection of songs which comprise my “Home” playlist. I think I called it that because they’re all the songs I feel most at home with, and can listen to over and over again without getting sick of them. Well, on most days, anyway. Continue reading

Rudimental sunshine

I don’t browse YouTube nearly as much as I used to, and I don’t listen to mainstream radio or Spotify or things like that, so I’m particularly slow with discovering new music these days (or I just don’t). A few weeks ago, though, I was on YouTube, and happened to see that Rudimental had a “new” song.

By “new” I mean that it was supposedly released mid-last year, but I hadn’t heard it before, hadn’t listened to it before.

Well, now I’ve listened to it many, many times. The other day, I had it on loop/repeat for … a really long time (?) while I was browsing blogs and reading Pharmacy journals.

And just like any Rudimental song, the acoustic/stripped version is as good as the original:

If you like this one, and aren’t very familiar with Rudimental’s discography, you might want to check out “Go far” and “I will for love” (both featuring Will Heard). “Free” (featuring Emili Sande) is another favourite of mine. When I need something to lift my spirits, or just something to give me a boost of energy, these are my go-to songs.

tomorrow, I don’t know

I’ve taken a liking to the song “Reality” by Lost Frequencies (ft Janieck Devy). Last night I listened to it on loop for an entire hour, up until I went to bed. Even so, it’s not surprising to me that when I woke up this morning, and as I went about my day, I seemed to have every other song playing in my head apart from “Reality”.

It’s kind of weird how the mind works like that. It’s just like those days when I might listen to a song – maybe only half of it – and then this will be followed by countless other, better songs …And yet, the next morning, it’ll be that half-listened-to song that will be in my head.

Sometimes I won’t have heard a song for what seems like years and years, but one day it’ll just spontaneously appear from the depths of my memory, like a jack-in-the-box that’s finally been wound enough.

“Reality” played a lot on the radio and TV while I was in Rocky (I watched a lot of Channel V and Max while I was there). Perhaps I’ll always associate that song with Rocky, or at least with my memory of that time in Rocky. Perhaps not. At least it kind of captures the uncertainty and just “going with the flow”.

I think it’s a great chilled out summer song. I was a little bit afraid that I’d get sick of listening to it if I had it on repeat for an entire hour, but I could probably listen to it all day and still like it. And I would probably still not have it stuck in my head the next day.

Such is life.

one in a million

I’m just going to say straight up that this entire post is going to be about Maroon 5. If you do not listen to their music, or do not like their music, I highly recommend skipping this post (also, why don’t you listen to / like their music??). Feel free to go and read something more worthwhile. I can give you suggestions if you’re short on ideas.

Anyway, my music taste is pretty mainstream, so obviously I’m a big fan of Maroon 5 (they’re pretty mainstream, right? I mean, they get played on the radio so much… Not that I’m complaining…)

Last night, I went to see their concert and, since I did a post for The Script’s concert (actually, I’m pretty sure I did at least two posts for them), I am definitely writing one for Maroon 5. (Side note: I’d say The Script is also pretty mainstream, but less so than Maroon 5.) Part of me wants to draw comparisons between the two concerts, but I think I’ll just write about this one on its own merits.

First off, honorary mentions to the support/opening acts: Conrad Sewell and Dirty Loops. Pretty good performances from them both; got the energy going, etc.

When Maroon 5 got on the stage, though… wow… They smashed out a lot of high-energy songs at the start, one after the other. There were some nice chill moments when Adam Levine was just kind of chatting to us, but I’m kind of impressed with how many songs they fit into that concert. And they played some of their old songs, among which were my favourites, “Sunday morning” and “She will be loved”. According to Adam, they wrote “She will be loved” in about 20 minutes.

I particularly liked the acoustic intro they did for “Pay phone”, where they were all standing together in the middle of the stage, kind of in a huddle. And whenever they got the audience to join in and sing parts of the songs – there was something about that that just put a big smile on my face (as I sang along).

And the drum solos, the guitar solos, the frickin’ light displays and everything were all amazing. (Can you tell I’m kind of still on a bit of a high from last night? Might also be all those exercise-induced endorphins from my run earlier, but whatever..)

During the night, I also found myself looking around at the audience a bit, too. Just glancing around to marvel at the fact that all these people came out for a concert on a Monday night because they love this same music that I love. There were actually a lot of people in their 30s and 40s (and maybe even older) at the concert, and they seemed to be the ones who were most into the whole thing. I mean, they were all up off their seats, dancing and singing along, while some younger fans actually seemed content to just sit down for most of it.

There was one thing I was kind of disappointed with, though. It wasn’t about anything that Maroon 5 did (although I was slightly, slightly disappointed that they didn’t perform “The man who never lied”, but I never really expected them to do that song anyway, so I suppose that’s ok). What I was (kind of) disappointed with was the audience’s enthusiasm and persistence during the “fake end of the concert”. Basically, they played “Daylight” and then acted like it was the end of the show, said goodnight and left the stage; and this was when everyone was supposed to cheer and clap and whatever to get them to come back (seems to be a thing that artists do at concerts, like a test or something).

Now, I only really have The Script’s concert to compare it to, but when The Script pulled the same stunt, the energy from the crowd was tremendous – it just built and built until the band came back on stage. Last night’s crowd, however… Well, it could be because a lot of them might have been at work all day (and we all know how Mondays are) but the energy kind of just came in waves. There was still pretty incredible force behind it, but based on my previous experience, I was expecting more.

Overall, though, it was such an amazing concert. I would list all the songs they did, but there were so many. I was pleasantly surprised that they did “Lucky strike”, which I’ve actually just heard and taken a liking to this year. (Props to you if you made the connection between the title of this post and “Lucky strike” before getting to this paragraph.)

Of course, they saved “Sugar” for last, since it’s their big hit at the moment. But they also played “Locked away” and (omg!) Rock City made a guest appearance just for that song. Frickin’ unreal! Too bad they couldn’t get Christina Aguilera to come in for “Moves like Jagger” but I suppose Adam did a good job of it anyway 😛

I think I’ve said this before, but there actually isn’t a single Maroon 5 song that I do not like – and I know a lot of their songs. I knew all the ones they played at the concert, and for a lot of them I knew the lyrics too, so this was kind of the perfect concert for me.

what’s in a name…?

Recently I’ve been thinking a bit about the songs I used to listen to “back in the day” (does that make me sound old? Am I old enough to be able to use that expression?) Well, I mean mostly the ’90s and early ’00s (but since I don’t remember when various songs were released, and I clearly can’t be bothered looking it up, there are likely to be songs outside of those years as well).

I wanted to do a post about all of these nostalgic songs, but quickly realised that that would inevitably result in a ridiculously long post that would never get published because I’d be constantly thinking of songs to add to the list. A possible solution to this: break it up into several, smaller posts. But how? I need criteria or something.

I was thinking about this as I browsed YouTube, and came across ‘Foolish’ by Ashanti. This reminded me of a particular game/challenge KR, LR and I played on our recent trip to NZ, which basically entails thinking of as many songs as possible that do not have obvious titles – basically the title isn’t part of the chorus, and isn’t repeated (more than a couple of times) elsewhere in the song. Another good way to think of it is that if you heard the song for the first time and had to guess the title, there’s practically zero chance of ever guessing correctly.

Well, since it was kind of the inspiration for this post, ‘Foolish’ (by Ashanti) gets to be first on the list. I was actually watching the MV for ‘Always on time’ (by Ja Rule ft. Ashanti), and this song was one of the related/suggested videos on the side. From the title alone, I couldn’t remember what it sounded like, so, of course, I clicked the link. My almost instantaneous reaction (after the opening scene, when the music actually started) was kind of like “Ahh.. yeah, I remember this”. You know, kind of like that feeling you get when you’re listening to the radio and you can’t quite think of the name/artist of a song for a bit, and then it suddenly dawns on you.

While I’m on it, ‘Mesmerize’ (Ja Rule ft. Ashanti) also qualifies for this list. Those two released some good songs. I can’t remember if I was old enough to fully comprehend what their songs were about, but I remember I liked their music.

One of the first songs I thought of for the non-obvious-title challenge was ‘The scientist’ by Coldplay. Such a lovely, haunting sort of song. (I also liked the ‘Glee’ cover of it.) I vaguely remember watching an interview with Chris Martin around the time of the song’s release, and he said he actually had to learn how to sing the song backwards so that the singing would look normal when played in reverse. Fun fact.

And sticking with the “haunting” theme (is it just me, or do I have a thing for sad/poignant songs?), I also really like ‘Iris’ by the Goo Goo Dolls. I remember watching the MV as a kid, and for some reason I liked the whole concept of having a room at the top of a tower with a bunch of mismatched telescopes pointed in all directions. Not stalker-ish at all…

By now you’ve probably established that my music taste was pretty mainstream. I am not going to dispute that, and will actually finish this post off with another mainstream pop song: ‘Affirmation’ by Savage Garden. This is one of my most favourite songs ever. It just has such a good uplifting quality to it. And maybe I didn’t appreciate every line when I was a kid, but I appreciate it now, and could easily listen to it over and over again.

I know there are a lot of other songs that could be included in this, but I simply do not have the time to keep adding them in. Also, history tells me that if I start a post, and then save it as a draft to finish at another time, it will probably never get posted… But if you can think of more songs – whether in this same sort of era or not, but preferably songs that you at least like(d) – you are more than welcome to leave a comment about it!

sound triggers

I’ve been noticing a rather interesting phenomenon recently. Well, I’ve been mulling over this for a while (like most things that I eventually get around to posting about) but I reckon I’ve been noticing it more easily of late. As the title to this post suggests, I’m talking about what I’ve decided to dub sound triggers. These are sounds/words/noises that appear in regular day-to-day life, and that are seemingly benign, but then somehow have the ability to set my mental gramophone into motion and, before I know it, I have a random song stuck in my head.

I’m sure this must happen to other people, considering the ubiquity of music in today’s society, but I’ve never heard or seen it discussed. Sure, everyone has songs that seem to always get stuck in their head, even after just hearing one line from it, but this is about triggers outside of the song itself.

This might make a bit more sense if I provide some examples:

Give me everything – Pitbull ft. Ne-Yo & Nayer
For some time, I actually thought this song was called ‘Tonight’ because that’s always the word that triggers this song. Of course, I don’t think of this song every time I think/hear/read the word “tonight” but if the circumstances are right, it could happen.

The call – Backstreet Boys
This one’s only happened fairly recently. I remember clearly that it was in the morning one day when I had work. I was at home, looked at the time, and thought “gotta go”. That’s all it took. I don’t think I’d listened to any part of ‘The call’ in the temporal vicinity of this occurrence, but it somehow managed to resurrect itself in that moment. I’ve since discovered that it is quite catchy and, despite the morally dubious topic, I don’t mind it.

Just a little – Liberty X
The most recent time that I remember this song randomly popping into my head was when I was on my way between the train station and the pharmacy. There was a sound trigger, but I can’t remember what it was. I think it was just something that reminded me of the rhythm of the song.

We are done – The Madden Brothers
I started getting this song in my head whenever I completed a task and said “done” in my mind as I ticked it off my mental checklist. There’s something about the tune that also reminds me of a theme song for a radio program my mum listens to, so sometimes it morphs into that as well.

Whistle – Flo Rida
At the height of this song’s popularity, I think that any sort of whistling must have made me think of this song. It’s not really the sort of song that gets stuck in my head for very long, though, so it wasn’t that annoying.

Barely breathing – Duncan Sheik
This one’s a bit different, because it’s not just about word association – this song is also emotionally triggered. It’s actually the words “come and go” (toward the end of the song (?)) that make me think of the song, not any of the actual chorus. Then there’s that “can’t breathe” sort of feeling from nervousness/excitement, sadness/happiness – sometimes that’s enough to put the song in my head.

I didn’t actually think that I would manage to think of that many examples, but there you go (granted, I have written this post over a few days to give myself plenty of time to think of more examples). If you’d like to share some of your own exampes, I’d like to hear them (or would I…?)