Friday, September 29, 2006

Take Me To That Special Place

Today I put my finger on why I love music much more than film. This morning on my bus ride in to work I was listening to “Takk” by Sigur Rós (those of you who know me probably know that listening to Sigur Rós is almost a daily activity for me). Sometimes, a song just hits you so hard that everything around you seems to disappear, and I had one of those moments today. Glósóli (track 2) came on, and rather than relegating it to background music, which most people do all the time with music, I let myself be immersed in it, forgetting about all of the intellectual aspects of the music and just wrapping myself up with the emotional qualities. I have listened to this song well over 100 times, and I’ve always loved it, but, today, in particular, I was moved. The pacing, the buildup, the melodies and harmonies, and, in particular, the tonal qualities of Jónsi’s voice, with its perfections and imperfections, blend together in beauty and majesty. As downtown Chicago passed by through the windows, I was lost in sound and taken to another state of mind.

Anyway, back to the original point. I think that music (to a certain degree excluding opera, soundtracks, and musicals), by removing the concrete visual, puts more onus on the listener than film, but with a very positive outcome. I think that the power of music lies in the idea that we are forced to associate our own visuals and emotions with the songs we hear, rather than having one given to us. As a result, we all have certain songs that take us to special places – be it a memory of the past, an exotic location that you may or may never have been to (Holst’s The Planets Suite, anyone?), fond remembrance of someone you haven’t talked with in awhile, or even just a soundtrack to the world as it passes by you. It’s a feeling that I believe only music can give to you.

I encourage everyone to go find a special album or song, put it on, and really listen to it. Close your eyes and remove any pre-described visuals you may have, be it from a music video, a film which used the song, an TV commercial, or anything else. Conjure up your own visuals and feelings and be enveloped by the sound. Forget the music theory – song structures, tempos, tones, etc. Just let your heart take over. If it’s still not working, take a listen to Sigur Rós.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Living Legends

The other day some friends and I went to Cleveland, and were talking about the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. We ended up not going (I had been before), but it got me to thinking about which artists are out there today that have HoF potential. I did a similar exercise a few years back with a cousin of mine around baseball players – which players that we watch today will be in the hall of fame. It was amazing that at the end of it, a lot of players that you might think are locks, say Curt Schilling, may not really be as guaranteed as you think, given the average amount of players inducted per year against statistics and resume. More importantly, it also helped me to appreciate the great active players who I get to see everyday, reminding me to enjoy them while we have them and to respect them for how great their careers have been.

Well, I set out to do the same for music. Following the same method, I started by looking at the current inductees and determining the average amount of inductees per year, which sits at about 7. Then, I started listing bands and determining when they would first be eligible (the rule being 25 years after their first album).

As you can imagine, the list got long and the research cumbersome. A bit of further research with the help of our friend Google pointed me to this site. Amazing – my work was already done!

To augment the list, though, I thought I’d identify those whom I believe to be “locks” – the artists who we are listening to today that someday will be forever enshrined in the hall. Before I go through these, let me stress that this is a list of active bands/artists. There are many other bands that will surely get inducted but are not active, such as Joy Division or Nirvana.

So get out there and see them before it is too late!

Eligible already but not yet inducted (year eligible)
1. Jethro Tull (1993)
2. Leonard Cohen (1993)
3. Yes (1994)
4. Lou Reed (solo) (1997)
5. Tom Waits (1998)
6. Tina Turner (1998)
7. New York Dolls (1998)
8. Brian Eno (1999)
9. Patti Smith (2000)
10. John Mellencamp (2001)
11. Peter Gabriel (solo) (2002)
12. Iggy Pop (2002)
13. Van Halen (2003)
14. The Cure (2003)
15. Ozzy Osbourne (2005)

Eligible in 2006
16. Depeche Mode
17. New Order
18. Phil Collins

Eligible in 2007
19. Beastie Boys
20. Madonna
21. REM
22. Sonic Youth

Eligible in 2008
23. Metallica

Eligible in 2009
24. Bon Jovi
25. Red Hot Chili Peppers

Eligible in 2010
26. The Flaming Lips

Eligible in 2011
27. Guns N’ Roses

Eligible in 2012
28. Jane’s Addiction
29. Pixies (semi-active)
30. Soundgarden (Chris Cornell in Audioslave)
31. Sinead O’Connor

Eligible in 2013
32. Massive Attack
33. Fugazi

Eligible in 2014
34. Green Day
35. Nine Inch Nails
36. Smashing Pumpkins (reuniting…)

Eligible in 2016
37. Pearl Jam
38. Tori Amos
39. PJ Harvey

Eligible in 2017
40. Beck
41. Radiohead
42. Rage Against The Machine (3 members in Audioslave)

Eligible in 2018
43. Bjork
44. Dave Matthews Band