June 11, 2010

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:25 am by Iain

I was listening to some music on the way back from Ames today and for some reason it dislodged this random memory I have from my ultimate frisbee years.

I was riding in a car with two high level guitar bros and we were all discussing whether it was cool and progressive for musicians to emulate specific sounds through music. I think guitar bro A was talking about sweet the Red Hot Chili Peppers are while guitar bro B was explaining how painful it is to listen to Jimi Hendrix? – I don’t really know. It was all typical music posturing and hence, typical masculine hubris, so I wasn’t actually listening to any of the arguments. I think I also might have been a little drunk at the time, so that probably could have affected things too.

Anyway, in the process of all of thise I tried to make a point, but was instead silenced by that patron saint of circumscribed discourse, hipsterism. I know how silly it is for me to say anything about music (I am bad at listening to music), so my comment probably deserved to be squashed. But I still wish I could’ve articulated how I felt. I don’t tend to have many male conversations that actually communicate anything, and that was a chance, in a very small way. But instead of having a meaningful conversation with two other guys, I  instead had to wait a couple of years and self-disclose to my own blog. How depressing.

For posterity’s sake, I agreed, and still do, with guitar bro A. Not for his opinions on the Red Hot Chili Peppers (lolz), but because I feel like music should be about something that’s attempting to evoke something greater than itself. Sure I don’t really like Jimi Hendrix trying to simulate have sex on his guitar, but I can at least respect how well that encapsulates who he was and where music was going. Or in other words, I don’t have to like a person’s music to respect their creativity.

And right now, what I do like is the poignancy and sincerity that singers like Sufjan Stevens are able to bring out of their lyrics or the musical genius of a guitarist like Kaki King. Musicians likes Sufjan or Kaki make music that is so genuine and so beautiful that it’s almost impossible to not love what they’re doing. Case in point, the song I was listening to that started me on this whole thing, Kaki King’s “All the Landslides Birds Have Seen Since the Beginning of the World.”

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