Nishio 2 – Lemaitre feat. Giraffage

About a year ago, the Norwegian indie electronic duo Lemaitre (from french: the master) released a collaboration with one of my favorite glitch/dream pop artists of this past year, Giraffage. Giraffage (nee Charlie Yin), called Nishio 2. Throughout 2016 this song wormed its way into my consciousness in several, week-long intervals, eventually becoming one of my most listened to tracks of the year. The recent turn of the year has given me a chance to look back on this eventful year. The past year has been at once a successful, joyful, deeply upsetting, and depressing one. Perhaps then, it is fitting that this track featured so heavily. (Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?)

The track starts off with a light scale resembling chimes or bells, and is quickly supported by a low synth drum which lends it a beaty vibe popular in several genres of electronic music in the past few years. The overall vibe of the song is very reminiscent of Giraffage’s recent collaborations with artists like Slow Magic, ethereal, dreamy, and ambient in a way that refuses to be ambiance. We soon hear a female vocalist sing some of the only lyrics to the song “I’m so happy”. In a standard glitch style, samples of these vocals repeat as though skipping or glitching. 

Lots of electronic music uses the device of repetition, and while it can be indicative of a lack of creativity or simply used to force something to be catchy for radio play, it does have its place as an artistic tool. I encounter this issue often when discussing or reviewing gospel music. Despite being near the opposite end of the musical spectrum, gospel too has from early on understood the importance and the grandeur in simplicity that comes with repeating a line over and over. If the artist and the performers are talented enough, each time the line is repeated, new emotions and thoughts can be brought forward in an attentive audience (us, the listeners!).

However, while the overall lyrics of Nishio 2 do repeat, the first half “I’m so happy” repeats only once before the second half of the lyrics are added “I’m so happy I never met you. Our time together would be too short and sad.” After this second half of the lyrics comes in, the female vocals are slowly distorted, and it sounds almost like a children’s chorus is singing behind her. Then, at the 2:14 mark the lyrics are repeated again, but the woman’s voice is bent into a higher tone, which sounds to me like a younger girl’s voice before the track goes quiet for a second. The music comes back in suddenly with a burst of the joyful melody, which throughout the track juxtaposes with the rather sad lyrics in a melancholy song which can be at times emotionally unsettling.

My favorite part about the bare-bones lyrics is how open it leaves the song for interpretation and for reliability or at least sympathy. Is the woman dying too young and singing to the soul mate she never had? Is she singing to a star-crossed lover and using “met” as a proxy for getting to know someone deeply? When I first heard the song it broke my heart. Although I have never lost a child, it immediately made me think of a couple who have lost a complicated pregnancy to miscarriage. The woman is happy that her child didn’t have to live a life of suffering from perhaps some serious birth defect, but she is also selfishly joyful because the pain of knowing her child before he/she inevitably died would have been even greater. Further evidence for this interpretation comes in near the end of the song. I spoke earlier about the bending of the woman’s voice to make it sound higher, like a little girl’s. Later in the song, the lyrics are distorted several times throughout the same phrase. The “so happy” sounds like the voice of a young boy, the “never met” and “time together” sounds like a young girl, and the “you” drops down into a deeper sounding male voice (perhaps the father). The rest of the lyrics in the phrase seem to return to the normal female voice. This may, in a devastating sense, represent the couple’s dreams of a family they could have had. To this listener, Nishio 2 is a beautiful and emotional song about losing a child, but taken at face value, I think it represents the beauty in losing something, which is a difficult concept to grapple with.

Listen to the track below.

 

tw: cannibalism

In the time since god-emperor tangerine has assumed the mantle of president-elect I have (much to my displeasure) been trying to keep as close a pulse on the way that my radical leftist (and even some more adult) Facebook friends have reacted. At first I knew there would be issues, grief, irrational behavior. Of course, people invested a lot in this election because some of them (although they were the minority) believed one candidate was much better a choice than the other. Then, after several days passed, it was time to see what form the true reaction to this loss would be on the side of the left. Would they learn from their mistakes (condescension, boy-who-cried-wolf, liberal bubble, etc) or would the left eat itself alive? As you can probably tell from the title of this post, it was the latter.

The first thing I want to talk about is the reactions or overall behavior of leftist celebrities. Being that the two are almost part and parcel, it follows logically that celebrities would largely support Clinton during the election. Let me just say thank God we had ultra-wealthy Hills-dwellers who travel the globe and spend an entire family’s annual income on a handbag to tell us about what’s best for poor working class families. I am eternally grateful to hear the political acumen of professional line readers hired for their genetic good fortune. If you can’t tell I’m being a bit sarcastic about this. If you decide who to vote for based on a 1min 30second video of people who don’t give a shit about you wearing unmarked expensive clothing and reading cue-cards under a black-and-white filter then you should stay home on Election Day because you are not an educated voter and indeed you may never be an educated anything. That being said, the way that celebrities react is a good indicator and often a causative agent in the general public’s reaction.

Celebrities have had mixed reactions following the initial aftershocks. Unfortunately for the state of comedy in America, Amy Schumer is not actually going to be moving to Canada despite vowing that she would. Apparently this vow joins the barren wasteland of other utterly bland and unfunny Amy Schumer jokes. Jon Stewart had a fairly balanced reaction to both sides which he delivered in an interview recently (forgive me if I can’t remember which news show was speaking to him). Of course Jon Stewart is a different type of celebrity to the morally superior Hills-dwellers, and his commentary reflects an intelligent if not left-leaning insight into politics in America. Then of course you have my main man Bill Burr. He went on Conan (a late night host willing to bring someone not entirely amicable to their political viewpoint on the show) because they are both soul-deficient gingers. Bill was pretty much against both candidates from day one but his perspective is as crass and unfiltered as usual, one aspect of Bill I find ultimately refreshing. In the end it’s difficult to pin down one clear direction for the celebrity reaction, although many of the more leftist-friendly celebs have followed the swan song of the radical left in general.

In contrast to the diverse reactions throughout the world of the rich and famous, my feed (rich, just not famous) has been rampant with the funeral dirge of the social justice movement. In a comedic lack of self-awareness, the left has continued to double-down on its identity politics. It is my personal belief that a big reason that the left lost this election is because they cried wolf (racist/sexist/misogynist/supremacist) way too many times. A few nights ago Ben Shapiro was on CNN (or Fox, one of the big networks) and touched on this issue as well. As many of you will have seen in the news, VP Mike Pence went to see Hamilton a few days ago. As he was leaving the theater the cast asked him to wait and that people record them as they delivered a short message. I honestly think their actions were a little childish but certainly not inappropriate for the discourse we’ve been having in this country over the past several months. Naturally, because nobody has taken Donald’s phone away from him yet, the Don had to take to twitter to make some dumb comments and indicate that the cast of Hamilton should apologize. When the left saw this they literally all had synchronized aneurysms and dialed the criticisms and rhetoric up to 11. Am I saying what Donald did was right, or appropriate? Of course not, the man is an out-of-control child. However, if you react with the same vitriol and fervor to Trump’s domestic policy as you do to a tweet about a play, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. People already recognize that the left calls everyone who disagrees some sort of bigot, so this type of reaction just makes people tired. Nobody wants to listen to their rich white friend who took three sociology courses and now understands the world way better than you tell them about how Donald Trump’s tweeting is somehow indicative of deep-seated vices and hatred all of which naturally make them scared for their literal physical safety. Once again, the people who didn’t have the privilege to stand in righteous judgment of people who didn’t hold their political views just don’t respect that kind of drama. If you make a big deal of everything, nobody is going to listen when an actual big deal comes along. Literally every single person who has been rumored or confirmed as part of Donald’s administration has been smeared as white supremacist, sexist, hateful, etc., which is a shame because some of those people really are bad, and many of them aren’t. If your message is that every one of them is a literal nazi then you’ll probably get a few likes or more than a few likes in your liberal bubble on facebook. Meanwhile anyone else reading your comments is thinking about how insane you sound. I’m being hyperbolic here, or at least using some extreme examples, but this problem exists in more subtle interactions too. I’ve seen people post articles decrying with anger how some Trump advisor believes that Islam is responsible for issues in the middle east. They just state this, and then assume everyone else is as outraged as them. As the election should have taught them, they don’t speak for very many people! I’m not going to argue here about the complex underlying causes of America’s current policy situations in the middle east. Suffice it to say, these leftist are totally ignorant to the fact that tons and tons of Americans, none of whom hate Muslims as a rule, would generally agree with the statement they are so outraged by. Now, there’s nothing wrong with them being outraged over something many people find normal and agree with. There is something wrong with assuming there are no rational people who disagree, or that they can disregard anyone who disagrees with the statement. Articles circulate calling out Trump voters “Are you regretting it yet!”  “Look what came of your vote.”. These are hilarious as well. I’m pretty sure the vast majority of Trump voters are actually really happy with the way things have turned out. The leftist freakout is indescribably satisfying to a large subset of Trump voters.

If one good thing has come of the leftist meltdown which has its hot, goey core in the middle of the social justice movement, it is a breath of fresh air in comedy. It’s as if, simply by winning the election, Donald J. Trump has broken a spell cast by the politically correct left. Where issues like the leftist echo chamber, political correctness, and even liberal hypocrisy, are finally stepping into the sunlight. Comics and commentators are much more freely discussing issues that otherwise they would have tiptoed around. Jimmy Kimmel is making fun of the unduly politically correct, SNL is mocking young white liberals, Dave Chappelle is calling out crybabies. And they aren’t being crucified for it. And that is a very good change.

 

 

 

Post-Election Reflection

Ever since the tide started to turn toward a Trump presidency last night my mind has been buzzing with so many different angles and thoughts that could become entire articles on their own. Right now I think the most salient and certainly the most emotionally present topic to talk about is the reaction of many of my white, liberal friends who attended a four year college and have successful parents who support them. This entire election, Bernie Sanders was the closest I had ever come to supporting a candidate for president. Period. As many of you know I’m a “little l” libertarian, so this might seem a little insane, given Bernie’s policies. That’s a topic for another post. When Clinton rigged the primary election against him and publicly stole an election, I watched people on my facebook, twitter and in my own life start to just accept it. I really lost hope in this entire race. To those who are calling anyone out who didn’t vote for Clinton: After you showed your support for the fundamental removal of your fellow citizens voice in who governs them, you don’t get to sling epithets, not without looking foolish.

I was upset and depressed to watch as all of these pro-Hillary messages came through. My friends did not care about democracy, as long as their team “won”. In truth I don’t really know many Trump supporters, but the ones I did see on my social media were slightly racist old white ladies. I am none of those things. At the point when it became a Trump V Clinton race, I knew that the nation was split into camps of people, none of whom had my interests in mind or shared my political philosophies. I was a man without a camp, and don’t you dare say “what about Gary Johnson”. What about Mr. I don’t know where Aleppo is? What about Mr. I can’t name another world leader? What about Mr. Don’t worry about climate change because eventually the Sun will explode?

In any case, I know it’s kind of spiteful, but watching the wreckage on social media has had a tinge of schadenfreude associated with it for me. Through the past few months Clinton supporters have been so smug, so condescending, so utterly hateful toward anyone who didn’t immediately fall in line and vote Clinton. As one of my favorite news show hosts, Dave Rubin, put it:

“It’s almost as if you endlessly call people bigots and racists they’ll eventually get fed up and turn on you”

The Clinton campaign (and I was sad to see, my otherwise kind and reasonable friends) has been incredibly derisive toward anyone who supported Trump, and before that, to anyone who supported Bernie. In other words “anyone who doesn’t vote for me is a bigot and racist”. And that shame tactic has worked for social justice in the past, but I think this election was an inflection point. I think people started to realize and think for themselves I know I’m not a racist. If you call everything racist and everything misogynistic and everything sexist, then honestly people get desensitized. People don’t care if you call them these things anymore. Or they do, but you’re driving them to secretly vote for the candidate that doesn’t think they are literally all deplorable. How could anyone think Hillary Clinton would be a president for everyone? Best case scenario she is a president for half the nation, leaving hundreds of millions of people disenfranchise. Worst case scenario, she’s a president for Hillary Clinton and the donating elites. (Of course, you might ask how could Trump be a president for everyone when he has openly expressed anti-muslim and anti-immigrant attitudes, and overall behaved like an ass for a year straight in the national spotlight? The answer: he won’t be. He is going to be terrible, a terrible awful president. My hopes are higher that he will at least be a president for more than one person, unlike his opponent.)

It was honestly refreshing to see people who have been so smug and unfair and hateful to their fellow Americans have their candidate defeated. I didn’t vote for Trump because my position has been, for a long time, that both options are horrible people to their core, people who I could not ethically and in good conscience state my support for.

I sometimes genuinely believe that my Facebook feed is full of people who just don’t know that the world around them exists. I saw a status today from one of my fellow grad students that actually described this exact illusion. Directly, she said

“I’ve never felt so confused or disconnected from my country. My news feed tells me nearly everyone feels like I do, but if this were true, the election would not have turned out this way.”

These people have become so buried in their safe spaces, spirited away from the (now evident) wave of dissent that vehemently disagreed with their political opinions. Facebook and media outlets show us what we like to hear because we are more likely to continue to engage for longer. A HUGE portion of the country has forced white liberals to come to terms with the idea that they actually don’t have the mandate of the country. They are not representing as many people as they think. When it comes down to it I think the scariest part for these privileged Hillary voters is this: When it’s just a dozen people on a CNN video of a Trump rally, it’s easy to say “those are just some bigoted hillbillies”. When you see over 60 million people vote for Trump, this becomes a more difficult moral calculus. You can, technically, choose to say “wow, I had no idea there were 60 million racists and bigots in America. Or, once you become less emotional, you can say “I had no idea this many people were frustrated, fed up, and not feeling represented by our current status quo.” If we are being honest, nobody chose not to vote for Hillary solely because she has a vagina. Let it go. Trump is the one doing the pussy grabbing. People chose not to vote for Hillary because she is corrupt, because she represents in every way the status quo, because they don’t feel that she cares about their struggles at all. These are poor people, some extremely poor. My father is a working-class immigrant, and while he is a lifetime democrat, his struggle brings into context the struggles of many other working-class people. These are heroes who are working sometimes 7-days a week to support a family and to make a good life for them and their loved ones. To expect them to prioritize your feelings, or even your safety and livelihood over theirs is idiotic. Yet I have still heard people sitting in the same classroom as me, at a private university, who are white, who wear nice clothes and drive nice cars and have little trouble making rent each month, come out and shame these poor working class people for being “privileged enough not to have to worry about the social issues”. Seriously. Listen to yourself. I’ve seen stories describing this as a “white lash” of White people lashing out against…what? a Black president? A woman…? Diversity? Why is it that when poor white working class people voice their political opinions, and vote with what they believe is their best interest in mind, they are different than anyone else in their same socioeconomic class? Are they not struggling to put food on the table as much as anyone else? Are they not worrying what to tell their kids at night? Are they not having trouble making rent?

It is ultimately difficult to re-humanize a group of people who you have made into racist animals, but this is 100% vital to our progress as a nation.

We must be gracious in victory and dignified in defeat.

That being said, dehumanize Trump as much as you like. He’s a shitty person. But don’t assume that anyone who didn’t share your doomsday prophecy about a Trump presidency is some awful monster. They are people, and you are a person.

It’s that simple

Hey all. Coming back from a hiatus and hopefully creating a little more content and making more regular posts. The title of this post is a reference to one of my favorite clichés from people on…the internet. Usually it follows a meme or a statement like “if you don’t support X you are literally killing all women, it’s that simple.” You see it used by both the left and the right and usually it’s on facebook or tumblr, coming from people who have carefully curated a social echo chamber for themselves. In instances like that you’re really faced with the challenging decision of being petty and arguing on facebook (people don’t realize a lot of the time your argument is out in public for everyone to read and form their opinions about you based on) or just letting it go and agreeing that it is okay for misinformation, unreasonable arguments, and the disparaging attitude toward people who disagree with your opinion to be perpetuated. (By saying it’s “simple” you imply that anyone should be able to get it or understand it, so you’re already coming from a place of “I know the truth, you obviously don’t, I need to educate you.” rather than a place of “Here’s the facts I know, here’s my argument and why I’m convinced that this is the right stance.” The latter yields much more fruitful results.

But what to do? What to do about posts like this? If I’m being honest, about 50% of the time if a post is pretty egregious, I’ll engage the poster with a simple question that highlights something they might not have thought about if they really think that any big political issue can be reduced safely to something “that simple”. This also helps because it can expose me to any facts they might know which I didn’t about this topic. If you come out with guns blazing you’re going to make an ass of yourself a lot. Questions can often take the form of “how do they know that X caused that problem?” or “Great post, X. I’ve heard others say _______, where do you stand on that?”. At the same time, sometimes there are people who will just get very aggressive or unfriend you or whatever if you bring up counterpoints to their post or comment and as I mentioned before, the argument is out in the open for future employers or really anyone to see. Of course, you should make a strong and well-reasoned argument and not be ashamed of it being displayed, but things can easily be taken out of context. There’s a reason you’re not supposed to talk about religion or politics at dinner or in the workplace. Tensions can run high and people can get emotional about these two things especially, and when the goal is sometimes just to maintain a pleasant friendship or working relationship it is probably better not to be out there constantly butting heads on every issue. The same is true on facebook. Sometimes I just want to see your vacation pictures or check up on where you’re working now, or see your pictures of your new dog (this is the biggest draw tbh), and I can just scroll past if you’ve made a brazen, irrational, bigoted post. One person can’t engage everyone he disagrees with and honestly if you do this you’re a troll or a dick. Or a troll dick.

Instead, I have been toying with the idea of taking political cartoons or posts from my social sphere and removing all identifying information from who posted it, then discussing it here. I know I have a problem of being rather long-winded so these “it’s that simple” segments would aim to be themselves rather succinct and offer a few counter-points to the post in question. Often I’ll end up doing this with posts I agree with the sentiment of. When someone who holds an opinion I disagree with makes a stupid argument I can usually just scroll past because, whatever, the more people who are, for example: anti-GMO, who are out there sounding like raving lunatics, the better for me. This gives their argument more of a reputation for being conspiratorial and not really founded in reality. The worst, though, is when someone makes a pro-gun post (I am pretty pro-gun myself) like “we need all them ak-47s to kill the tarrorists muslamss ya’ll”. Now my position is the one being painted by some idiot on facebook.

To begin I just chose something that came up while I was scrolling facebook a day or two ago. It’s not special in that it’s the most awful argument I’ve heard or I feel really strongly about it, etc. It’s just what’s first.

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This post features what the artist believes is hypocrisy in a common political stance. For those of ya’ll who haven’t heard about this topic, a common manufacturer of epinephrine injectables (EpiPens, used to treat severe allergic reactions in an emergency) recently increased the price of their product astronomically. Issues with the image?

  1. You’re essentially arguing that because someone believes the law should prevent a company from selling a drug at whatever price they want, it’s crazy for them also to not want the government to entirely take over the healthcare system. That is ridiculous.
  2. Most people who are making a “no socialized healthcare” argument but who also want something to be done about the EpiPen aren’t usually saying “there should be laws” they are usually saying “there should be something done about this”. Clearly the author agrees with that opinion. So do I. We’re all in agreement here woooo. What some people might disagree with is the idea that the solution is to regulate the industry more, rather than making it possible for more competition to enter the market, thereby driving down the price of the EpiPen naturally. By circumventing the nuance of the argument, the author deliberately misrepresents two sides of an argument. I’m assuming here that the author is an intelligent person who is capable of doing a little research on a topic they are going to make a bold political statement on. Therefore, they could easily have made the argument that deregulation of the industry might not work any better than increased regulation. But who knows, maybe there really is someone out there making this specific argument that the author portrays. It just isn’t the most common opposing stance.
  3. It’s lazy. This is more of a stylistic point and opinion-based. It doesn’t portray a witty or intelligent commentary, it literally just has some fat angry white dude (that’s what everyone against socialized health care looks like! That’s a group we’re allowed to ignore the arguments of based on their skin color, sex, and appearance! Hurahhh!) wearing a shirt with one argument which he apparently supports so much he got it on a shirt and then a speech bubble with a different argument, and then the giant billboard with the EpiPen on it. I get it, I know political cartoons have to simplify things and usually don’t make a huge nuanced argument, but usually there’s some imagery in there or symbolism or wit.

My opinion on all this was initially “well, yes it sucks that they can do this but I don’t know if I’m ready to say yes the government should hold companies at gunpoint and dictate what price they can offer their product for. That’s a bit of a leap. One voice in the media who I tend to trust is Jim Cramer. Cramer graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with a B.A. in government, and received his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law. He is a talented journalist who was chief editor of Harvard’s newspaper The Crimson, is widely published, and hosts several shows on CNBC. If being a brilliant student of government and law as well as a talented journalist isn’t enough, he is also a successful investor. At one point he worked for Goldman Sachs’ Private Wealth Management division. He now runs a charitable trust which benefits charities with the money its portfolio makes. (Okay, now getting off Jim Cramer’s dick). He has said that something needs to be done and offered the two basic directions which we’ve already mentioned in this post “regulate it” or “let more competition come in”. I tend to trust Jim on issues related to the economy and law, and his perspective was pretty important in helping me form my opinion about the topic. He mentions how he has to take a medication which costs him thousands of dollars a month because his insurance won’t cover it and how he’s lucky that he can afford it, but there are others who can’t. This is where the “amoral” comment comes in. If you’re curious, this was the 8-25-16 or the 8-26-16 episode of Mad Money. Obviously I can’t link to it, but try to hear some other perspectives ya’ll. Peace.

Democratic Debate 2/11 Thoughts

Before the debate begins I want to throw in a few things I’ve been thinking about lately. In a very odd turn of events this libertarian has gone from a Rand Paul supporter to a Bernie Sanders supporter. Does this mean I support all of Sanders’ ideas? No. Actually I might not even agree with him on 50% of what he says. The extent to which I feel utterly not represented by any candidate in this race has perhaps fed into my intense interest. Of course, I’m also a lot older now than when the last serious debate (8 years ago) was underway.

One thing I think it is important for Bernie to underscore in tonight’s debate is the link between cannabis laws, the prison industrial complex, and minority populations. If you ask me, other than perhaps police militarization, cannabis needs to be the biggest concern for voters of color. Our country’s policy on the plant has single-handedly done so much damage to minority and/or lower economic class citizens that if the cause was clearer, there would be no defensible platform still supporting cannabis being illegal. Clinton has continued to trot out some line about changing scheduling of cannabis. Because very few people actually understand what the schedule system is, this might seem like she is in favor of stopping the disproportionate and entirely unnecessary imprisonment of african american males. Changing marijuana from schedule 1 to schedule 2 absolutely does not decriminalize it. Cocaine is a schedule 2 drug. Heroin is schedule 1. While adjusting the scheduling does allow more research to be done on the plant, it keeps cannabis highly illegal, and continues the unjust imprisonment of african american men, and the suffering of patients who might benefit from treatment with medical marijuana. You cannot be against the legalization of cannabis and at the same time support minorities.

Repeat after me: I am not entitled to force other people to do something for me for my own comfort or happiness.

No you do not have a right to have that bakery make your cake

No you do not have a right to be spoken to in a cordial or polite manner

No you do not have a right to any business’ services unless that business is supported by your government.

It would be nice if bakeries would just bake a cake for whoever wanted one, and everyone was polite and cordial and businesses were just happy to serve everyone universally. Something being “nice” and something being necessary for the government to force its citizens to participate in are two majorly, incomparably different things. Jesus.

The Big Bang and the Slow Burn

Every Saturday on Anthrax Laundromat (8-9pm EST) I share some of what I’ve been really interested in listening to that past week. When I’m trying to put together a radio show, I try to go for a consistent feeling in each of the songs. They could be a mix of genres, tempos, subjects, lead singer genders, etc. but the idea is that when you’re listening to the show in order, the listener never experiences a quick change in the feeling of the song, the vibe, so to speak. In my humble opinion, this makes shows easier and more pleasurable to listen to even if you don’t know any of the songs. In the past couple of months, I’ve started to take note of an interesting trend: putting together a cohesive playlist is easier when I’m dealing with more modern songs (or really any songs that are all from a similar time period). In fact, I even challenged myself to make a few different show playlists which either take one decade’s music and showcase the diversity of vibes and genres which were popular in that time period, or the opposite, to take songs from a broad span of decades and still try to make them fit with one another.

This week I’ve been listening to an interesting mix of artists. Among my most recently added Spotify artists are The Weeknd, Modest Mouse, Adele, Giraffage, Misterwives, and Fetty Wap. While hip-hop, pop, electronic, and alternative rock are all represented among those artists, I’ve noticed in listening to them that many of them have a similar vibe. This is a trend in current music which I am actually really enjoying. Harkening back to my awkward middle school days of Abercrombie jean jackets over band tees purchased at Hot Topic (clearly I hadn’t yet figured out what my vibe was yet. Still working on it.), I started re-listening to Panic! at the Disco recently. They put out a new album at the end of last week, and while each song is uniquely Panic!, there is also a newer sound to them. Regular listeners of my show or readers of the blog will know that I am very interested in a bands “creative arc”, by which I just mean how their music has changed through different albums and different eras. One of the things that kept sticking out to me from these songs was that I kept having this feeling, or this thought that wow these guys have really taken on a modern sound. As it turns out, the more I listened, the more I realized that the element I was identifying as “modern sound” was that many of their new songs are more “beaty” (that’s a real word, apparently). This is something I’ve started to notice more and more in recent, modern music. I would draw your attention to two songs which I’ve been listening to a lot lately, The Hills (The Weeknd) and Death of a Bachelor (Panic!). If you listen to these two songs, even though they are pretty different at face value, they share a certain vibe. They are a little dancy, driving, moving forward at a hurried pace but still in tempo. One song that would contrast with these in my opinion would be Hello (Adele), another popular song, currently. There are definitely some big percussion moments, especially during the chorus, but it’s obviously not as beaty as the other two.

I really love this new turn that a lot of modern music is starting to take, and I’m interested in where it leads us. Even a few years ago, there seemed to be a pretty big trend toward big drops or buildup and release (like a big bang). What I think the more consistent, persistent, beaty vibes do for a song is underscore lyrics or motifs which can be more intense, darker, more macabre, or perhaps more hopeful. It continues to drive the prevailing feeling of the song home, and it pulls the listener along. It’s almost active and consistently drawing the listener in. One could argue that the trend in more popular music being constantly engaging may reflect the trend in all other media our generation consumes. That is, they keep us stimulated (not that it’s getting shorter. lookin @ u vine.), it’s part of what we expect from a lot of media now. We aren’t used to waiting, we aren’t used to not being continually stimulated. Whether or not there’s anything to that is content for another article.

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