Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Writing on the Wall

I started thinking about blogging several years ago...and gave serious thought and not-so-much effort to it about two years ago.  Thanks to the support of my family and the constant "you gotta at least try it!" echoing in my ears I sit at the keyboard today writing my first post.

I chose music because it seemed safe. Like most people I have definite likes and dislikes; I understand (I think) that what makes something good is whether or not others like it--it really is as simple and complicated  as that.  While my taste in music has changed somewhat as I have "matured" it seems to consistently circle back to what I consider the basics; listening to musicians and bands that do what they do because it is a part of them.  I don't play guitar (although I have tried), drums, keyboards, or horns...with the exception of trumpet in the school band grades 3-5...but I do play the stereo.

Although I decided to blog about music, I am not blogging about upcoming concert dates, new album releases, what's hot and what's not, or things that require a calendar and datebook. I never considered myself a "groupie" but I do consider myself a fan.  Once I came to that realization the decision was easy.  I will simply write about the music and why it appeals to me or doesn't.

The subjectivity of music, like most things that try to appeal to a large audience, is what makes it special.  I have been part of endless discussions and arguments about who the better guitar player is or which band is the best of all-time.  Every December I can find many a radio station somewhere doing a countdown of the top 100 songs of all-time, the decade, or the year...and  the list is different on each station--the beauty of subjectivity!

I do believe there are some bands and musicians that stand above others within their genre; leaders and trail blazers unafraid to be the first one to travel in that direction or not afraid to alter their course.  If not for those who took what they heard and re-invented it, expanded it, tweaked it, or in some way made it different, the world would never have moved from the Von Trapp Family Singers to Frank Zappa and made all the stops in between...and the train is still traveling.

What matters, at least to me, is what the music says.  Not the lyrics per se but the message.  What is conveyed to the listener may not be what was intended by the artist.  Some songs strike a chord for different reasons.  There are songs I hear that take me back to my childhood in a good way and others that do so in a not-so-good way...but I will probably dig deeper into that as I trudge through this exercise. 

Some music I enjoy just for its being makes me tap my foot and sing along in the car/office/shower, and gets stuck in my head for hours or days.  Songs that annoy me by being stuck in my head are another thing entirely and something I am certain everyone can relate to.

While I don't  try to suggest or imply that I have a never-ending knowledge of music and a library to match, I do believe I have enough experience on the planet and have listened to enough vinyl and CD shaped plastic to have a little insight...and hopefully it will be interesting to someone besides myself.  Otherwise these voices in my head will start laughing at me...

For my opening attempt at anything remotely close to a critique I chose "Epitaph" by King may have noticed by the masthead I am a fan. Every time I hear the song I pick up something different; a meaning in a verse, an ominous sound, an echo...something that makes me realize there is a lot there and more. 

Understanding it was written and recorded in 1969 is a bit eerie if one listens closely to the lyrics.  To me the song says people need to think for themselves and stop expecting others to do for them--because the others cannot be trusted to do it right.  Power is King and those who have it exploit it for the benefit of themselves.  Allowing others to tell us what think/say/do is a dangerous hobby for it robs us of our self-worth and our soul.  Walk your own path and think for yourself, make your own mistakes and learn from them (or don't), but keep possession of your mind, body, and soul.  Don't expect others to place your best interests ahead of theirs and then get pissed when you find out the "man behind the curtain" was playing you the whole time.  Politicians today are no better than the prophets of ancient times...they just have a lot more technology to help get their message out.

So there it is..."Blog Post #1" hanging on a wall in space for (hopefully) many to read and some to understand...agree or disagree but just have the sense to understand why.  Otherwise I fear tomorrow I'll be crying...

I chose this particular post from You Tube to share because I liked the video that accompanied the audio.  It doesn't necessarily match the lyrics, bit does beat staring at a still picture of the album cover for 8:48...enjoy!

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