Unsung Music & The Core of the Song
Meaning like, music that isn’t hyped very much. The title just sounded cool. But all these songs, though their style may be fairly polarizing, have fantastic core melodies and harmonic structures. And in my not very humble opinion (hey, it’s my blog… ), that is the key to good music. Melody, not style. The style can come and go, be it as original or as mundane as you like; but the melody is what makes music, music.
I think sometimes we get too caught up in being original. And that’s not a bad thing in and of itself; the ebb and flow of music over time needs originality. However, it’s not very difficult to be original. Anyone can do something that’s never been done before. What’s difficult is to do something that’s never been done before that still sounds good. That still reaches people. And I believe the way to do that is with core melody and core harmonic structure. If you can do it in an original style, then awesome. But never let the style or the desire to be original take away from the sheer, simple, and pure music that you’re making.
So first off, probably the most un-hyped band ever to appear here. At the time I’m posting this video, it has 14 views. But I wouldn’t be surprised if you hear this voice in films within the next couple years. I give you, Bad Braids:
Now, from the under-hyped indie to the over-hyped indie. So, why is over-hyped indie being included in a post about under-hyped music? Because this band lets its marketing take on a life of its own. You wake up one day, and they have a new album. Or they have a new album, and you can take it directly from them for free if you like. The hype comes from fans and buzz. Yep, Radiohead. Now to be fair, even though they give off the air of not caring about hype, they may just be geniuses at it, and realize that the most powerful hype comes when you can make it appear as if you don’t care about it. But either way, it’s a far cry from what my beloved U2 did a few years ago when I wasn’t sure if they had actually changed their name to Blackberry.
I actually refused to like Radiohead for a few years, because to this day, when asking musicians what bands they listen to, you’ll still get people saying, ‘Oh you know, Coldplay, Killers, Editors…and this really underground band, I’m not sure if you’ve heard of them…Radiohead?’ And I just want to choke myself with my guitar pick when I hear that. ‘Yes, I’ve heard of Radiohead. You understand that ‘Creep’ came out in 1992? That this video right here has 10 million views in 4 months? You understand that, right?!’ But instead, I just smile and nod, and listen to the inevitable following of the reciting of the history of ‘OK Computer.’ But eventually, I couldn’t resist their amazing music anymore, even as..uh…’awesome’…as their music-geek fans are. And whether it’s calculated or not, it’s a breath of fresh air how they choose to do their marketing. I’ll take the grass roots/internet buzz marketing any day.
So here’s the video. And the style, once again, is polarizing. You may hate it. And you also may hate the video itself. I can’t understand if Thom Yorke is making fun of himself, trying too hard, or doing some retro-disillusioned-vaudeville thing. However, the melody of the song and the way it interweaves with the chords, is absolutely captivating:
The youtube version doesn’t allow you to embed this video. Hmm…not as grass roots marketing as I’d like. But here’s what may be the genius thing of that video and song. Even if you hated it or weren’t sure what to think, was it the first music video online that you’ve watched all the way through in a while?
Next is a very lovely version of the coolest and moodiest Beatles song ever. My little sister told me about these guys. (Now that I’ve reached the not-college-age-demographic-by-any-stretch-of-the-imagination age of post-26, I try to stay up with what the college folk are listening to. My little sis is 20.) This may admittedly be a little too hiptastic for some of you, but the notes they choose for the harmonies are just lovely:
Kronos Quartet. Heat, Requiem for a Dream…you’ve heard them without knowing it. Amazing:
And then from almost unknown to once again, too known. But I’m not showing this for Carrie Underwood. She did do a very good job with this song, and has a fantastic voice. But what I want you to notice is Vince Gill. Probably one of the greatest musicians today that nobody except guitarists know about. I mean, this is the first performance I’ve ever seen of him when he’s not wearing yellow old man shorts. So, check out the vocal harmony notes he chooses. And then, if that’s not enough, he plays basically the solo that I’m always trying to play in every song. The tastefulness is almost overwhelming:
And much thanks to those of you who turned my attention to the above video. My life was never the same after watching Mr. Vince Gill’s solo. I did want to throw my guitar out a window for a few days every time I played it, but eventually, that solo and I came to an understanding. The understanding being that I am not Vince Gill.
Lastly, this guy basically pioneered ambient and electronica music. Yet very few people actually know his name. And the musical style is fairly polarizing. Very ’80′s, very literal. But I have never found anyone who can create moods like this guy. Mr. Vangelis, with ‘Memories of Green’, the coolest title for a song ever:
Wildly different styles, but amazing music nonetheless. Be original if you like, but if you can’t keep the core melody, then drop the originality and just write the song. And please go check out some of these very deserving and lesser known artists.
And most importantly, please, please, please always remember that the person you are talking to more than likely already knows who Radiohead is and wants to punch you in the face when you refer to them as the local indie art house band you just discovered because of your impeccable non-mainstream taste in music.
“Music is melody.” –Bach