If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?
Fact is, no one really knows.
What if, upon the trunk of that fallen eucalyptus a cicada strums out its merry tune and still there is no one – is there still music?
Of course there is. There will always be music. Music is among the most enduring of all art-forms. For as long as there has been wind to blow through trees, rain to fall into puddles or sunlight to ripen the pods of broom bushes, there has been music.
Admittedly, melody usually requires an intelligent mind but music, in its most natural form, is simply the continuation of sound.
Let’s be fair. The ‘continuation of sound’ can be monotonous. It can be tedious and it can be downright dreary. People are blessed with musical preferences, the innate ability to distinguish good sounds from bad, so the screech of an angle grinder on steel is never confused for a mellifluous lullaby on bedtime. Both continuations of sound, both not aurally pleasant.
Musical taste is why some people believe that contemporary pop music is the greatest sound ever made while others believe the same of hip-hop or House music… These people are generally idiots.
Some will claim they are not bothered either way and that they enjoy all kinds of music. These people piss me off even more than the general idiots. They have no passion for music, thus no ability to discern quality from crap. Instead of listening to and absorbing a fine tune, seemingly they hear a cluster of nondescript chords, allow it to collide with their exterior then fall, unused and unappreciated, to the floor.
Personally, rock is the only style of music worth appreciation. In my opinion, this is fact. In my opinion, every other person in the world should share this opinion.
I do realise this is a ridiculous notion. It is as stupid as it sounds. That said, I am not alone in my thinking.
Every music aficionado who has ever lived will have claimed at one time or another, that their preferred genre is superior.
This is the polarising nature of music.
In my opinion, music attained perfection somewhere throughout the ‘90s, with the likes of Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains…
Come on. I am 30 years old. The generation above me will probably rate the ‘70s or ‘80s as the era of perfection; the generation above that, the ‘50s or similar.
The point to be drawn from this: music is subjective and constantly evolving.
In 1937, Bing Crosby was a musical god.
In ’48 it was Nat King Cole.
Then in 1949 Gene Autry produced the track, ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ – the second biggest selling Christmas hit of all time; outdone only by Bing Crosby’s 1942 track, ‘White Christmas.’ While that record still stands, in the minds of most, to hear either of those songs today, would surely be tantamount to being bludgeoned with a satchel full of soiled diapers.
I’m sure some folk still relish those vomit-inducing jingles; this is merely an example of the way musical tastes have changed with time.
Christmas tunes aside, it’s not difficult to see a motif around 20th century evolution of music: beginning with Bill Haley’s 1955 classic, ‘Rock Around the Clock’, then the commencement of Elvis’ groundbreaking career in ’56, these artists paved the way for the likes of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and Jerry Lee Lewis. The early ‘60s were punctuated with big, recognisable names such as Motown, Chubby Checker, Bob Dylan, The Beatles; with James Brown making his appearance in ’65. The following years were to be commanded by The Rolling of Stones, The opening of Doors and the closing of Jimi Hendrix. The ‘70s brought such epic groups as Kiss, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath… Say no more.
Evidently. Rock, or at least rock’s effeminate brother, pop rock, has always been among the leading styles of music. This, presumably, is why pop-loving piss-ants like to talk about their favourite new-age pop track, ‘rocking so hard’.
Fact. Pop tracks don’t rock. Pop tracks blow. Get your own bloody word.
Anyway. Michael Jackson appeared in the ‘80s bringing some revolutionising tunes – as did Queen. The main difference here is that the name of one of Michael Jackson’s songs was not the inspiration for the stage name of a 21st century pop princess.
Skip forward a number of decades: Lady Gaga. Arguably the world’s biggest existing female pop figure… She sounds like a wonderful person.
Music will continually change, musical tastes will continue to adapt; boy-bands will become younger, hairstyles will become more labour-intensive; pants will become tighter, vocals will become more electronically enhanced; girl-groups will increasingly show more skin, their music will become increasingly contrived; band members might become sell-outs but I will never shift my musical allegiance.
Times are changing. Music is changing with it. I am not so ignorant that I am closed off to the idea of new music in my life – just so long as it’s rock music.
Article by Mit Reklaw
Edited by Cadence B Sharpe
Photography by Pearl Jammer