Thursday, 12 March 2009 of?

Finding this today prompted debate. Nobody ever agrees on what should go into that kind of list in the first place, and in any case it was probably written by a group of people 10 years older than me. Which means I don't feel too bad about how few of those albums I've heard. I did agree with Ok Computer and, unsurprisingly, Graceland. Those are definitely in my top five all timers. I'm not sure what else would be - nothing that mainstream, I suspect, just things that mean something to me. I wouldn't want to put the rest of Radiohead up there. I suppose I also agree with Bridge Over Troubled Water, though I tend to listen to their work in compilation form nowadays because I find some of the less well known stuff much more poignant and that particular album is a little too wet for my taste - maybe it suits the American sentimentalism more than the British cynicism. It is GREAT work though. So that's three. Others would be classical I suspect. I have an Orlando Gibbons album that I would rate pretty highly. And probably some jazz would make it pretty somewhere near the top. Zoe Rahman? I like what she plays. But the requirement here is 'influential', and while I love listening to Rahman, she hasn't opened many new doors to me. Millenia Nova (there isn't even a Wikipedia page in English for those guys) or Massive Attack.

But what makes music great? I'm not sure about influential, and I can't answer for anyone apart from me. Who knows why a song or a style or an album fires a generation for a moment? For me, music must have tune, harmony and something distinctive. Words are pretty important - or at least voices are. Something in there about conveying emotion, or maybe I'm just too much of a singer. I need it to keep my ever-wandering attention. It needs to connect within itself, draw me along with it to the next stage. An element of patterning is important. The pattern can be monotonous - I have a weird but definite love of trip-hop/electronica that can only be explained by an enjoyment of patterns - but it must be interesting by itself, as well. I'm not interested in things that are just noise and not music. I suppose that's what describes music for everyone, except that everyone's definition of what the difference between those two concept is will be individual.

How do you say what makes something interesting? There is an enormous amount of power in music to connect to events, as I've thought about before (at some length, it appears from the number of posts that just found). If anyone can tell me why I find the trance kind of thing addictive, I'd love to know. Is it just about pattern and association? Is there something intrinsic in music that makes it more than it is?

Must go, finishing whiskey and then bed...

1 comment:

  1. Electronicy stuff like milennia nova is great because you don't need to listen, I'd say. It's intention is to wash over and it does so. In fact it's probably the only style of music I can think of that is quite so very effective in achieving what it sets out to, and so consistently - and because there are no particularly lofty goals involved, the failures aren't as faily.

    My 2c