Friday, February 20, 2009

What Came First, The Music or The Misery?

I love ‘High Fidelity’, it’s an amazing book in which the adaptation is one of few where the transformation between cultures and cities works and even though the book is a larger sense than the film as well as in a critics opinion as in its content, John Cusack characterization of the main figure Rob Gordon is really good and Jack Black with Todd Lousio totally makes the character generation perfect. But what High Fidelity deals with is one of the most interesting issues. The issue on the effects of popular music and how it controls us. In the film Rob asks the audience or himself (it’s an interpretation issue) about the differences in the question; ‘What came first, the music or the misery?’.

It’s a really interesting issue because if we take at our selves we have to admit that music is a ‘mood’ setter, it can make decisions for us a somewhat decide our emotional position. Take a break up for instant. We are dumped, in our saddest desperation we listen to deep music, with a sad mood in it. There is actually ‘Break Up Songs’ out there. Just take Ani DiFranco’s ‘You Had Time’ or Tom Petty’s ‘Free Fallin’ ’. After a while, we are still sad, it can be minutes, hours or maybe days. Is the music the factor that stirs our rebuilding process or is it just a time requiring process?

Rob keeps on saying ‘People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture violence will take them over. Nobody ever worries about their kids listening to thousands...of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss’. And this is of course true, or in many cases it is like this, our parents have listened to music themselves so a kid listening to Nazareth’s ‘Love Hurts’ is just a flash back from their time, they seem so much more concerned of the 'out-of-the-universe' gangster rap that was on just 10 years ago.

Our parents like us doesn’t really realize that in emotional means, music, sad music has an even greater effect on us than most art forms, because it sets tensions and it helps us get through terrible days just as it helps us in setbacks or in times of inspiration. It’s both motivating and ‘de’-motivating if you can call it that.

Rob close with the question ‘Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable ‘Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?’ The answer is through my personal study that it’s a little bit of both. We become miserable though music, if we want to be miserable. Also it decides our tensions and can help us be happy, just that we choose to put on a sad song in the case of misery and this proves the point that music is a powerful medium and that we all love it, just in different shapes and different portions.

To all of your readers, have a great 
Saturday Morning, Day and Evening.

Truth about 'Hold Time' by M. Ward

M. Ward is one of those indie singer/songwriters that’s not totally acoustic and plain, filled with emotions that make you which you never turned on the album. The happy, but yet mellow M. Ward has finally after three years released a new album. After his previous hit ‘Post-War’ which I must admit is a fantastic album, M. Ward brings his game on to his new ‘Hold Time’. The album is a nice and sunshine album that starts of with the bittersweet yet happy and earthy tone. He is one of few artists that has found what I once saw in The Shins but at a slower speed and a more sentimental path.

In ‘For Beginners’ M. Ward brings on the quick acoustic play with a happy surface that give you time for reflection and just like The Shins second track ‘Mine’s Not High Horse’ on ‘Chutes To Narrow’ he gives the album a perfect start. In this album he’s done a terrific collaboration with actress Zooey Deschanel (Almost Famous, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy) for an original soundtrack song ‘Rave On’ for the upcoming film ‘The Go-Getter’. The duet is absolutely one of the highlights of this ‘feel good’ album that never really reaches up to what ‘Post-War’ did.

I hate to compare stuff and this is a creative and beautiful record that sets tone for the upcoming spring. I’m not very well familiar with M. Ward so I can’t really compare and change opinions on his earlier work (except ‘Post-War’) and I could give you full biographical background but this is about ‘Hold Time’ as a record and I guess I fall in love with the music. It’s one of those albums that has continuous linear speed, it’s a great ‘mood’ setter for a sunny day and it’s surely a very good album. A Sunshine ‘Mood’-setter that has a little charm with it and I like it. It secures his future in my library.

Highlights; 'For Beginners', 'To Save Me', 'Jailbird' and 'Rave On'.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

'I Am Trying To Break Your Heart', An Important Music Documentary, Fairly Unrevealed and some what Forgotten

The Story about Wilco’s fourth album ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ (2002) has a well known history behind it. The Chicago, Illinois band faced tough times after their recording of the album in 2001 and was rejected to release it at their label, Warner Brothers because of the fact that it wasn’t good enough. The follow up to their successes ‘Silverteeth’ and ‘Being There’ was suppose to help the band reach the next step in establishing in the music industry.

In Sam Jones documentary we get to follow Wilco and lead singer Jeff Tweedy in the creating of ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ and their refusal by Warner Brothers. The documentary show how songs leaks out to the internet leading to larger popularity and a pick up buy the label ‘Nonesuch Records’. The album lead to a huge popularity and two years of touring. The grounds of the documentary that is rather unknown in circles that haven’t really picked up on Wilco.

What makes ‘I Am Trying To Break Your Heart’ a music documentary of important content is the fact that we see how the music industry works and what artists struggle for, especially in alternative genres. It shows the power of independence in the music industry but also how the corruption and deception lies beneath what we get ahold of. In a music industry of the 21st century we see fewer and fewer artists of capacity to stay in the industry longer than they are gone.

What the documentary of this kind shows is the power of a company, deciding what we should here and it exploits the industry as a business powerhouse that is untouchable in a psychological sense. The beauty of the story in content is that it gives hope for a future where the audience and fans turn this failure into a masterpiece that it really is. ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ is to many considered one of Wilco’s weaker albums and in a sense I can understand that.

On the other hand is the album a personal favorite and beyond my opinion we should all be aware of that as long as money is involved we have larger power than we think to effect the music we are exploited to on radio and on television. If young people gather towards music with purpose we might reach the content of what used to be considered as a kind of super power. That is what is the music our parents have brought on to us.

Exploring The Harmony of Regina Spektor

To me, Russan/American singer songwriter Regina Spektor was totally unknown, until a year ago. What I heard was amazing but in the beginning of 2008 I kind of forgot about Regina Spektor and it took me until yesterday (see. today) that I finally got on with it. Listening to her four albums, knowing a fifth is currently on its way I was set into numb position. Exploring Regina Spektor on a wider stadium is something all should do if you haven't heard her, or if you only heard a little bit.
What Spector does is that she takes a genre, makes it her own and experiments with it in a singer songwriter way I have never heard. With influences from Icelandic singer Bjork, Regina Spektor reminds more of a young Tori Amos or an excellent version of Swedish singer/songwriter Anna Ternheim with influences from a less and sometimes jazzier Norah Jones. I have found a special recognistion to this easy listening girl singer songwriter explosion or movement that has exploded to the world of music during the past years.

Regina Spektor might be the inventor of what I would like to call the alternative singer/songwriter with somewhat a touch of the first points of what punk tried to reach out with. With totally unexpected breaks and composing of her music she turns rules of music upside down in harmony. She is one those with the elderly voice that you can decide on what you think of, the original strength of her voice is certainly magical in every situation of a day and it expresses emotions and feelings on a high level. I can imagine a live concert, listening to the bittersweet love, growing up, life, argument inspired stories to a spinning discobowl in what I would call the singer/songwriter phenomenon of the 00's.

Some songs you ought to hear; Love Affair, Back of a Truck, Buildings, Flyin', 2.99C Blues (Eleven Eleven), Oedipus, Bon Idee, Lulliby (Songs), Ode To Divorce, Poor Little Rich Boy, U2, Somedays (Soviet Kitch), Fidelity, Samson, On The Radio, Field Below, 20 Years of Snow, That Time and Summer In The City (Begin to Hope).

Truth about 'Tonight: Franz Ferdinand' by Franz Ferdinand

When I start listening to Franz Ferdinandz's new album 'Tonight: Franz Ferdinand' I just get something in my head, a comparison. I want to compare the album compilation to Morrissey's 'Bona Drag' from 1990 but I take a listen to 'Bona Drag' and decide on changing that. 'Bona Drag' is way much better, in fact that one is brilliant and 'Tonight: Franz Ferdinand' is not. On the other hand I do like what I here. Franz Ferdinand is something of that New Wave/Alternative Pop Melodic with a rock clash to it that makes them one of those bands that is up there in front room or rather the underground front room. Rather than Morrissey I love to compare them to Max. Parks or Interpol and maybe some sides of Arctic Monkeys. This time the Scottish quartet has released another good album.

'Tonight: Franz Ferdinand' starts rater Joy Divisionish, pretty slow and maybe not what I expect. I hope for something like a top 20 of 2009 but what I get is the impression of slowing down the speedo rocket that finally going upwards. Of course track number three, 'No For Girls' is awesome, but that I already know so what I found when the album finally turns better is 'Twilight Omens' and 'Live Alone' and it was from these songs I got the Morrissey similarities, but this is mostly a melodic indie rock album that doesn't really come forth and that's why I become dissapointed. I can't say that it is bad it's just not 'Franz Ferdinand' (Their first Album released in 2004). It is a good album and Franz Ferdinand that finally has become a rather well-reputated band pulls of a good thing but I seriously believe that their better suited for a festival summer than in my iPod or in people's living rooms. It's well produced no talk about it.

When we reach the end of the album I get familiar with my favorite type of almost all genres, the little slower, calmer and beautiful songs 'Lucid Dreams' and 'Katharine Kiss Me'. Its good, to sum up this rather weird review I would like to say that this album is worth your attention, not just a recognition of brilliance. It feel like we have heard it before and sure its good, but first time melodic indie rock is always the best.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What we can expect from Music, Truth and Tunes in the Future

As you who read this have noticed this a fairly new blog that is directed toward music and my, Stefan Henriksson's personal opinions on music and basic news and reviews on what apply to me in the music universe. The genres I am going to focuse into is mostly alternative rock/indie/singer songwriter as much as alternative rock genres such as grunge and punk and also a briefly look on some soul, r&b, classic rock n'roll and good music that apply to me. I like to think of music a medium of art and expression rather than a buisness to make money even though well produced pop albums are being released once in a while, just keep in track and see what will be argued and written about here on 'MT&T'.

What is going to happen in the future on this blog is that I will try to post at least two new album releases every week under the section 'Truth'. I will post news from the music world at least once daily and present a new album under 'Album of Right Now' at least once every week. What I also will try to do to develop this blog is by adding a new element to the page called 'The Quadrophenia Q'. It's going to contain simple interviews with bands and artists who try to make it and that tries to reach out in the musical universe. At least one band will be presented each week as well as personal discussions on theories that music applies to the world such as the post 'The Power of Dylanism Today'.

I would love all the feedback I can get and I am curios trough my passion for music and the interest of a blog like this to see how much this blog can grow and hopefully apply to you all who read this. Welcome to the future of 'MT&T'.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Music of Cinematic Force and the Bet for a Golden Knight

As the week approaches its end we are getting closer and closer to the most glamorous film event of the year. This event also closes the 'Awards Run' and as golden Oscars are about to be handed out on The Oscars this upcoming Sunday (Feb 22nd). The nominations for Original Score in a motion picture this year is: 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button', 'Defiance', 'Milk', 'Slumdog Millionaire' and Pixar's 'Wall-E'. It's really only going to count between three as I see it. Alexander Desplat's score for 'The Curious Case...', A.R Rahman's work for Slumdog Millionaire and Thomas Newman's cooperation with Peter Gabriel in Pixar's magical Wall-E.

Some claim that the musical awards do not play any major roles and in some way people are right. But after have been magically caught by the three movies 'Wall-E', The 'Curious Case...min Button' and 'Slumdog Millionaire' I look past the lines of narrtive and storytelling and brilliant achievements by established and unestablished actors and actresses one of the most powerful controlling element that has created the atmosphere in these movies is the score composed by brilliant musicians. My bet for the Original Score Oscar is not yet decided but I'm going to present the three soundtracks that I believe is the one's we can count on in the category this Sunday.

The Soundtrack for Pixar's new creation 'Wall-E' is a very well composed narrative by one of the most respected composers in Hollywood. With movies like 'Finding Nemo', 'Road To Perdition', 'Shawshank Redemtion' and 'American Beauty', composer Thomas Newman receives his 10th Academy Award nominee. The 'spacy' and 'apple' based soundtrack has an atmosphere of coziness that is the recognition mark of Newman. He creates a spiritual walk of time and emotions and if I had a vote it would be on Newman's Wall-E. His score and close work with Peter Gabriel in the Original Song category, 'Down To Earth' is truly an emotional journey that sets the tone to this fantastic story.

In the other two tips we have one forgotten bet and the predicted winner. The forgotten bet is Alexander Desplat's work with the fantastic story of Benjamin Button and his love story with Daisy Fuller. The mysterious tone of the score upholds the curiosity of the unusual case of Benjamin Button. Mysterious nights in Mourmansk to a lovestory in the Louisiana delta is the journey that Desplat's score takes us on. It's probably a forgotten bet in the run for the golden knight but one of the most catching musical experiences in this year's nominee's. 

The winner is because the odd and newly, highly creative soundtrack by A.R Rahman for the predicted Best Motion Picture winner 'Slumdog Millionaire'. Rahman's score is entertaining and holds a tone of modernity. It works perfect to the intense editing and the strange narrative way of the plot. The story of Jamal Malik and his run for 20 million Rupees and search for his love of his life Latika is this years love story by all means and the 'Theme of Latika' is a brilliant and beautiful composition. As well as when it comes to the use of M.I.A's 'Paper Planes' during the journey of Jamal and his brother Salim across India. The final song 'Jai Ho' is nominated for 'Original Song' and will probably win that one as well in a soundtrack that will win the category in one of the most important elements of the tone that cathes us in the world of movies.

You never get what you wish for, but we will see, still all these three scores are inspirational sources that upholds the atmospheres in these fantastic movies and love stories of different shapes.