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Posts Tagged ‘Music

The anatomy of a song

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a.k.a. A confession about how I typically listen to music

The song below (Otherside, Red Hot Chili Peppers) is an excellent song. I must have listened to it quite a few times, quite often in a loop.

It might come as a bit of a shock then (well, at least a mild surprise) that I don’t really know the lyrics to the song. Sure, I know the ‘how long how loooong will I fly …’ or ‘… take it on the other side’ portions. But that’s more or less the extent of my lyrical eloquence. Besides, to be honest, I’m quite sure the song will be about one/more/all of the following –

Angst/ drugs/ Rock-n-Roll/ Chillin’ (or killin’) like a villain/ More dope/ Suicide/ Broken hearts/ Kinky stuff. Pretty much like most RHCP songs, I guess. So, drawing wisdom from the song where it says somewhere in the middle – ‘… Once you know you can never go back …’ – I’ll take my chances and stick with ignorance.

I will, however, claim to be quite well placed to identify pretty much every note, every drum change, every cymbal beat and probably every instrument used in the song. Try waking me up and going ‘aaaaaaaa … aaaaaaa … aaaaaa’ like the guys in the background do towards the end, and I’ll recognize the song. Unless I’m really pissed or if you’re an exceptionally bad singer – then, all bets are off.

The way the bass guitar is used to not just give the song some volume (of the mass x density or the nice-bouncy-hair type) but also to give it direction by making its presence felt without grabbing too much attention. I invariably like songs which do  justice to the bass guitar, in fact. Case and point – With or without You, U2.

Then there’s the way each stanza builds up to a crescendo, with more instruments and then the harmony/chorus all combining quite nicely. The way the opening notes keep persisting through the whole song. That’s what I end up humming every time – the opening notes (twang, twang twing twing …) or the wailing mentioned previously in the context of a challenge. This does end up irritating people in my vicinity (when I do the humming bit), but whatcha’ gonna do ’bout it? Every time the song ends, I resolve to pay attention to the lyrics the next time.

And it’s not just this song – every rock song that I like is a song whose lyrics I probably never know- I end up humming/ murmuring something which is at most phonetically similar to the actual lyrics (or at least in meter). Contrast this with Hindi film songs or any ‘Pop’ song, and I usually get the lyrics the first time. Unless it’s a Himes songs, ’cause then I don’t need to listen to the song at all – a glance at the song title gives away half the lyrics right away.

Is it because my grasp of the English language is poor? Maybe. Consistent poor performance in CAT Verbal Ability tests do point in that direction.

Is it because my grasp of the English rock language is poor? Quite likely.

Is it because Hindi film songs have less intricate music and/or better lyrics vis-a-vis English rock? Highly unlikely. At the risk of offending purists, though, I will say that the two are fairly on par.

Is it really that important? Moooo

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Written by sujaybedekar

March 30, 2010 at 3:47 am

If only I was Nine

with 2 comments

Some folks write poems on their blogs, which is all quite nice I agree

Some manage to make them rhyme, which is better to a certain degree

Some even convey a message, which gives them a different pedigree.

But some simply copy-paste other lyrics, which is just plain wrong. Tree. (the rhyme ended on the previous line, hence the full stop there)

It doesn’t matter how relevant the poem might seem – if you have had a few drinks inside of you, be it FLoyd/ U2/ Nirvana/ Denver/ Pearl Jam – they all will make like ‘Whoa! Total Sense!’. Or a poem like Square root of Three (lyrics here) from the movie Harold & Kumar Get Arrested and Smoke Dope – that is funny (in a too-geeky-way-to-admit) no matter what the situation.

On a different note, here’s a poem (Kipling’s, they tell me) I read at the Wimbledon Tennis Museum in London which just got stuck somewhere –

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Now, although the correlation between Tennis and this poem is kind of stretching things a bit, I totally think this poem is like awesome. It’s kind of like ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay but even better lyrics. And it rhymes too.

I could swear I had a point to this post though.

Written by sujaybedekar

October 18, 2008 at 3:39 am

Yaa maaaaaan

with 3 comments

A big nose can sometimes distract you from an otherwise pretty face and decent music. That’s what almost happens with Sara Bareilles in her (now old) light-and-simple single (or is it a multiple, i don’t remember). Especially notice how hard she bangs on the piano, but still manages to avoid it being painful.

 

This song and another totally random song called ‘Low’ by Flo-Rida ft. T-Pain are the two lasting memories of my recent visit to my american cousins. (I just loving saying out the name of this band in a ‘yaa maan’ Juh-maay-kan accent). The lyrics to the song are mind-boggling, and I say this without any sarcasm. srsly.

 

 

Also, I learnt that you don’t need to be a generation apart to feel a generation apart.

I feel old … oh so old … hip-hop music is known to do this sometimes 😦

 

Written by sujaybedekar

April 8, 2008 at 8:09 pm

Posted in arbit, Music, US

Tagged with

Pick up the phone, you crazy hip-hopper

with 3 comments

What would you expect from a gathering of around a dozen of the ‘brightest minds‘ of the country (Note: quote-unquote AND italics) when they gather in a dorm room of one of the best Indian MBA institutes? (Note: No quote-unquote-italics)? Do they think/ speculate/ ponder? Do they solve national, if not global problems? Do they contemplate the fate of Indian politics, or better still – contemplate the fate of Indian cricket?

Well, think again.

Your surprise is understandable if you see the aforementioned group (+ moa) sitting in Room 231 (i think) in Dorm 21 (i think) in IIM-Ahmedabad and watching with full concentration and in an infinite loop one of the most absurd songs to have ever surfaced in the Indian pop music industry in the past decade. Each one of these guys has a different facial expression – if one guy is grinning sheepishly (omg! i can’t believe i actually kinda like this), another one is gaping in amazement (this is so ridiculous, it is frikkin’ awesome), while another fella is just plain aghast, as he nostalgically thinks back to the time when people danced around in white shoes and tight pants around columns made of fancy pottery.

The song starts off with a petite dehati-types (villagerish) servant girl dressend in a french-maid outfit calling out to her master –

Naashta taiyyaar hai sir‘ (Breakfast is ready, sire. Come hither).

After that, the breakfast is entirely forgotten, and all the song focuses on is the ‘come hither’ part.

Watch and learn –

Don’t read further unless you’ve watched the song, else most of the hindi references might seem vaguer than they actually are.

It came as a real shock – kind of like the shock I got when I learnt that electrons don’t actually revolve around the nucleus in cute little ring-a-ring-o’-roses- when I came to know that this song was sung by one of India’s premier female playback singers Sunidhi Chauhan. I had to go through the five stages of dealing with grief (i know – i too thought there were just four stages, apparently there are five!). And then I had to go through a sixth stage of lingering astonishment (I think I’m still in it).

What could have possibly possessed Sunidhi to agree to being a part of this song at all?
> I like to believe that I know Sunidhi personally (hence the first-name usage) because she went to the same tenth standard tutions as a friend of mine; although it is true  that we never really met and also that she kind of left the tution classes within a couple of months of joining to go and sing. I unintentionally let it be known here that she hasn’t cleared Xth grade.

Anyhoo, because I know Sunidhi so personally, I simply cannot fathom what hold the the ‘Ishq Bector’ fellow had over her to force her into doing this.

Maybe she wanted to do something dumber than her elopement and subsequent ditching of her marriage (I told you, i know her very well :P).

Maybe she lost a bet, and the choice was either to do this or to ‘maanj bartan-shartan poochha- vochha in Mr. Bector’s house roz-barabaar‘ (clean utensils-shutensils and floor-vloor daily).

Maybe she had a crush on the Bector guy *shudder*, which made her hope that he would give a ‘zor ka dhakka’ to her ‘dil ki rickshaw‘, rather to her ‘louwe ki rickshaw‘ even if he asked her to ‘foot-foot-foot-foot‘ as he had given her her due bonus.
Maybe she had a bout of what is one of the most popular used defences in all american legal dramas – temporary insanity.

Or – and this is the possiblity where she redeems herself in my eyes, making me want to be associated with her and be famous again by induction – maybe it was all about the money. And the chance to sing ‘Issshhhhh … lo naaaa ……… phoooooone!’

Written by sujaybedekar

March 8, 2008 at 5:05 am

Posted in Entertainment, Music

Tagged with , , , , ,

Inspired … Copied … Same difference?!

with 3 comments

Growing up on a staple diet of Hindi films and their music, I’ve often seen/ heard people go ‘WTF? (…) song is so shamelessly copied from (…) by (…) group‘, or ‘How morally deprived the music composers must be, to go and lift a song note-to-note, word-to-word.’ We then go on to sigh nostalgically, ‘Rock in the 70s and 80s was truly special. Rock today is just plain stone.‘ Why point fingers at other people?- I have done that most of the times, cribbing about the lack of ingenuity/ originality/ shame in today’s generation. I guess people enjoy pointing out imitations because it boosts the ego tremendously (‘Ha! My knowledge base is huge. You can’t dupe me, nasty composer‘) or because they feel angry and hurt on getting duped (it’s a bit of egg-on-your-face if you actually end up liking the rip-off).

Take this song I am currently listening too – ‘Iris’ by ‘Goo Goo Dolls’. It’s heavily inspired by the song ‘Pianoman’ by’Stevie Wonder’ (if you don’t believe me, youtube the two songs successively). Ideally, I should revolt against this scandalous behaviour by the doll people and register my objection by not listening to the song at all. But strangely, I don’t do that. My anger has surprisingly been replaced by acceptance and even a hint of appreciation- so what if it is a copy? The result is not that bad, innit? Just to emphasize – I probably wouldn’t listen to Mr. Wonder over and over again, but I just listened to the Googoos thrice in a row.

I sense an insight here – maybe, perhaps maybe it is ok to make concessions once in a while; maybe we should get off our high horses and accept that copying/ getting inspired is not as bad a thing as it is painted to be. Maybe it’s better to recycle old, good stuff than have crappy stuff thrown at you under the label of ‘originality’. (I know this smacks of resignation and an unwillingness to protest – so be it).

Of course, it would be wonderful if the ‘copier’ acknowledges the source or the ‘copiee’. (unintentional connection: copiee … love storeee!) 😛

Written by sujaybedekar

January 28, 2008 at 12:11 pm

Posted in Music

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