Good or Bad Music

Head Banging Corner
Sorry, no loud guitar riffs or extended drum solos here as the title may have suggested.

This corner is dedicated to musings/questions about music.
Your inputs are highly appreciated.

(In response to a WS discussion re good and bad music)

Is there really such a thing as “good” or “bad” music?
I would rather think that there is an order of preference that is dynamic and keeps shifting in time.
On the uppermost echelon of preference is music we grew up with.
Because of the emotional and personal attachment involved, that is a given which no one can ever take  away from any of us.
My dad swooned over Bennet, I grooved to the beat of Bachman-Turner, while my daughter teeny-bops her way to Bieber.

But time has a way of playing around with these choices – shifting our preferences like disarrayed cards and finally shuffling them to a single deck again.
During those pill-popping days, no regular card carrying Zep Head would get caught with a Percy Faith album. I used to cringe when my dad played his 8-track ‘erpat music”.
But now . . . I can’t get enough of those Ray Coniff choruses.

Let’s fast forward a bit to the Disco era.
It was about  that time when I was introducing myself to jazz.
Starting with pop-flavored jazz of Mangione and Benson and slowly inching up to Baker and Miles.
Bebop ang trip ko nun at wala akong panahon para sa mga swing-swing nayan.
Of course coupled with the fact that I have two left feet, it wasn’t surprising that dance music wasn’t exactly my cup of tea.
But now, take a peek at my iPod, and you’ll find a smoldering of Alicia bridges, Evelyn Champaigne King, Poussez, Gary’s Gang all in a playlist proudly titled Disco.
That former pill-popping teen age kid is now a mug-hugging, pot-bellied middle ager trying to swing to “Dancing Queen”. . . still with two left feet though. :)

Shifting preferences?

Sometimes naman, a perceived “bad” song just lacks that certain ingredient. Para bang adobong walang suka.
I used to hate El Bimbo by the Bimbo Jet with a passion.
I stayed in the dorm for my freshman year at UP (don’t ask me why, that’s another story).
One of my dormmates was Noli Aurillo. He always had his guitar with him and I was his solitary audience.
He knew my dislike towards El Bimbo when one day, he called me over to listen to his new areglo.
Cool! It was a jumpy samba number that caught my hand tapping the seams of my frayed jeans.
It was only when the chorus kicked in that I recognized the tune to be . . . you guessed it right. . . Yup! El Bimbo ala Jobim.
So what do you think of Asereje or Macarena with an Acid jazz flavor? . . .Maybe. . .Who Knows?

Ok,  moving on to more recent times –
The first time I heard Rap music, I wanted to lock the genre and throw away the key.
But as Jim Morisson said,”Break on thru to the other side”. I can’t pinpoint when that occurred, but now, Black-eyed Peas, Dr. Felix, and Mickey 1 gets its fair share of selective play at home.
Which brings to another aspect of music – the lyrics.
I have always been enthralled with the poetry in lyrics of Michael Franks and Bernie Taupin and entertained by the humorous semantics of Rupert Holmes.
I was never a big fan of Tagalog lyrics – or should I say that I never really bothered to listen to it.
Then, in another of our late night sessions with rvc, he pointed out to me the beauty of the lyrics in Hadjii’s “Tag-ulan”.
So for the first time in 30 plus years of hearing, I finally really listened to the song.

“. . .Ngunit bakit
Sa tag-ulan ay naglaho?
Sin lamig ng gabi ang mga halik mo
Ni wala n’ang apoy titig mo sa akin
Naglaho na ang pagmamahal mo sinta.”

Pucha! Ang ganda pala ng lyrics. Ang ganda pala ng Tagalog!
Properly executed, it will present a picturesque and emotional facet of  song.
Since then, I had a new found appreciation and renewed respect for our national language.

In my younger years, I admit, I was an audio snob.
Elitistang rocker-cum-jazz aficionado kuno.
In reality pa-intellectual na baluktot pala! – because the real wisdom in music appreciation is to explore and experiment.
Do not shut doors to music just because they did not come from your generation. There is a vast sea of music out there just waiting to be discovered and appreciated –
Aluminum Group, The Crooners, Kavana, John Legend, Dan Mcenzie, etc…
I guess what I’m trying to say is that, as we listen with our ears, keep that musical door ajar in the event that our heart may fully open that door and invite those shifts enabling us to broaden our appreciation for music much more than we may ever realize.

Presently. I am being assaulted to irritation by my daughter’s fancy to Justin Beiber’s “baybeh, baybeh, baybeh”.
But in several years, when I will walk her down the aisle, replaying that song in my mind will definitely beg my hand to wipe that tear from my eye.

So is there really “bad” music?
Maybe not.
But if all of you disagree, I guess that I’m . . .

All by myself
Don’t wanna be
All by myself

All by myself
Don’t wanna live
All by myself
Anymore ;)


– Oct 2010


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