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On (Great) Music… June 3, 2009

Posted by Afflatus in History, Music.

Great music is a thing like nothing else. Great music is highly personalized. We could be best friends, but for whatever reasons, we might enjoy different music. As my father always says: “there is no disputing taste.” Wise words, Dad (Words which apply to more than just music).

O music! Innovative, creative, and consistently reliable, music is a timeless activity which (in some form or another) humans have experimented with since the dawn of the earliest civilizations. See a great article in a recent economist along these lines here.

From traditional drumming in Africa, to ancient civilizations in Japan, China, Peru, the Americas (etc.). Music has evolved. It’s been highly regionalized at times, and now (through technology) it is becoming more integrated as globalization and information-sharing become increasingly easier. User-based sharing of music became so rampant, so quickly (think Napster, Kazaa, Limewire) that new regulatory laws had to be put into place to protect the artists, to ensure innovation. On the subject of the best music policy, I think a healthy balance must be struck in order to protect artists’ earnings but still allow for quick, new, creative, innovation. This balance will allow music to progress continually into the future. And who knows what will happen once more and more healthy and creative people have access to a guitar, a piano (etc.), or to new instruments!

I get excited just thinking about the possible future of music! Because, seriously, what is better than your favorite song, your song which is perfect for that moment, for that context, that time and place? That first instant of recognition, when those beginning notes trigger some recognitory occurrence in the mind that only a neuroscientist can try to explain, is the sweetest and purest moment for some. These days, this view is so clearly captured in the often heard phrase, “OH, expletive/name/whatever, this is my song!!” And it is your song, its perfect for that contextual moment. It’s beautiful, enjoy!

I’m not musical. I cannot sing, rap, make a beat on anything. I can occasionally hold a tune or a melody (whatever that means). For my ignorance about music-making, and for other reasons, I greatly appreciate the music-makers. The creators, the innovators, who, despite declining sales these days because of thievery permitted by technology, continually produce beautiful sounds just because they love it! They love it, and I love it.

I was prompted to write this to spur sharing of good music. After what I’ve written above, sharing should be done legally. (Preview the song, if you like it, buy it for .99 cents on iTunes.) I know my friends who contribute to this site know of amazing songs that have yet to flow melodiously through my outer ear in the form of vibrations…towards the awaiting fluid filled labyrinth, which is my inner ear.

Sooo, anyone have any songs to share?

Briefly, here is some great music I’ve been listening to recently:

Fleetwood Mac – Go your own way
Dungeon Family and DJ Cool Breeze – Watch for the Hook
All of Goodie Mob and Cee Lo (it’s unfair to judge cee-lo based solely on Gnarls Barkley, though Gnarls is good too)
– But here are the names of some of my favorite songs by Goodie Mob and Cee Lo: Sometimes, Bass Head Jazz, Living Again, Childz Play, Die Trying, All Day Love Affair, Thought Process, Soul food, Fighting, Distant Wilderness. And I missed tons, but seriously these guys are good.
Soulsavers – Revival
Robert Randolph and the Family Band – I need more love, Good time.
Widespread Panic – Porch song
Grateful Dead – Sugar Magnolia
Little Brother – Good Clothes
And of course, my boy Paul Simon. esp his African-infused songs. Graceland’s his best album

I also have a buddy who is doing big things on his music blog, reviewing and posting new, great music. Check him out at http://alotabomb.blogspot.com

Anyways, thats like 10 too many songs, just my current playlist. I don’t download illegally so, most of them are old, you guys probably have heard most of them.

But I mainly did this to get some good songs from y’all. When you get a moment of time, post some of your favs!


1. jflack4prez - June 11, 2009

A friend of mine e-mailed me with a response to this post. He is studying at Berklee School of Music. His comments were very interesting and they follow:


News Feed tuned me in to your post about la musica. I enjoyed it, especially the part separating Cee-Lo from Gnarls Barkley. All Day Love Affair is definitely in my top three songs ever. So good.

It’s interesting to be at Berklee right now. I’m in a course called “Business of Music Production” and one of the first things he said was “by the time the summer is over, everything you learned in this class may be out of date.” People are freaking out about the “death of the industry.” But I disagree. It’s changing, sure, but (like you said) music has been around forever, and it will be around forever. We’re just trying to figure out a new, viable way (for us) to bring the creativity to the consumer.
One note on technology and the ability to download. Old fogies are quick to blame it for the demise of the CD, and subsequent not making as much money. But technology has so much to offer.
1) I can find any song, beat, chant, hymn, prayer, sound, etc on the internet. As creators, everything we hear informs what we do, whether it be on a drumset or behind a recording console. Everything I do is based on what I’ve heard. So me having access to everything means that I can be that much more broad. Not that I download regularly.
2) With a laptop and a few programs, I can create anywhere. I’ve recorded sounds in the airport, mixed songs on the plane, and layed down basslines right before I ran off to class. All for 3500 bucks, as opposed to the half million a recording studio would have cost 15 years ago, which is sick.

“That first instant of recognition, when those beginning notes trigger some recognitory occurrence in the mind that only a neuroscientist can try to explain, is the sweetest and purest moment for some.”
If you’d like to know why, there’s a really interesting book called “This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession.”


I was analyzing a jazz tune this morning for class. When I was done I checked out a Hi-Tek CD. The last song on it is this one:

Music for life, man. I love it. I love that it unites. I love that it’s universal. I love that you don’t have to be a musician to have it be an essential part of your life. “They love it, and I love it,” and that’s we do it.

Just some thoughts, and now some music I’m digging on.

Be well, j


AmpLive- Video Tapez, Weird Fishez
The Roots- What They Do, Dynamite!, Rising Down
John Mayer- the whole “Continuum” album.
Stephen Marley- Hey Baby
John Legend- Save Room, Stereo
Kanye- Two Words
All of “Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”
Tom Petty- Crawling Back to You
Chaka Kahn- Through the Fire

…among others.


2. incognito4peace - June 10, 2009

Great post my friend. I thoroughly enjoyed reading that so thank you.

Music is art to his ears.
Different for me and you.
Something he hears,
She thinks is blue.

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