Chris Burris recently conducted an email interview with me for a profile in the NASIG Newsletter. One of his questions was, “What’s currently on your playlist?” I listed a bunch of albums, and I thought it might be useful to create a short Spotify playlist of a favorite track from each.
I need to let myself really listen to the music I consume, rather than (to further the metaphor) mindlessly move my hand from bowl to mouth.
Last night, I went to see Missy Higgins at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA. It’s probably the smallest venue she’ll be playing at in this area, given the sold out show and the number of folks trying to get tickets that day. We ended up with seats that had a good view of the whole stage. It was a blast!
About a month ago, I had given my friend, Holly, a copy of both The Sound of White and On a Clear Night, which apparently have not left her CD player since. For Holly, it was a strange experience to be at a concert for a (relatively) unknown artist and know every single song. For me, it was a wake-up call that I have been consuming too much music and not spending enough time on any one album to get to know it as well as I used to.
Even though I’ve been a fan of Higgins for about two years, I knew maybe a third to a half of the songs she played — the rest were vaguely familiar, but not old friends like they should have been by now. What kind of a fan am I? One with too much music and not enough time to listen to it all. A blessing, but also a curse.
When I was younger, I would listen to a single album on cassette tape for hours and hours. The best piece of electronic equipment in our house (in my opinion) was the stereo that had the cassette player that could reverse directions to play the other side without having to flip the cassette around. Now that I can afford to buy or cheaply trade for new music, my focus has shifted from completely absorbing an album because I wasn’t likely to get another for at least six months to amassing as many new albums as I can as quickly as I can.
I need to slow down. I need to let myself really listen to the music I consume, rather than (to further the metaphor) mindlessly move my hand from bowl to mouth. Pay attention to the lyrics, to the layers of sound, to the complexities of the composition. One brief run through the tracks while I am doing something else isn’t going to cut it.
Been reviewing some more music lately. Here are three very different albums.
Been reviewing some more music lately. Here are three very different albums:
One might wonder how a twelve year old would have enough life experience to write songs that would appeal to the masses. Lead vocals and guitar are performed by Sophie, who happens to also be the band’s core songwriter. She touches on topics that range from junior high relationships (“5 Minute Boyfriend”) to the burden of depression (“Shadow Girl”) with as much lyrical skill as most anyone at least twice her age would do.
The production on On A Clear Night is subtle and highlights Higgins’ voice without making it too obvious that it has done so. It’s a characteristic that is common for lyrically-focused music, and in the flood of flashy unsubstantial pop tunes that seems to never stop, it’s refreshing to have something that grabs the listener and demands that attention be paid to the message. Clearly I am not the only music fan that feels this way, since Higgins’ fall tour in the US sold out quickly.
The first thing that stands out, aside from Munoz's clear vocals, is the constant, driving, wall of sound pouring out from the instrumentation. Throughout nearly every song, the drums, bass, and guitar never seem to stop, constantly pouring out beats and sound. It's varied enough to stay interesting, but after a while it becomes exhausting. The ears hardly have a moment's rest, aside from the short breaks as the CD (or MP3) player moves from one track to the next, although thankfully the intensity lessens in the last few tracks.