Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 | 10:33
Radiohead - TKOL RMX 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
while listening to the Four Tet remix of "Separator" i had a sudden realization, an afflatus, about my taste in music.
my wife has said repeatedly that i like repetition. she says this almost like it's a bad thing, or at least like it's not what she likes in music--hence her distaste for dance music. she likes lyrics. she needs lyrics to grab her. that's what makes songs interesting. i used to think of myself the same way, but i've realized that's not really true.
neither is it entirely true that i like repetition. well, i do, but that's not what draws me to music. i'm drawn to the emotion in music. i want to feel something from it. it doesn't have to make me happy or sad, it can make me angry, it can make me move, but music has to do something for me. it has to transport me somewhere.
so dance music, when it works for me, gets my body moving. gets me shaking my booty. but that doesn't mean i like all dance music. dancing is one thing, but if i'm going to listen to something i need more. i need an emotional connection. it can be from lyrics, though dance music doesn't usually provide that, or it can be from the music, which dance music often fails to provide also (a beat and some synths is not necessarily emotional music).
let's look at my core inspirations: The Beatles, R.E.M., Pink Floyd, Nine Inch Nails. i'm fully invested in other artists too, but those four hit me about the same time and laid the foundation for my musical appreciation (much earlier in life i was into "Weird Al", but his influence was only to sow the seed of musical interest--i didn't follow his sound elsewhere). what do we get from these: hooks, interesting lyrics, soulful guitar, and forceful banging. we can follow that guitar into Underworld, and, if we abstract that sound and the banging, into Autechre. taken together, those artists explain my musical taste.
but note, somewhere along the line, while listening to some rock band, i discovered something: music is repetetive. your basic rock band will have a riff or rhythm through the entire verse, then a different one for the chorus, and maybe change things up for a bridge, but eventually go back to the verse and chorus bits. your basic punk song thrives on a three chord progression that otherwise doesn't change much. with this in mind, dance music doesn't seem too far away. techno builds on house, which was built on disco, which pulled from the funk bits of rock and was designed to fill dancefloors, to get people moving.
which brings me to the title, Radiohead's TKOL RMX 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 collection. why don't i like this? Radiohead is one of my favorite bands, but i'm not drawn to The King Of Limbs or this remix collection. neither moves me. they have repetition and lyrics. what's not to like?
they lack music. they lack hooks and they lack soul. they're mechanical, skittering beats with other sounds woven into them. they're not consistent enough for dancing, and not emotional enough for feeling. they're like wallpaper with interesting bits jutting out here and there.
that doesn't mean i'm giving up on these releases. i'm sure if i hear them enough i'll find the rewards buried inside them, but neither release will ever transport me the way Pink Floyd, R.E.M., The Beatles, and Nine Inch Nails do. these are not dreams.