Wednesday, July 4, 2007

On a downtown train

Like many people, music is a big part of my life. I minored in music studies at Indiana University, which is a world-renowned school. I didn't play an instrument, but I did gain a tremendous appreciation for music and had the opportunity to watch some phenomenal students perform.

Anyway, Tim and I are considering forming a cover band, mainly just to play at our own parties and develop our interpretations of songs. If we get some chicks out of it, so be it - I'll be honest, it's something we've discussed. He's planning to get some hand drums (he's a rather accomplished percussionist), and I'll play guitar and do some vocals. I can sing really well some days, and other days I sound like crap. I think a lot of it depends on what I eat, time of day, my mood, etc. Needless to say, I'm trying to recruit a talented young lady I know to join us.

While studying some great songs that might suit our abilities and desires, I came across this tremendous dichotomy that I think illustrates the difference between what I consider soul music (which is anything "real," ergo, it comes from the soul, and crap).

Here it is:

Real, soulful, beautiful because of its origin: Tom Waits' "Downtown Train"

Crap: Rod Stewart's "Downtown Train"

I don't mean to be negative. I don't know why I loathe Rod Stewart's music so much; he seems like a decent guy. But can you see the discrepancy here? Can you feel one person's angst in wanting to see this Brooklyn girl on a train under a yellow moon, the very moon that punches a hole in the night sky? She's beautiful in his eyes, although maybe not to the world. But that doesn't matter, because he feels he's found something special in her; screw what everybody else thinks. Conversely, can you feel the other person's - I don't know - desire to hook up with a groupie or the model/actress in the video after the shoot? Seems obvious to me. It seems obvious to me, Rod.

To me, music is beautiful because it comes from the guts. Anything else is just noise.

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