Saturday, February 25, 2012

My musical life. (and an album review)

People sometimes talk about how some song or band or type of music really "speaks to them," and they're inspired by it or something like that.  That's never really happened to me.  I mean, I've grown up with music in my life: 12 years of piano-playing, a lifetime of singing, experimenting with various other instruments (trombone, guitar, drums, etc.), and a newly acquired skill on the ukulele.

In high school, I was involved in all sorts of musical things.  I played piano for the jazz band, I accompanied the show choir on piano, I sang in chamber choir, and I was a part of the Tri-M music honors society.  Our show choir pit band (made up of myself and a few other people) won the Best Rhythm Section award two years in a row at the state show choir competition.  Music was my niche in those years.  Unfortunately, college made it tough to be quite so involved, but I kept it up.  I bought myself a keyboard last summer so I could play in my dorm room and not have to deal with the hassle of reserving a rehearsal room and having a limited time to play.
Jazz Band performing at Disney World
Us with our show choir trophy
(the other folks' identities will remain secret)

So, music is (always has been) HUGE for me, and I know a lot about it and I'm very attached to it.  I'm very attuned to music in general, and I really "feel it" when I'm listening to good music (or any music, really).  My mom often says that I should pursue some sort of career in music.  I agree with her, but I want to find something that can include my passion for music and my love of film, perhaps something in audio editing/mixing or soundtrack compilation.

For those of you who listen to the radio, you may have heard a song called "We Are Young," a band called Fun..  I put two periods there on purpose.  Fun. (with a period) is the name of the band, which I think is cool.

Anyway, when I first heard "We Are Young" on the radio, I thought it was some song from the 70s or 80s because it's got this really cool, somewhat electronic, pounding style that made me think of that time period.  I looked it up and realized that the album the song is from, "Some Nights," actually came out 4 days ago-- so definitely not 80s.  But it prompted me to look up the whole album, which, after previewing it on iTunes, I bought-- something I don't normally do.  But since then, I've been listening to it nonstop.

But my point is that, until the other day, I've never really been "spoken to" by music, just strongly aware of and into it.  But this album profoundly touched me.  I didn't do a whole lot of research on the band or the album before listening to it, and I'm glad I didn't, because it left me open to any sort of interpretation.  I first listened to it in order, because there's almost always a reason songs are arranged the way they are on an album.  I usually have to work to find the correlation between the songs, but while listening to the full album for the first time, I felt it.  I didn't even need to listen to the lyrics to feel a pattern (although the lyrics are equally as fantastic as the music).  I felt like Fun. had played my life.  As cliché as that sounds, it's true.  The whole album felt like the story of someone's entire life, and it fit with how I feel about my life right now and in general.  Every song said something different about some sort of internal or external turmoil, excitement, etc.

After looking into it a little bit more, I found out that the band actually did write the album with the idea of a changeable personality in mind, so I definitely felt that right away.  I think this was huge in the way the album "spoke to me," because, as I discussed in my astrology post, I have numerous, distinct personalities, and I turn on one or other depending on where I am and who I'm with.

But besides the meaning of the songs, the musical style of the album was incredible.  It was like a mixture of indie, alternative, theatre, pop, electronica, and rock.  It started with a strange, circus-like number that was very showy and included a bunch of strange sound effects called "Some Nights (intro)."  This song title definitely made sense because it sounded like the opening number to a Broadway show.  There was one song, "Stars," where they made a very interesting, deliberate choice to autotune the singers' voices.  I know it was deliberate because 1) none of the other songs were that obviously autotuned and 2) I've seen videos of the band live and the singer does NOT need autotune.  He's got a wonderful, pure, but wailing voice that pulls at your heartstrings when you hear it.  It strangely reminds me a little bit of Freddie Mercury's voice.  But in "Stars," I thought it was cool how autotuned everything was, because it was very clearly a stylistic choice.

So, needless to say, I've found a new favorite band.  Fun. spoke to me, in all seriousness, and it makes me want even more to pursue music.  I'm glad that I've just started another internship with a music producer, because it's keeping me in touch with music while I'm here (especially since I don't have a piano I can play- just my ukulele, which is great, but not the same as piano).

Here's a video for "We Are Young," which turned me on to the album.  I would suggest just listening to the song and not looking at the video, so you can fully appreciate the music.

If I haven't convinced you, here are some critics' reviews of the album.

In any case, I'm in shock and awe at where this album brings me.  I'm absolutely inspired.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I'm convinced. I just listened to that song, and I have a lump in my throat and a twisting of something like anxiety and excitement in my middle.