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The Great HTF Music Challenge (2 Viewers)

BobO'Link

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Kylie Minogue, "Step Back In Time" - Doesn't do much for me. I hear mostly standard late 70s/early 80s Disco-Pop-Dance that isn't all that different from everything else from that era/genre.

Kylie Minogue, "Loco-motion" - OK... it's "The Loco-motion," a song I really like. While it's an interesting version I'd rather listen to the original from Little Eva or the later remake from Grand Funk (aka Grand Funk Railroad).

Little Eva - "Loco-motion":



Grand Funk - "Loco-motion":
 

BobO'Link

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One of her biggest worldwide hits, to be sure, and introduced her to the world. But I find I enjoy some of her songs from the later PWL years more than the early stuff.

"What Do I Have To Do" (UK #6, 1991)


.
"Finer Feelings" (UK #11, 1992)


.
And she's still going and going, like the Energizer bunny. :) Her latest just-released single (from her 15th studio album), a duet with Olly Alexander/Years & Years, "A Second To Midnight":


Sorry, don't care for any of these. She looks good... but has a rather generic sound for that era. I don't care for her voice or the style.
 

jcroy

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Well, this just illustrates the problem with labels. What I think of as Jazz is usually slow, even-paced instrumentals with little to no dynamic range or transitions. Big Band, on the other hand is all about dynamic range, transitions and style. What I've come to learn is when you throw out the labels you learn what you really like and you'll probably be surprised by what you discover. That's why I originally referred to this thread as a challenge.

In practice, the types of folks I've known who are hardcore into labeling/categorizing music genres + subgenres, were almost always the extreme nerdy/geeky types who want to "write the bible" about a particular musical niche (whether figuratively or literally).

This style of obsessive categorization seems to be very visible in niches like punk rock, heavy metal, classical, etc ....
 

JohnRice

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Well, this just illustrates the problem with labels. What I think of as Jazz is usually slow, even-paced instrumentals with little to no dynamic range or transitions. Big Band, on the other hand is all about dynamic range, transitions and style. What I've come to learn is when you throw out the labels you learn what you really like and you'll probably be surprised by what you discover. That's why I originally referred to this thread as a challenge.

In practice, the types of folks I've known who are hardcore into labeling/categorizing music genres + subgenres, were almost always the extreme nerdy/geeky types who want to "write the bible" about a particular musical niche (whether figuratively or literally).

This style of obsessive categorization seems to be very visible in niches like punk rock, heavy metal, classical, etc ....
I definitely use labels for descriptive purposes. The problem is that so many people use them to lock musicians into cages. That's not what I'm doing. I'll describe a certain piece of music, not necessarily that musician, composer or group in totality.

For instance, I've often been treated like an idiot when I say that a lot of music from Fleetwood Mac and especially The Rolling Stones is essentially Country. People think I've lost my mind.

Oh... REALLY?

Fleetwood Mac - Monday Morning




Rolling Stones - Dead Flowers




So, what was Gershwin? He was a LOT of things. Stage musical, Jazz, Classical. Sometimes he was multiple things at the same time.

Gershwin - An American in Paris



Without double checking, as I recall, Rhapsody in Blue was first performed by The Paul Whiteman Orchestra, a large Jazz band, and arranged by his arranger Ferde Grofé.


Descriptive words can be useful. They don't have to be limiting, even if too many people use them that way.
 

BobO'Link

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John wants some "faster" and "more dynamic" Jazz...

Earlier I posted Maynard Ferguson's cover of "Birdland." Here's the original (as well as my favorite recording of the tune)...

Weather Report - "Birdland":



And a more uptempo number from
John Coltrane - "Giant Steps"
 

BobO'Link

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I definitely use labels for descriptive purposes. The problem is that so many people use them to lock musicians into cages. That's not what I'm doing. I'll describe a certain piece of music, not necessarily that musician, composer or group in totality.

For instance, I've often been treated like an idiot when I say that a lot of music from Fleetwood Mac and especially The Rolling Stones is essentially Country. People think I've lost my mind.

Oh... REALLY?

Fleetwood Mac - Monday Morning




Rolling Stones - Dead Flowers



So, what was Gershwin? He was a LOT of things. Stage musical, Jazz, Classical. Sometimes he was multiple things at the same time.

Gershwin - An American in Paris



Without double checking, as I recall, Rhapsody in Blue was first performed by The Paul Whiteman Orchestra, a large Jazz band, and arranged by his arranger Ferde Grofé.


Descriptive words can be useful. They don't have to be limiting, even if too many people use them that way.
Yep - both Fleetwood Mac and The Rolling Stones released some true country music - lots of "rock" bands have, likely the majority. Several "Rock" bands are really "Country Rock" though many rock "purists" would argue the point as they don't like "country" at all. I used to give a coworker a hard time about The Eagles, his favorite rock band, by telling him "They were just another middlin' Country band with some Top 40 Pop hits until Joe Walsh joined them and taught them how to rock." Got him every time... Of course, it's true, so... :) (and I do like much of their work)

Here's one that's more true to the country sound from Fleetwood Mac, "That's Alright":



And one from The Rolling Stones - "Sister Morphine":



But can't forget the hit classic "Wild Horses":



Gershwin was just a great composer, crossing into many genres. True "Americana" type stuff.

George Gershwin - "I've Got Rhythm":



Billie Holiday singing Gershwin's "Summertime":
 

jcroy

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Yep - both Fleetwood Mac and The Rolling Stones released some true country music - lots of "rock" bands have, likely the majority. Several "Rock" bands are really "Country Rock" though many rock "purists" would argue the point as they don't like "country" at all. I used to give a coworker a hard time about The Eagles, his favorite rock band, by telling him "They were just another middlin' Country band with some Top 40 Pop hits until Joe Walsh joined them and taught them how to rock." Got him every time... Of course, it's true, so... :) (and I do like much of their work)

On the other side of the coin, a lot of "country music" over the past 20-25 years sounds a lot like generic rock music. The first time I noticed this, was stuff like Shania Twain and Faith Hill being played all the time on non-country video channels (on basic cable tv lineups) in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s. At the time, I didn't even know Twain and Hill were actually "country" music.



Faith Hill - Breathe




Shania Twain - Don't Impress Me Much





These two videos were overplayed on channels like VH1 back around y2k.
 

BobO'Link

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On the other side of the coin, a lot of "country music" over the past 20-25 years sounds a lot like generic rock music. The first time I noticed this, was stuff like Shania Twain and Faith Hill being played all the time on non-country video channels (on basic cable tv lineups) in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s. At the time, I didn't even know Twain and Hill were actually "country" music.



Faith Hill - Breathe




Shania Twain - Don't Impress Me Much





These two videos were overplayed on channels like VH1 back around y2k.

Since the 80s I've told people "If I want to hear 60s/70s Pop I'll listen to the real thing from that era, not modern country which is mostly mirroring the pop from those eras." There are exceptions but they are few and far between and I can't think of any off the top of my head. Almost 100%, every "country" song I've heard that was recorded in the past ~30 years sounds more like pop than country, getting what little "country" sound it has *solely* from the instruments used (violin, mandolin, banjo, pedal steel). In all fairness, you can say the same about some "rock" tracks with the sound mostly due to instrumentation.
 

jcroy

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Almost 100%, every "country" song I've heard that was recorded in the past ~30 years sounds more like pop than country, getting what little "country" sound it has *solely* from the instruments used (violin, mandolin, banjo, pedal steel).

In some cases, also the drawl in the vocalist's accent while singing. Independent of whether the drawl is native or faked.


In all fairness, you can say the same about some "rock" tracks with the sound mostly due to instrumentation.

In the case of Shania Twain, her albums from that time circa late 1990s were produced by Robert Mutt Lange who previously produced bands/albums like:

Def Leppard - Pyromania, Hysteria
AC DC - Highway To Hell, Back In Black, For Those About To Rock
Nickeback - Dark Horse
 

BobO'Link

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Here are a few more "country" songs from "rock" artists:

Little Feat - "Rock and Roll Doctor":



Led Zeppelin - "Hot Dog":



Metallica - "Mama Said":



Neil Young - "Star of Bethlehem":
 

jcroy

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It's definitely true that what's called Country for the last 20-30 years is basically vocal Pop with an occasional "Pickup Truck" song thrown in.

As a prominent example of this, Garth Brooks was a huge KISS fan when he was younger. He even did a cover of KISS' "hard Luck Woman" back in the mid 1990s.



March 2020 q&a with Garth.





On the Jay Leno show in 1994, playing with KISS (without makeup).

 

jcroy

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I definitely use labels for descriptive purposes. The problem is that so many people use them to lock musicians into cages. That's not what I'm doing. I'll describe a certain piece of music, not necessarily that musician, composer or group in totality.

For instance, I've often been treated like an idiot when I say that a lot of music from Fleetwood Mac and especially The Rolling Stones is essentially Country. People think I've lost my mind.

Oh... REALLY?

....

Descriptive words can be useful. They don't have to be limiting, even if too many people use them that way.

(On an offtopic tangent).

The biggest reason why I ever paid any attention to musical categorizations back in the day, was largely to cut down on too much "impluse buying" of vinyl records and cds. Especially after I became self-aware of my own ocd compulsive buying patterns (such as comic books, etc ....).

Following rigidly defined catgories was the easiest way to severely squelch my "ocd" buying habits, where I largely avoided jumping onto a particular treadmill (ie. musical category) altogether in the first place.

Fast forward to the present day, this is not an issue anymore when I can just listen to music on youtube or a streaming service.
 

JohnRice

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I know I need to comment on some more of the tunes that have been posted.

First, in case I seem a little inflexible in the music I listen to, there is some current "Pop" music I really enjoy. In particular Billie Eilish. She definitely defies genre, which is one of the things I like about her. Plus, her music gives the subs a massive workout. I mean, a hard core, hold on for your life workout. My old sub couldn't handle it.

So, here's three examples from her recent "Concert Experience" (aka: not really a concert, no audience, at the Hollywood Bowl) that's actually a very well done, extended live video with Maestro Gustavo Dudamel and the L.A. Philharmonic contributing on a few songs.

Billie Eilish - Oxytocin: This is just flat out techno.




Billie Eilish - Billie Bossa Nova: The title pretty much describes it




Billie Eilish - Happier Than Ever: I'm not aware of many songs that change as radically as this one does half way through. BTW, Disney definitely muted several of the lyrics on their streaming service, no surprise.

 

John Dirk

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Well... go to sleep and things kind of explode...

The Jonzun Crew, "Space Is The Place" - It's interesting but feels like it's not complete. For me it's like a lot of the stuff from Kraftwerk where the same thing is treated like the Energizer Bunny - it keeps on going, but has little change to make things more interesting. Even with the "deconstruction" segment nothing really changes other than the removal and adding back of instruments.
I didn't expect anyone to like this so I posted the first version I found. Here's an arguably better one but, sadly, nothing I've found online compares to my vinyl copy. What I love about this track is all of the interesting and subtle layers of sound and how panning is used to create spatial effects. You have to be into this sort of thing to enjoy it I suppose and you need to crank it up too.

 

John Dirk

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A huge techno hit in 1974... I kind of liked the single and purchased the album to discover the album version is quite different. I mostly like it but it only gets a listen every 10-15 years or so and I absolutely have to be in the right frame of mind.

Kraftwerk - "Autobahn":



For the less adventurous, the single edit:

Yea, we covered Kraftwerk back in March. One of my favorite Electronic groups and an absolute staple of my record crates back in my DJ days.
 

jcroy

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In all fairness, you can say the same about some "rock" tracks with the sound mostly due to instrumentation.

(Thinking about this more).

In a genre like heavy metal, it seems like a lot of the "lighter" stuff sounds like generic pop music with the guitars really cranked up and sounding really distorted + layered in the studio, along with the overall low end bass cranked up very unnaturally. For example, stuff like Def Leppard, Whitesnake, and especially "power ballads" type songs.



Whitesnake - Bad Boys





Def Leppard - Billys Got A Gun





For some "heavier" stuff, this style of production just makes everything sound like a "muddy" slickness. For example, a lot of metallica records sound like that. An annoying "heaviness" which seems excessive at times.
 

jcroy

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Neverthless, the few times I ever heard any "heavier" stuff which didn't sound like a crappy "muddy slickness", was actually some live concerts. Whether metal, punk rock, grunge, etc .... or even country ....

A well rehearsed metal band playing live in a small concert hall (ie. not a stadium) or nightclub.
 

JohnRice

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I didn't expect anyone to like this so I posted the first version I found. Here's an arguably better one but, sadly, nothing I've found online compares to my vinyl copy. What I love about this track is all of the interesting and subtle layers of sound and how panning is used to create spatial effects. You have to be into this sort of thing to enjoy it I suppose and you need to crank it up too.


Jonzen Crew - Space Is The Place

I completely understand why you like this, since you were a DJ. I never went to clubs, and I just never developed an interest in this type of music. To me, it's always been a dance beat first with sounds to make it interesting and give it some variety. I just don't have the gene that makes it interesting to me. At the same time, like I've already said, I like Prog stuff that is so slow developing and abstract that it positively puts most people to sleep. In my case, it's soothing.

I've mentioned anxiety before, and for most of my life it truly has often been destructive. So I think the type of stimulation the ones who enjoy this music get from it is something I really don't need or enjoy. I don't like roller coasters either and there is actual research that the people who do tend to have underactive neurological systems, so they are thrill seekers in order to compensate. Those who have overactive neurological systems can't stand those thrill seeking things, because they're already on neurological overload. That would be me.

Was this thread about music?
 

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