Now, if you're not really interested about music, don't read this post. I'm not going to persuade you that music is brilliant, because you won't believe me and that's not what this post is about.
Also, I will warn you, in case you haven't scrolled down. This post is LONG. It has had countless hours pumped into it. (Actually, not countless, more like 3.)
If you aren't comfortable reading loads and loads about music, why I like it and what examples I can give of music I like, then this isn't the blog for you.
If you don't mind, or are instead smiling at the thought of reading Nectar's very detailed thoughts on music, then do please continue. I would love for you to hear what I have to say.
Nectar - Music
I want to talk, in this post, very generally about Music. Notice the capital 'M'.
It's a wonderful thing, and it also plays a massive role in my life.
I've estimated that I spend around 13 to 14 hours a day with Apple EarPods inside of my ears on a weekend.
That is a massive portion of my day. And yes, this does mean that there is music playing in my ears most of the time.
It is rare for me to not be listening to music. I'm not listening to anything right now, because I really wanna focus on this post.
However, I still have the earphones in my ears, though I'm not listening to anything. I mean, why remove them? I'll probably listen to something soon anyway.
What all this means, is that I listen to music a hell of a lot.
You may be wondering because of this, why does Nectar spend so much of his time listening to music? What does it mean to him? What does he listen to? Why that music? Is there anything he doesn't like?
These are all perfectly reasonable questions. I discovered halfway through a reply to a thread that my reply was too long for a forum post. This is my third attempt and rewrite to actually respond to that thread, and it has taken me 19 days to make any kind of response at all. But I'm free from the confines of a thread here, so I'll address all of these questions without feeling guilty.
Why does Nectar spend so much of his time listening to music?
It has become a sort of habit, recently. I've been having trouble being productive for the last few months, actually. Music has become one of the few driving factors that have actually improved my productivity, and I had may as well mention why. I spend so much time listening to music because... well... it interests me. I like listening to stories. Music is the ideal medium for storytelling in my opinion. A good musical story has very few dependencies. You don't even have to be able to play an instrument, be able to sing, or read musical notation to tell a story with music. You don't have to be able to read, write or be literate in any meaningful way. It's easy. Here are the simple requirements for composing music:
You understand the concept of pitch. Some noises have a higher and lower frequency to other noises.
You understand timings. You understand that if you make a few noises, it sounds better if you leave equal or divisible gaps between them.
You have a thing that makes noises. There was that one song that got around this rule, but generally you're gonna need to either use your voice, whack a thing, or twang a string.
That's all you really need. There's nothing in there about what language, if any, you speak. You don't need me to tell you that it doesn't matter what background you're from. Practically everybody is capable of appreciating music and creating music. Not everybody can write a book, not everybody can paint a picture. There are more people in the world that fit the above requirements than there are people capable of producing any other art form.
That is why it is the ideal storytelling tool.
Let's get interactive for a moment. (holy shit)
Imagine grass. You know grass.
Imagine a 1m square lawn.
Try to imagine how many blades of grass there are in that lawn.
It's hard to imagine even 1m squared's worth of grass blades.
Now try to imagine how many blades of grass there are in the whole world.
You done it? No? Failed miserably? Same.
Well, here's a little secret for you.
There are more songs, written, unwritten, imagined, and unimaginable, than there are all of those blades of grass.
Now that's a fancily huge amount of music to listen to. Try fitting that on your iPod.
Good Lord I've strayed away from the topic. I like stories, and I find that music is the best way to access great stories. (anime is fun too)
You can express so much more in music than just your thoughts. Here in this post, it is difficult for me to convey much tone. I find myself putting slants on words, making some words have thicker letters, adding emoticons, and all just because there is only so much you can do with writing alone. Plain text bores me far faster than music does. I can read a book, but then that's it. I don't read it again unless it's fucking Harry Potter. If I watch a film, it is very rare that I'll ever watch it again, unless it's fucking Harry Potter. Music, on the other hand, can last me weeks, months of replaying. Now, my mileage varies with what I'm listening to, but I'll discuss why later on. The stories that music can tell you can be so complex that replays are actually necessary in order to get the full experience without it.
The first time I listened to The Dark Side Of The Moon, an album by Pink Floyd, my first impression was that it was hugely unremarkable. It wasn't catchy, it wasn't clever, the lyrics were boring, it just kind of droned on and finished. I went to sleep the night I heard it, thinking exactly that. It was the following few days that I actually went back and listened again, and it was on around the 3rd complete playthrough that I realised how great it is.
Good music often takes time to get into your head properly. And that's because it's sneaky. Music is a massive tease. It plays with your head and your heart, and it only gives you small amounts of the full story in each play. The reason you listen to songs more than once, and in rapid succession, is because you want to hear more. When you finish a book, you have the same feeling. You just want more. But do you read the book over and over, 10, 20, 30 times? No, of course you don't. But you'll listen to your favourite song again. Why? Because every time you hear it, you hear more of the song than you did last time.
If you listen to your favourite song on repeat for too long, you'll get bored and it won't be your favourite any more. No song that I've ever found is indestructible when faced with the replayability test. They never last forever. But they last longer than other mediums do.
So back to the question. Why indeed do I spend so much of my time listening to music?
The simple answer now is that I have the means to, there's plenty of it and it's damn interesting.
That answer isn't long enough. There are more reasons than that. Looks like I had better keep talking.
What does it mean to him?
Music is a very expressive medium. I think I've probably said that enough times now that you understand what I mean.
It is cheesy, but the music that I listen to is both the soundtrack, and content, of my life.
If you watch a movie that contains not a single second of musical score, it doesn't have nearly as much life as one that does. The Dark Knight is a good example of a movie made 10x better with it's soundtrack. TRON: Legacy, is another one.
Hans Zimmer and Daft Punk use music to symbolise every emotion in the movies that they composed the score for. Every thought can be made so much more apparent when paired with a musical sequence.
Imagine a bird's eye view over New York City. Straight away, if you imagine the camera moving slowly over the city, you can hear music. Of course, the pigeons that orbit the city don't have earphones in, listening to dramatic movie scores. And yet, it is natural for us as humans to imagine an orchestra scratching some strings with horse hair in a lot of different circumstances. This shows that music has very deeply established itself in our subconscious and our culture, that there is a soundtrack buried deep within everybody.
And there's a soundtrack buried deep within me also. Hans Zimmer doesn't compose it for me, I discover my own.
I am very aware that the music an individual listens to forms a soundtrack of their life. Something I have more recently realised, however, is that that soundtrack is a fairly accurate mirror of the content of that person's life also.
The music that I listen to represents me. I gravitate towards music that is relatable to my exact circumstances. Sort of like how humans tend to fall in love with people that are similar to themselves and their parents.
I know that I've listened to wowaka's UNHAPPY REFRAIN because I've had direct frightening experience with depression.
I know that I've listened to Wintergatan because I dream of life in a peaceful Eastern European style village full of bicycles and cobblestone roads.
I know that I've listened to Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here because I've had to deal with the loss of somebody I love very dearly.
I could point at every album in my iTunes library and tell you why it's really there. It has taken me a very long time to understand that, but I know now that there is something that subconsciously draws me to certain music. And it's probably because I recognise that that I spend so much of my time with EarPods in my ears.
Sometimes I go outside, late at night or early in the morning, with a coffee and an album/song. I'll sit and listen to it, and reflect on the parts of my life that it reminds me of. Music that is visually engaging really shows you a lot about who you have been, who you are, and what you want to be.
That's what it means to me. It's a tool I use to gain a deeper insight into my life that no person's words could possibly provide. It only takes a few minutes of my attention to learn about entire years of my life. If you've read this far, you're interested in what I'm saying. I encourage you to go look through your music library. Look at the album covers. Look at the titles, remember the lyrics and the music. Think about why it got into your library. Think about what it shows about you. When I did that, I woke up the following morning knowing more about myself than I ever had before.
I intend to post Part Two at some point. It could be soon, or it could be a while. I wanna cram as much content into it as possible. So yes, a part 'three' might end up coming to be
Regardless, I'm gonna talk about specific bands, their stories, and what they have shown me. I will talk in detail about the precise things that I look for in music. I'll talk about what I don't like. I'll talk about the music industry, and my thoughts on it's direction. And more.
Thank you a whole bunch for reading this so far.