Sunday, June 7, 2009

I confess to misrepresenting my musical preferences.

When asked what kind of music I like to listen to, the short answer is usually "techno." The long answer is a description that never mentions a genre and employs bullet points. However, in my neverending search for more music, I frequently find myself reading things that tell me, "No, you don't like techno! What you like is trance!" However, none of those things ever had an adequate explanation why. So, like a good person of literacy, I set out to learn just what defines these popular forms of electronic music.

I found a lot. I understood little. If you ever want to be overwhelmed, just have a gander at Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music, which has descriptions and song samples for a ridiculous number of musical styles. Or try wading through Wikipedia's epic entry on techno.

From what I've been able to comprehend, trance is derived from techno, but is more melodic, more emotional, and features a more stylized structure, while techno is more atonal and experimental. Judging from this generalization, my sources are correct in telling me, "No, you don't like techno! What you like is trance!" According to my research, "techno" is often used to describe all forms of electronic dance music, but that is technically incorrect (I just made a terrible pun that is, in fact, so terrible, I shouldn't be drawing attention to it, but instead, I am going to devote a whole parenthetical run-on sentence to it, just to describe how terrible it is and how delighted I am to have thought of it!).

But when I describe what kind of music I like, I can't go around saying "trance." For one thing, I dislike the name, which makes it sound like it makes you fall asleep. For another thing, I like music from several other style categories, and saying "EDM" is a sure way to get a puzzled look. Actually, I might have to consider that. I could use it to fire up a conversation.

Or I could change the subject and start talking about other musical things that are occupying my mind--mostly more of those tiny fragments of songs that just tickle me pink! I will even be able to share them with you, because I found this website that will let you find and play almost any song you've ever wanted to hear:

Ever since I went to California, I've had a song stuck in my head. Actually three words of a song. Three tuneless, agonized words of a song. Over and over. I don't even know the name of the song. Brief pause (Here, listen to the Doctor Who theme song while you're waiting) so I can find out. The Song is My Chemical Romance's "Famous Last Words." And the words are "Where's your heart?" which are said at the beginning. The rest of the song is boring, but I guess I just really get a kick out of pained expressions of sundered love.

Here's another song that's all about sundered love. "Don't bring me down" by Electric Light Orchestra. There's this part near the end where a guitar plays a bass variation on the notes that are usually sung to "Don't bring me down, Bruce!" The whole song's pretty fun, but that guitar part's the best!

Oh, and speaking of ungratifying relationships... "Hot n Cold" by Katy Perry. It's got a hearty helping of synth all through it, which is great, but listen closely whenever it transitions from the verse to the refrain. Oooh, cheap electronic thrills!

And one last musical suggestion before I end this bloated post. I'm not sure if it's about sundered love or ungratifying relationships, but unfortunately I think it's not--it sounds too happy. I guess we'll be forced to listen to one upbeat song today: DJ Ötzi's "7 Sünden." You get Electronic Dance Music plus polka all in one, and you get to hear someone with a strong German accent yell, "The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire!" How can you not love it?