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If someone asks me about my taste in music, I don’t think I can give a solid answer. My taste varies according to my mood just like everyone else but I think it changes per life event. The second time I went to Singapore was for a conference and I had to stay with my sister over at far west side which meant longer travel time in the MRT everyday. Having recently uploaded Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto in my iPod defined that trip to be pretty much Chris Martin’s.
Discovering indie for the first time
High school was a definitive moment for me. I think I learned to appreciate rock music then because of the few bands that sprung in campus. Highly influenced by the OPM greats like Parokya Ni Edgar, Sugarfree, and Moonstar 88, student bands have lots of potential since most of the known bands started when they were in high school too. As part of the student council, I had to tolerate the manufactured noises made from basic percussion and string instruments, not to mention the adolescent’s pubertal voice of the lead vocals. Because they were all pretty much indie at that time, I found it convenient to learn more about other indie rock music out there.
My favorite indie band was a group from Minneapolis. Gossip Girl, the TV series, led me to Motion City Soundtrack because of that Dan-Serena scene in the beach in Season 2 Episode 1 which really kind of stuck (emotionally). It was an acoustic version of the song “Fell In Love Without You”, one of Motion City Soundtrack’s popular songs which was pretty ironic considering that they were an alt-punk band. Later on, I got a hold of their whole discography and fell in love with(out) them ever since.
What’s your musical score?
If each part of my life was written in cards and filed in a filing cabinet, I think the drawers would be labeled per artist per album. That time I was going through a breakup? Filed under The Script’s The Script. That time my bestfriend left for the States? Filed under John Mayer’s Continuum. That time I was studying for my toughest exams? Filed under Explosions In The Sky’s How Strange, Innocence. That time I went to a concert alone and absolutely loved it? Filed under Chvrches’ The Bones Of What You Believe. That time I met my soulmate? Filed under Coldplay’s Live 2012. That time I was crazy-for-someone-but-it-didn’t-work-out-and-that-uneventful-concert-was-shamefully-the-last-straw? Filed under OneRepublic’s Native. The ones above are only the ones I can remember because these were the times I felt the strongest emotions I can possibly have—loneliness, sadness, anxiety, excitement, passion. Each part of life is like a scene in a movie. If ever someone’s going to do a film score for mine, I have my list ready!
Living in all generations
Just recently, I helped my dad build his music collection of ’80s to the ’90s. Artists like Simon and Garfunkel, Bread, The Eagles, Daryl Hall & John Oates, and The Stylistics were not so bad. I also loved the music of Paul McCartney And Wings, George Michael, The Police, and Styx. It was interesting how I can share this with my dad whom I always used to fight with over the car stereo. Maturity really makes us tolerant to music of all genres, the way he must have tolerated my Britney Spears and M2M days from before.
That said, I don’t think I will stick to one genre when I’m listening to music. I’m more certain that I will stick with one album at a time to fully experience the story behind its creation. I have a lot of musician friends who have poured out their heart and soul into releasing their EPs, and I could never imagine how that feels like. The least thing I can do for them is to listen, rave and/or rant, promote, and simply just write about them.
Score independently: a suggestion
One thing I realized though after all these musings is how a pattern actually exists when I discover new artists and new music. As a visual learner, I prefer watching movies and TV shows and reading books. I’m getting good with my listening skills but I think I’m still a casual music lover. So how do I choose which music to listen to? TV soundtracks almost always does it for me. The soundtracks of Grey’s Anatomy and Girls (HBO) are one of the best ones. When I hear a good song in the background, I google the song title and artist and head on over to download their songs. When good music accompanies something that I’m seeing, then it definitely completes the sense experience and therefore, it’s worth an ear.
Indie artists should definitely consider selling rights to their music to the film and showbiz industry. Sure we have a lot of national singing contests on TV and our local films almost always get their title off the lyrics of a song, but the point is creating a different experience for the potential fan. I like discovering artists on my own because it gives me a sense of ownership and credibility. The problem lies in the hipster mentality that all indie bands prefer to keep. That or how production houses and record groups see film scores as a supplement more than a complement to the whole movie experience.
Otherwise, music festivals are always an option.
Coachella, Glastonbury, Laneway, Malasimbo, Wanderland, you name it. I recommend watching the Japanese film “Beck” if you want to know what it’s like to be in a music festival — minus the alcohol and the cigarettes plus the mud and shortchanged vocals. Music festivals altered the way I approach music now. It has definitely allowed me to grow and become a better person, if only by the judgments I make. Having limited tastes in music is overrated! I think it should be perfectly fine if you appreciate quite a number of genres because people shouldn’t be allowed to judge you based on it anyway. (Yes, I am friends with a lot of Beliebers and One Directioners. That doesn’t make me a bad person!)