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Impact of Music on Culture: Subconscious Style

13th April 2015 No comments

This article is about the manner in which musical style transfers to different musicians and the impact that has on the music they create. This is important because musical creation is influenced by not just genres, but by thoughts about genres, songs, originality, messages in music, and art.

The first way is through the subconscious, dreams, attitudes, and riff similarities. The second is through the importance of various instruments, and influence through vocalists. Thirdly, and most importantly perhaps, is the age of music in which one is born. If one did not learn through the traditional methods of music theory, composition, classical, and pop, music looks very different to them,indeed.

Why do some music fans and critics like Pitchfork dislike guitars? The majority of so-called and quite celebrated modern indie bands are muted, and do not meet the standard of music in 70’s folk or 90’s rock. Do people really think My Morning Jacket and Drake can take over the industry from veteran bands like Dinosaur Jr, Art Brut, Wu-Tang Clan, or The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion? Most music producers are focused on two things right now; pop and appeal to television audience. This makes no sense, of course, because music should be about the listener. Granted, sales are not as important as live shows these days, but why is that a negative for a musician? The people at shows are the target audience even if they never purchase a song online. Many bands have been cornered by labels into making pop songs that sound like a commercial for t shirts in an effort to appeal to “family” television audiences.

There are many examples of music translating in ways not influenced by money. Secondhand exposure is the clearest way this happens. If a riff by Bart Davenport sounds familiar to you, that’s probably because a 90’s band wrote a similar song. This is not always lack of originality and is inescapable. That band probably did not have Bart Davenport’s sensitive finger picking and crooning lovey-dovey chorus. If a Kyuss riff sounds familiar to you, that is probably because a 70’s band did it slightly differently.

Local H, whose new album is just coming out, took from Nirvana, Kyuss, and 70’s rock. Nirvana was taking bits from Sonic Youth and Mudhoney. The Red Hot Chili Peppers borrow from 70’s funk. Many artists unwittingly daydream of other music in their creative process. Heartbreak is a shared phenomena, as is love. Some bands tug on your heartstrings from the same angle, while others play on the social scene defiantly. Ratatat takes rap and turns it into instrumental gems. This is influence through the instruments used as they rely on keyboard, drums, and guitar. The groups they are borrowing from, Wu-Tang Clan and Run D.M.C, to name for example, use less guitar, keyboard, and drums to make room for the vocals.

The raucous punk band Mclusky, viscerally wrote, “The little kid pissed on the big kid’s porch. He thinks he’s amazing. He’s rubbish of course, but one of those bands got paid ahead” in their song “Collagen Rock” in their 2002 album Do Dallas. This is a reality for many bands, but that is not an excuse to cop to a mainstream crowd. Musical style translates to musicians through the subconscious, differing instruments, and exposure and there is value in music even if it only has one person who shares the feeling that song intends to create.



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