Saturday, September 18, 2010

Weekend Endorsement: Pop music in another language

I really like modern music (pop, rock, electronica, alternative and many others). I have even tried to write a few songs, but lyrics always trip me up. Perhaps someday I will be able to come up with that piece of verse that until now has seemed so elusive, that great hook like "bootylicious" only... not. While I have occasionally been subjected to foreign popular stylings, while in Paris I picked up a few random albums, based mostly on a brief listen in the store--if available--or how creative the album art looked, and I thus far have really enjoyed them. Even the weird ones.

Sometimes I can figure out what they are singing about and other times, can only grasp single words here and there, but mostly I am content to let the sound wash over me, and in so doing, have found the experience to be illuminating.

In English (my primary language), music speaks right at me, words, sentences. And often I get tangled up in the lyrics, which makes it easy to take a lot of the aspects of the music, like the song as a whole experience for granted, but in another language (French in this case), being unable to understand the words, I found my experience of the songs became elevated. And when I listened to some of the songs I know well, the experience stayed. It was almost as though I had learned something, but if I did I apparently lack the rhetoric to fully express whatever it was here.

So for this weekend my endorsement is listening to pop music in another language. Not casually catching a song here or there, but really listen to an album and try to connect. Do I even have to say, "the common language is in the music."? I only regret I didn't grab a few albums while I was in Japan a year ago.