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Why Music Matters – part 4 March 13, 2007

Posted by Walt in essay.
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For me the excitement of music is putting on an album by someone I have never heard of or a new album by an artist that I love. I’ll start at track 1 and spend 40-50 minutes just absorbing. The results can be exhilarating or disappointing, but the process itself is the best part. Can disappointment be exciting? I’d have to say “Yes”. There is nothing in world quite like those first moments of discovery.

Right now, I am particularly looking forward to “Icky Thump”, the album due from the White Stripes this summer. The genius of Jack White is that he simply has the ability to thrill when you listen to a White Stripes album for the first time. You can only hear it once for the first time. That is the ultimate beauty of music.

When their 2005 album “Get Behind Me Satan” starts with “Blue Orchid” and Meg White’s thumping drums and Jack’s thrashing guitar, you know you are off to a great start. Then marimbas, for goodness sake, starting off “The Nurse”. How could you expect that? Then in the rest of the album you have mandolin bluegrass (“Little Ghost”), piano-infused driving rock (“The Denial Twist”), classic blues (“Instinct Blues”) and an ode to Rita Hayworth (“Take, Take, Take”). When the album finally ends with “I’m Lonely (But I Ain’t That Lonely Yet)”, a country piano melody with lyrics that dishes out the disses, your breath has better be taken away or I’ll be checking for your pulse.

When I heard Tokyo Police Club for the first time, I thought that here is a young band who I could be listening to for years. Someone at my day job mentioned Amel Larrieux to me today. Never heard of her. But the samples I heard intrigued me. R&B is not my usual favorite genre, but I’ll try anything.

Deerhoof, Snowden, Love of Diagrams, Calla, The Guillemots, The Earlies, Cold War Kids. I love this stuff, even when I don’t.

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