I am so defined by my music now. I say ‘my music’ because it very much is so. I can listen to a song I’ve never heard before and it will instantaneously become mine, or it won’t. I can listen to a beat I’ve never heard before and it will create a new ‘memory’ in my mind of how much I have always liked the beat.
Maybe that’s just the nature of the art. If am defined by a particular genre, then, by definition, all music in that genre will have some element that links them all together, that makes them unique in some way.
Maybe. So here I am at nearly 3 o’clock in the morning, listening to Give Up by The Postal Service. And I listen to “We Will Become Silhouettes” performed by The Shins and marvel at how they took this song that is the singer from Death Cab at such a basic level and turned it into…The Shins. You listen to the song and you know that it’s them, no question about it. Then you listen to “Such Great Heights” performed by Iron and Wine and you wonder how songs, the exact same songs, can change so much just by who’s singing them. The lyrics are the same, the melody is the same, the beats are the same. So how can Iron and Wine turn a Postal Service song into an Iron and Wine song by changing nothing?
It’s incredible. So maybe there really aren’t any genres. Maybe all genres are one and each song is defined by each singer, not by its lyrics, nor by its melody, nor by its beat. Could Bono take a jazz song and turn it into something that is U2 at its core? Could Chris Martin take a folk piece and turn it into something that is Coldplay at its most fundamental level?
At the end of the day, are we just listening to the deepest most visceral emotions of each singer and not a song from a specific genre since there are no genres? That must be why music becomes a part of me or repels me so immediately. The songs are so base in their emotions that my emotions either completely connect with them or are completely turned off by them. Kind of like they are with people, movies, ideas, books, and thoughts; like they should be if life is to be worth living.
So, can James Mercer not become Death Cab for Cutie if he had to?