Liege and Lief

I keep discovering how alike everyone is. I know it’s a cliche, but the more I see it the less depressed I get. I’m not actually depressed, alhamdulillah I’m happy most of the time, but I am in this weird place in life where I’m not sure what I’m feeling half the time. Am I sad? Confused? Apathetic? Sympathetic to the state of the everyone’s (including my own) lives? 

So I keep discovering how alike everyone is, especially regardless of skin color and ethnicity. And the more I live my life in this weird feeling state, the more I think, “we’re all so alike, in fact, that they make sitcoms about situations exactly like ours” ‘Ours’, because I’m exactly the same as my white neighbors and my black neighbors and my Asian neighbors and my mixed race neighbors. Family is always, always the same. There are but a few different families in the world, and they all repeat themselves in each of the millions of families in the world. If you’re blessed enough to have both parents living together happily, the problems you have with them are the same problems the family down the street has who doesn’t share your skin color, your religion, your culture, or your language. If you have a single parent, you have the same problems that your other completely-different-from-you-neighbor-with-one-parent has. And on and on. 

Ellen DeGeneres has an hour long stand up routine called Here and Now: Modern Life and Other Inconveniences. In it she talks about the trouble we have opening CD’s, getting the brand new roll of toilet paper to start, having someone accidentally spit on you while you’re talking to them, receiving insults disguised as compliments, and the ‘universal sign that you’re irritated’. It’s hilarious. But it’s hilarious because we can all relate to most of it in the end. 

So, to quote the album I’m currently listening to, I’m loyal and ready to be a part of it. 

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Navigating the Music Scene

I’ve never really known music in genres. Friends and acquaintances discuss different genres, bands, styles, singers, and they seem to know the differences between all of them as if they’ve taken classes on it.

All I’ve ever known about music and the thousands of bands and singers out there is divided into three categories: what I like, what I don’t like, and what I want to like but am pretty sure that I don’t really like, also known as the what-I-pretend-to-like-in-order-to-seem-cool category.

I used to be the type of person who would find a band/singer and then stick with them for months, playing their album ad nauseum. Part of this was because I really liked the album, and part of it was because I had no clue where to turn in order to find good music, leaving me lost and on my own when I grew tired of my current album. I was also still discovering my own musical tastes, trying to figure out what genre or genres of music I truly liked and felt at home with.

I’ve since discovered my niche: it lies at the intersection of rock, folk, and indie music. Any of these, as well as any combination of these, is awesome music, period. I’m not really sure what route I took to figure this out, but it involved quite a few dead ends and disappointments. Now that I’ve discovered this, however, I have a new problem: how to sort through lists that are really, really long and find bands and singers that are worth my time.

I’ve found that my favorite type of music is usually either folk, folk-rock, or indie rock. For instance, a few of my favorite bands/singers are Iron and Wine (more folk-rock), Young the Giant (more indie rock), Broken Bells (indie or alternative? Check out my post on the giddiness I felt when I discovered them), Griffin House (folk), Mumford and Sons (folk and folk-rock), Arcade Fire (indie-rock or just rock? I also only know them through their most recent album The Suburbs, haven’t had a chance to check out their older work), and Great Big Sea (very much folk).

So now that you know my musical tastes, how do I find artists that are similar or just really good within these genres? I’m aware of some other bands from that indie-rock list, but the ones I’ve listed are ones that I’m really, really into. Ones I’ve heard of but haven’t really had a chance to look into beyond a song or two are bands like Broken Social Scene, Two Door Cinema Club, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I’d be willing to give them all a try, but how do I know which ones will be worth my time and which ones not?