Song covers: The good, the bad, and the unlistenable

Covering another person’s song is always risky. It appears difficult to differentiate between what is a legitimately artful interpretation or especially good sounding karaoke. Here are some examples of marks hit and missed.

  • Johnny Cash – “Hurt” (Good): Mr. Cash adds a vulnerability to this song that exposes the original as drastically lacking emotionality in comparison. There is a resonating finality to his cover that hangs in the air well after the song has ended.
  • The White Stripes – “Jolene” (Good)Read the rest of this entry »

About “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair” by Debussy

“The Girl with the Flaxen Hair” is by French composer Claude DeBussy. DeBussy lived from 1862 to 1918 and composed countless pieces of beautiful, haunting music.

“The Girl with the Flaxen Hair” is actually the translated title of the composition. The actual title is “La fille aux cheveux de lin.” The title as it is known in English is actually only a rough translation.

This composition is one of DeBussy’s most popular, and it has been recorded thousands of times both in its original form and in other arrangements. It is an extremely short piece of Read the rest of this entry »

How to listen to and appreciate classical music

When I asked a professional classical musician was how a non-musician could appreciate his music, he said, “Just shut up and listen.” He’s a man of few words, but he made an essential point. All you really have to do is clear your mind of distractions and let the music wash over you. Listen with an open mind and feel the emotions that the music carries.
If you are at a concert, take a little time before the music starts and read the program notes. These notes tell you a little about the piece and the composer. It will also Read the rest of this entry »

What is “new age music”, anyway?

All things “new age” seem to be gaining more and more popularity in mainstream culture, and new age music is no exception. One can hear new age styles of music in spas, meditation centers, new age stores, restaurants and cafes, and alternative healing centers. This style of music typically is composed in a way that cultivates a feeling of tranquility and relaxation for the listener. New age music with vocals often emphasizes messages about spirituality and peace.

What Kinds of Instruments Are Used In New Age Music?

Because new age music is Read the rest of this entry »

The Dropkick Murphys: Irish, Punk, and Loud

The Dropkick Murphys have been described as everything from Celtic rock to hardcore punk, but whatever you call them, there is no denying the power and intensity of this Boston-area band. Formed in 1996, the band quickly gained popularity and were selected by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones to open their tour the very next year. After a few self-released EPs, the band signed to the indie label, Hellcat Records.

Lars Frederiksen of the band Rancid produced the band’s first album, Do or Die. It was a hit with fans and Read the rest of this entry »

The Beatles: The history of a great band

Coming out of one of the busiest seaport towns in the world, The Beatles formed in Liverpool in 1958 and soon began paying their dues in nightclubs in Hamburg, Germany. Unable to get a record deal with any of the major labels, they eventually settled with George Martin of Parlophone records, a division of EMI accustomed to recording comedy acts.

In early 1963, after swapping out Pete Best for Ringo Starr on drums, and significantly speeding up the dirge-like song “Please Please Me” to a more urgent tempo, The Beatles claimed their first of an eventual 20 number one hit singles. The first Read the rest of this entry »

An essential playlist for work, play, and everything else

Some music may decrease your ability to concentrate on your workload or leisure time. However, if you pick the right music, your sense of relaxation during your day will instantly be increased. One of the most important things to consider when forming a music playlist for work, play, and other activities, is the type of genre that you would be interested in listening to. There are several types, but only a few of them are really productive to listen to during your day. Music genres such as Read the rest of this entry »

Music can save lives. Here’s how.

Have you ever had one of those days where everything seemed to be going terribly, terribly wrong? How about days where you felt so frustrated and angry that you didn’t know what else to do? Have you ever felt like your world was ending, even though you knew it really wasn’t, only to feel immense relief when you turned on the stereo or your mp3 player and started listening to your favorite songs?

That is the power of music.

Movies and books and TV Read the rest of this entry »