Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Musical Thoughts

My thoughts aren't really musical, of course, though I do almost always have music running through my head (right now it's Daughtry, "It's Not Over").

I was listening to a Nick Lachey song recently and it reminded me of Jessica Simpson's singing. They both have technically excellent voices, but they don't sing with true emotion. I may sing along and even like parts of some of their songs, but I'm removed from it. They, and others like them, project fake emotion by using their range and volume and strategic gasping.

Then I thought about musicians that seem to be singing with true emotion--say, John Mayer or James Blunt--but whose music still doesn't touch me. I can't identify with what they are singing, or how they are singing it. Their emotion seems to come from someplace I've never been.

Which is weird, because those musicians who DO touch me--Jason Manns and Chad Kroeger and Chris Daughtry--are certainly not singing from places I've been, either. But I think I can put myself in those places much more easily, for some reason.

I always say that a novel is a collaborative experience. What the reader gets out of it is as much due to the life they've lived and how their mind works as it is what the author put into it. So every partnership is unique.

I'm not lyric-driven so it never occurred to me before that the same is true of music. I mean, it's a no-brainer that musical taste is as subjective as taste in art or fiction. But it's not just about personal likes and dislikes. Who we are as individuals dictates the depth of our partnerships with those who play/sing the music we listen to.

It may sound like the same thing, but I don't think it is. Me liking "Wonderland" better than "What's Left of Me" is subjectivity. Me listening to Jason Manns over and over is about who I am connecting with something in him (or at least, the part of him he puts into his music).

I hope he doesn't Google Alert himself and see this post, or he'll probably be pretty creeped out. :)

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