Sunday, February 1, 2009

Mind, Body, Conscience, and Dance Part 2

Back in part one I was discussing the variables involved in one's choice of music. Here in part two I want to look at some of the various states and the choices they lead to (at least for me anyway).

You're in the mood to dance. However you don't want to spend a lot of energy
Jam & Spoon - Stella
You'll notice that in this particular song, classified as vocal trance, there are almost no lyrics (simply a woman occasionally saying "Hold me. Love me."). Despite this being a club track I can imagine dancing in a close embrace with someone and dancing as if we were the only people on the floor. Just you, your partner, and the beat. I would say that you can't have lyrics in a song like this for they would ruin the moment. Try to picture 50 Cent rapping to the beat of this song. It hurts my head to think about such an image.

You're laying on the beach watching the clouds and trying to relax. Remote - Postcard. No energy. No activity. No dancing. To me such a song is for times when you want to forget about your responsibilities and have some, "Me time". Just like the song I mentioned before this one lyrics would get in the way. This track is meant to be all about you. Hell think of your own lyrics if you want. Take you to that "Me, Myself, and I" place.

Prom. Wedding. Family Reunion. If you've been to one of these events at sometime in your life there is a very high chance that either The Cha Cha Slide or The Electric Slide was played...more than once. The line dance. Songs like this are for social events and you want to get everyone on the floor but in a manner that doesn't result in a crowded mess. You don't have to worry about performing the wrong dance to these songs since there is only one way to dance to them (yes you can do variations but please leave the freestyling to the pros) and many of them actually have directions in the lyrics (or directions for lyrics).

When you have a song like this where the steps are given to you or there is a specific dance associated with it you almost have no reason to not do it. Unlike the two before it the lyrics are very important to tracks like this. The need for lyrics for the Cha Cha Slide is pretty obvious because without them you would not know the directions for the dance. Even for the Electric Slide the words set the rhythm for the movements, keeping people in alignment (Although I've seen plenty of Electric Slides end in failure).

We've all had moments in our life when we were in a very dark place. It seemed like you had fallen as low as you could possibly fall and hope was on short supply. VNV Nation - Left Behind. On a track like this the lyrics themselves may not be very important but the point they convey is. Not to be a sadsack but music like this usually touches on sad depressing subjects often in the form of a story (perhaps even a story that relates to whatever has you down at the moment). Yes you could watch the music video of a song and possibly get the story without hearing it but bear in mind that even though its commonplace these days to have them in the same device its almost always been easier to distribute audio than visual.

One last example (because I don't want to go overboard with too many examples).

You've had a sucky day at work. Maybe you failed a major exam that you really did study all night for. Perhaps you got a BS ticket from cop. Whatever the reason You are are pissed off and by the time you get home you want to commit violence. To hell with patience, fuck calm, and tranquility be damned. You just want to lash out and not care about the consequences. Korn - Somebody Someone. The lyrics in music like this are often loud, chaotic, and violent. When in a bad mood quoting such lyrics can help in venting built up anger but that doesn't mean the rhythm and instrument sounds that go along with them don't help.

Now I could go on and on with more examples but I think I've made my point (but if not don't be scared to say something). Now one thing to bear in mind is that the songs I listed above and meaningfulness I associated with them are my own interpretations. Someone else can listen to this same set of tracks and get something totally different from them. And that's not even counting the people who don't like some or all of the tracks listed here.

So to answer the question of how important lyrics are to a song the best I can say is, "It depends." On what you ask? It depends on the person you ask, their state of mind, their state of mind they want to achieve, their desire (or lack of) to dance, what activity (if any) they are engaging in....

Now that this side quest is finished its time to wait and see what Fred has in store for us next.