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Friday, May 11, 2012

as long as I'm talking about music

Sorry this post kinda rambles- I've tried to organize it the best I can, but my brain doesn't' seem to be working right now.

Look, life is full of emotions. Some are pleasant; some aren't. That's how life works.   In Moses 6:55 it says "...and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good." Music is the same way. For those who aren't familiar with western music, there are seven standard scales to which most music is written. (I am not including the blues scale or pentatonic scales.) Three of those seven are "minor", which means they convey an overall sad emotion. While that can easily be explained mathematically, I believe there is an another reason for that- sometimes people want to express sad feelings. We see it all the time in visual arts, especially with the impressionists. But for some reason, people have this belief that music should only be happy. It's as if the only musical modes that should exist are the Ionian, Lydian and Mixolydian. It's as if people don't want to accept the fact that life is sometimes Aeolian or Dorian, and even a little Phrygian. (I like that way of putting it. I think that was cleaver.) Say what you want, but as far as I'm concerned, art, in all of it's mediums, is nothing more that an expression of emotion, and sometimes that needs to be a negative emotion.

I think this kind of spreads from a larger stigma, that all negative emotions are wrong and sinful. I can't tell you how many times I have hear someone accuse a depressed person of being depressed over sin. I have been told myself to "just be happy." When my cousins killed themselves, I wasn't happy about a damn thing. The world sucked. Life sucked. When my grandpa died of cancer, I wasn't sure what to think. I'm not the only person who feels this way. It's normal, and perfectly acceptable. Wallowing in misery is not the same as feeling sad, and if someone wants to write a song as a way to cope with his or her feelings, than let them do it.

There is a difference between music that wallows in misery, and music that expresses normal sadness. A lot of Metallica's music wallows in misery, and is in and of its self very angsty, which is why I don't like most of their music.

 Inversely, Megadeth has several songs that are sad, but don't cross the line. Dace Mustaine is a brilliant song writer, and a genius lyricist. He knows how to express emotions and thoughts perfectly. He also an a real knack for writign music that perfectly fits the lyrics he's written.  This coincides wonderfully with Marty Friedman's talent as a guitarist. I have listened to literally millions of musicians, and I don't feel that any of them can express emotion the way Marty can. He has a perfect blend of classical influence, mixed with eastern feel, and most importantly a good ear. He lives music. He is the perfect example of the marriage between the scales of classical with the feel of blues. These are a few that come to mind when I think of Megadeth songs that appropriately express sad emotions.
( I know most of my readers are classical buffs, but give these songs a listen. They're worth it.)

1) Addicted to Chaos.
This song was written by Dave Mustaine after he found out that his good friend, who had mentored him though drug rehab, had died of a drug overdose. This song's lyrics perfectly describe his transition from grief (All these normal people/ will I find another one?, I said I need you/ does that make me wrong? Am I a weak man/ are you feeling strong?) to the determination (Light shined on my path/ turned bad days into good Turned breakdown into blocks/ smashed 'em 'cuz I could) that typically follows this kind of loss. The overall tone of the song also fits perfectly with the tone of the lyrics, especially Marty Friedman's solo.

2) A Tout le Monde
This song, according to Dave Mustaine, was inspired by a dream he had where his mom came back to life for one night so that she could say goodbye to everyone. He said the lyrics describe how he felt losing her, and how he felt when he died (saved at the hospital.) He says the chorus is what he would say to everyone if he knew he was going to die. (The chorus translates to "To all the world/to all my friends: I love you all/I must leave."

3) In my Darkest Hour
This was inspired by the death of Cliff Burton, who had been Dave's band-mate back when Dave played for Metallica. The lyrics themselves are about his ex-girlfriend. I personally have found the lyrics to be very fitting for all the emotions I went through with my breakups with both Melinda and Laura.
(This song picks up speed an intensity halfway through, so my classical fans may not like it as much.)

4) I Though I Knew It All
When the crap hit the ceiling with Laura, and I realized our relationship wasn't going to last, I rode down to the boardwalk to gather my thoughts, and to have a quiet place to be when I called her to break up (which I wish I had just followed through with.) As I was there, this song came on my mp3 player. The lyrics just stuck into me, describing how I was feeling at that exact moment. I don't know the history behind this song, but I know what it means for me.

Basically, we shouldn't shun music that express sadness just because it's expresses sadness. There is a score of human emotions, so why not song emotions?


  1. I agree. I personally listen to the Raconteurs when I'm stressed out or upset. I listened to them a lot last semester...

  2. I'm curious how you feel about those individual songs I listed

  3. Honestly, not entirely my cup of tea. I liked Tout le Monde, but not so much the others. I can't articulate exactly why, but they just didn't do much for me.

  4. Haha, I didn't think you'd like any of them lol. A Tout le Monde is my favorite from that list. I don't think I've ever met anyone with as wide in taste of music as me... (that was poorly worded, but I have a headache and don't care.) I think I might post the entire artist list from my mp3 player one day. It's, quite varied.