As a musician I love to discover albums that move me though I must admit that this doesn’t happen quite as often as it did in the past. Especially when you just start out and try to figure everything out on guitar or whatever is it that you play, the world is your musical oyster. Everything inspires you.
Recently, I have found a few albums that I like listening to at the moment.
heartbreaker – ryan adams
So, Ryan Adams. A phenomenon in itself when it comes to productive songwriting. This guy can write and he can write A LOT. As for many, this can be a blessing or your downfall. In Ryan’s case I assume it’s both. A bit like Tom Waits, it is in writing so many songs that you develop the ability to write incredibly beautiful material. Granted, you also produce a lot of shit, but to use the words from Thich Nhat Hanh: In order for a Lotus flower to grow, you need mud. Heartbreaker has some mud on it, but from that mud grew songs like ‘Come pick me up’, ‘Oh my sweet Carolina’ and ‘In my time of need’. All in all, I wish very deeply to have written one of those songs but I didn’t. Ryan did. Because he has the balls to write continuously in order to find these very, very special songs.
I’I – Bon iver
A completely different album is ‘i’i’ by Bon Iver. I have been a fan of Bon Iver for a long time and I am convinced he is the Mozart of our time. Whether you like him or not, his style is new and unheard of. With this latest album I don’t consider him to do anything he hasn’t done yet, but you don’t have to if what you did in the past was already groundbreaking.
What hits me the most in Bon Iver (Just Vernon) is the ability to project emotions through sound. And I hear you thinking: “Isn’t that what all music does or should do?”. Even though that is true, nobody actually succeeded in doing so. If you look at the evolution of music since the fifties, not much has changed. It’s the same chords and structures that everybody uses. Actually even Justin Vernon uses these structures, but there is something different. Hard to explain or to write in words. I think the best way to fathom what makes Justin unique is the fact that he uses made up words, because plain English just doesn’t cut it. It’s like Japanese language versus Western languages. A lot of Japanese words or concepts are impossible to describe in English. What this tells me about Justin is that he is trying to express himself in a way that is beyond the current language possibilities and does so with music as well. He found a way to go beyond what sound allowed us to express and invented new sounds; new structures; a new language. And it resonates so profoundly with what is inside us as humans. A good example of this is the legendary performance of ‘Heavenly father’ and his primal scream at 2:07. Though the song is very structured, it is in his voice that he transcends the obvious. I really feel that we should cherish Justin as he is not a thing that comes around often. And though this album may not be very groundbreaking as oppose to his earlier work, it is still an amazing record.