Friday Music – The Preatures – “Girlhood”

A surprisingly good album with 80’s throwbacks. This pop rock group will have you thinking of icons from Cyndi Lauper to Sting and The Police.

The first three tracks are super and set the tone for the rest of the album – a straight rocker, a rocking ballad with country twangs and sweet chugging synth pop – all with such 80’s infusion, it’s the album equivalent of watching an episode of Stranger Things…..fewer monsters though.

The album is a burner, well worth exploration. Vocals never fail to offer fragility and strength in equal measure – the front-woman Manfredi can really sing. Lyrics and production show a mature understanding of their craft. Highs and lows make it a dynamic listen. There may be one or two too many songs on the album, but even the less arresting songs are better than most – I can see how it was a hard list to cull.

This album was offered up as a recommendation by Google Play and I am so glad it was.

Monday music

I have eclectic musical tastes. My father worked in the music industry for a long time in the 70’s and 80’s so I have a lot of old school rock in my collection. My mum loves classical music, and my grandma was a great pianist so I listen to some choral and baroque classical music – and my personal passion is blues and soul. Old school. I have also recently started listening to hip hop.

A look at the charts – the top ten on Google Play – is fairly meaningless to me now. Nobody is pushing the boundaries of any genre, and art is scarce when the aim is to appeal to the most number of people possible. When this is the case, inevitably the songs start to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Safe bets are placed like the countless sequels in the cinema.

That said, I like Rihanna and DJ Khaled’s song, Grateful. Also, Charlie Puth’s Attention is pretty good.

Streaming music

I like to think about the music industry.
For my streaming needs I oscillate between Google Play and Tidal depending on how pretentious I feel about streaming quality, and how much cash I have. In reality there is not much difference though – all of the major streaming services have an impossibly huge library, the convenience is amazing too. What is most interesting to me is the angst it brings me – Whenever I stream something I think to myself “am i doing this right?” – with LPs and CDs it was far more clearcut how best to listen to music. Now nobody knows.
Which is the best streaming service? It’s not an obvious answer or even an obvious question – Best for the listener? Best for the artist?
I live in South Africa and don’t have access to Spotify or Youtube Red (or whatever Youtube’s subscription options are) it seems to me that Soundcloud was trying to be the Youtube of music, but failed to make money – why? The music industry seems capable of flicking a switch and making an artist centered service like Soundcloud disappear almost overnight.
The whole streaming genre has taken a grip on my brain – it’s such a vast universe and there are so many ways to listen to music now – Which hardware is the best to use?
I follow it with interest and compulsion.

Kendrick Lamar interview

I’m a big Kendrick Lamar fan. Although some of his cultural references are hard to keep up with all the way over here in South Africa, I really appreciate his musicality and his creativity.

When I first heard him, the man seemed to be on a mission. There was more to his songs than a hit record. The depth of his music impressed me.

This interview is fantastic and confirms my suspicions. In particular I love how Kendrick describes his work as a sort of document for people in the future to look back on. It’s a really good interview. Kendrick Lamar’s focus and dedication to his art, with mindfulness of the broader community and heritage is something to aspire to, in my opinion:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/post/idsa.193137a0-2629-11e7-bb2e-fa528de050a0?mt=1&app=music

 

Streaming and ownership

If I can consume media with purpose then I will be happy. Too often though, I feel like media is force fed to me like a scene out of A Clockwork Orange.

I have decided to make a change in music subscription services – from Google Play Music to Tidal. New MQA Masters catalogues on Tidal are a factor, as are my future plans to integrate with a service such as Roon. Roon lets you interact with the music you listen to like we used to with CDs and LPs.

All of this is a rather futile effort to mitigate against the fact that when we stream our music or TV or movies, we no longer own the content. It’s a mindset from another time I guess but to pay for a service rather than a piece of art seems like a poor deal.

At least it is convenient and works on my phone though.