Blissfully ignorant: Enjoying Music You Don’t Understand

I like music I can't understand better?

I like music I can’t understand better?

Over the past few years I have found myself, at first against my will, listening to music in languages I did not understand, mostly Spanish. Over time I started to understand the different sounds, for example Salsa vs. Bachata vs. Merengue and my wife would always translate the lyrics, whether I asked or not. Then a strange thing happened, I would listen to music in Spanish or Portuguese alone, without my spouse and translator around. In fact, when she is present now I am resistant to hearing what the lyrics mean, at least at first.

The reason for this is because not understanding the words allows me to listen differently. It allows me to listen to vocals as if they are instruments and turn off the analytic side of listening. It makes me to listen more actively and abstractly. I become more acutely aware of tone and subtle things I would have missed otherwise.

Here is a fairly new song that I like by Enrique Iglesias. It is Bachata, a dance a struggle with but a genre I really like, and I enjoy the mixture of vocals. My wife has told me what the song is about already, but I will not spoil the fun for y’all.

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Pearl Jam’s Lighting Bolt Hits

PearlJam-Ten2

Note: This week we’re happy to bring you another post by the one and only Moe who weighed in recently on the Macklemore debate. Somehow, we’ve gone nearly two years without really talking about Pearl Jam. Today, Moe rectifies this with a review of the band’s most recent album. I guarantee that we’ll be talking about Pearl Jam some more very soon.

Pearl Jam, a band that has been in my life since I was in middle school, has seen a resurgence in recent years with back to back deep and quality albums. In 2006 the band released the self-titled album, Pearl Jam, which hits the highs of political critique and all out rock with “World Wide Suicide” and the lows of loss with “Come Back.” It is this album that brought me back to one of the first bands for which I ever felt a strong connection.

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The Heist: “A Life Lived for Art is Never a Life Wasted”

Note: Today we bring you yet another post about Macklemore–who recently won the MTV VMA for best Hip-Hop artist–from a guest who has been a reader of the blog for a little while and a friend of the elder for much longer. The debate on Macklemore’s place in hip-hop seems to be flowing rather than ebbing, so we can’t promise we won’t chime in on the subject again. 

For now, here’s our friend and another teacher-extraordinaire, The Mr. and Only Moe.

I must start by saying that I grateful to the brothersj for allowing me to be a part of their endeavor, especially since my introduction is on a topic for which they have both sufficiently posted already. Before delving deeper into Macklemore and Lewis’s The Heist, some transparency is required. I agree with the elderj that my leftist political leaning effects my perspective on this album, but also I have found that the way in which I come by an album, where I am at in my life, greatly effects my affinity for an album as well, sometimes more.

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