I was out at a karaoke bar recently and someone sang ‘What It’s Like’ by Everlast. This somewhat cheesy, quintessentially 90’s song came out when I was a teen, and I’ve always known all the words but somehow I’ve never really heard them before. Or maybe it’s that, being older and having a bit of experience in the world, I can identify with them in a way a 16 year old cant. Because, hearing them sung, off key and in a cracked voice by a tipsy stranger, was somehow as if actually listening to the words for the first time, and I almost wanted to cry.
What could have changed in my brain to cause this song I’ve heard a thousand times before and never really thought about, to suddenly have an emotional effect on me?
Brains… are strange…
Been listening to some old songs I haven’t heard in a while and it’s strange how much music draws you back into the past. What you were doing when listening to the music the first time, with supreme clarity sometimes, can come flooding right back with just a few notes…
I was listening to the radio the other day, and on the pop stations there is a surprising amount of robot-voice or ‘auto tune’ or whatever you want to call it. I find it strange that this sound could be appealing to anyone, but it seems to be so. What is interesting to me, is that this ‘voice’ barely sounds human, and maybe that is intentional.
Most of these artists are mass produced by huge companies, and if those companies had their way, they probably wouldn’t want to deal with the ‘artist’ at all. Maybe this trend toward auto tuned fake sounding vocals is intentional, as a way to eliminate human singers from the equation eventually. If the record industry didn’t have to share any of their money with an artist, they could get even richer by selling AI produced music, and having a robot voice ‘sing’ it. Robots can’t sing, you say? Probably not very well, but it wouldn’t sound much different than the way some pop stars ‘sing’ today.
Conspiracy theory for the day…
I got to the end of the Glass Bead Game, finally! And boy… did it disappoint.
The final 20% of the book is several poems and three short stories written by the character whose life we just got a long, tired account of. Two of the three stories were actually really good and I thought the book was going to redeem itself with these, since a lot of what made them good was what you learned about the character who supposedly wrote them. But then.
The third and final story, and finale of the book ends with
IT WAS ALL A DREAM
Yes. Seriously. The climax of the story is that a huge portion of the characters life was all a dream/vision and he had some kind of epiphany from this that life itself is pointless and nothing but struggle and pain, so he recedes from life to be a hermit and focus on inner peace.
But come on! Any storyteller should know that this as a climax is awful. If it had not been the FINAL story, and literal end to this book, it wouldn’t have been a terrible story. But as a climax, this is very disappointing and I’d expect an experienced writer to know better.
Yes it was written in the 40’s, and maybe this kind of end wasn’t such an overused trope at the time, but that doesn’t excuse it, as it is just as annoying the first time you experience it.
Anyway. Now it’s finally over and I can stop complaining about it. On to the next thing!
As you may, or much more likely may not have noticed, for a bit more than two weeks I’ve been roughly inserting song lyrics into my blog posts.
Yes, I am a fan of the band Toto. No, I have nothing better to do with my time then figure out how to work lyrics into my posts.
I have been getting along with this daily blogging thing so easily, that I thought I’d make it a bit more challenging for myself. I got through most of the first three albums before I grew tired of it. So, now, I must let you know so my labor does not pass into obscurity. Is it lame? Maybe. Well, I didn’t know you were looking for more than I could ever be. I didn’t come here to change your mind, lead you on and waste your time. You know, I won’t hold you back now, even though I could be good for you. It’s a feeling I don’t belong here, you got me asking myself how I got this far. It’s just the soul that matters, and I don’t know why, we were too torn apart now it seems so senseless. Just separated by ten thousand miles, you’re not alone…
Okay, four albums now.
Okay I’m done.
I’ve been writing a scene with rain, and so listening to rain sounds in my ears all day. The sound of rain and thunder is calming somehow, but also adventurous and somehow gives me a sense of potential, of mystery. What is out there in the rain and dark? What sounds could the pattering and rumbling be masking? It also brings with it a kind of sense of foreboding, or warning–though not necessarily in a bad way, but somehow a feeling that things are about to happen.
It’s interesting to me how much sounds and music can affect the ideas I have and how productive I am in my writing. Rain is definitely a good one, and I hope to find more. These sounds may become like tools in a chest or potions in a cabinet… can I find just the right one for each scene?
What do you listen to while writing, and what type of writing?
I find that when I’m aiming for a certain tone or vibe in my writing, it helps a lot to be listening to music that evokes the same feeling I’m going for. It puts my brain into the right gear and the visions of what I need to write come a lot easier.
What are you trying to write? If you imagine the scene as taking place on TV, what music would be playing in the background? Find something similar, and listen to it while you write. I can bet you it will improve your productivity.
I’ve been listening to the soundtrack for Under the Skin a lot lately. If you listen to it, I bet you can guess what kind of vibe I’m trying to give my story. The music certainly helps inspire ideas. Give it a try!