All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…

Day #5: Some thoughts on mainstream music…

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Back in the day I used to visit the cinema, on average, once a week. If I could spare the time from work I would watch two or three films in a day. The same could be said for television, aside from the shows I have no interest in (anything that falls under ‘reality’, The Sopranos, anything that is or resembles Packed to the Rafters), I would keep up to date with everything, whether that meant watching it on first screening or catching up via a DVD marathon.

Given I always wanted to enter this field and I have a massive passion for well written, well produced, original story-telling, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to anyone.

When it came to music I was a latecomer (although I listened to many CDs and artists growing up, courtesy of my father’s love of this medium) it wasn’t until I began travelling and explored my interest in folk/folk-rock did I begin developing a passion for this art form.

By the time I arrived in Australia I was a bone-fide music lover with one of the most insanely eclectic musical tastes of anyone I knew. At the time of losing it my iTunes collection had several hundred thousand tracks across nearly a hundred genres; although the majority of this music would never (unless you travelled to a parallel universe) be considered mainstream.

I never had a hatred of mainstream music it was just something I didn’t connect with emotionally. And for me to truly love something I need to have an emotional connection with it. From time to time I would catch a song on the radio that I would like and make sure I added it to the collection but after a few weeks it would sit on the hard drive gathering digi-dust, never to be played again.

Whereas music from artists that most have never heard of (e.g. Runrig, Serena Ryder, Peatbog Faeries, Salsa Celtica, Malcolm Middleton, Josh Ritter, Paul Mounsey, The Walkabouts) was played with such frequency I learnt every lyric, key change, beat and breath. This was mostly due to these (and other) artists becoming a source of great inspiration for my writing, which given the genre I was writing and characters born from the shadows of society, a mainstream soundtrack was rarely called for.

Now, the majority of the radio shows I listen to fall under news and opinion (Radio National, ABC Local Radio, ABC News 24) and I simply don’t have the funds to purchase music the way I once did. If you were to ask me the last mainstream song I heard, it would probably be Adele’s Someone Like You, which reminds me of the last boarding house I was in; another of the residents would listen to his radio constantly and this song seemed to be played every three or four minutes (quite a feat considering it’s a five-minute track!)

On the occasions I catch music playing in shops my reaction is 95% of the time the same. I find myself overwhelmed with a sudden urge to ram ear-plugs so deep into my ear canals I run the risk of never hearing again. I can’t stand the poor-excuse that passes for lyrics, I abhor manufactured boy/girl bands, Justin Bieber’s hair bugs me, rap is ARRGGHHH and the chances are whatever song you’re listening to will be from an artist that the world will have forgotten this time tomorrow, such is the rotation of shows like The X Factor, [Insert country of choice]’s Got Talent, The Voice and whatever other reality talent shows exist that I’ve never – nor want to – heard of.

So, to say my opinion of mainstream music isn’t very high would probably be an understatement :)

However, there are always exceptions to every rule:

P!nk
My love of P!nk has been well documented over the years. She is probably the only ‘mainstream’ artist I would purchase on the day of release.

Beyoncé
Brilliant, inspiring, admirable, magnificent, [insert positive adjective of choice]

Adele
However much the aforementioned song reminds me of a terrible period of my life, her talent is undeniable.

Kelly Clarkson
‘Never Ever’ is an eternal reminder of the highs/lows of Adelaide 2007. Possibly the only talent show contestant I rate highly.

But I’m always open to suggestions. Do you have any favourite mainstream artists that are worth checking out?

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13 thoughts on “Day #5: Some thoughts on mainstream music…

  1. Triple J fan myself, saves me from a lot of the mainstream stuff that is played to death! Especially love the ‘Like a Version’ covers which are often brilliant and come with more feeling.
    To answer your question, Missy Higgins comes to mind. ‘Sound of White’ is hard to beat as a album full of feeling and depth of emotion, but her later albums still have some great pieces like her latest hit “Everyone’s Waiting” which I think talks about her struggle to meet the expectations of listeners for more hits.

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    • Thanks for the comment.

      I used to love Missy Higgins. I’ve only heard the ‘Sound of White’ album, none of her later stuff, although I think she did an interview with Dom Knight a few months ago where she played a few tracks. Must make an effort to see if I can find her recent offerings. I should probably listen to Triple J a little more. There’s only so much news and opinion one can take in a day. :)

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  2. Interesting post! I like people whose taste stray from the mainstream. The only thing I disagree with is, why didn’t you like the soprano’s? lol

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    • Two words: Organised Crime. There is nothing more of a turn off to me than this. I’ve seen Goodfellas, The Godfather Trilogy etc. but no matter how much people rave about it, I’ve never watched an episode of The Sopranos as I just get caught up on the organised crime. Same goes for Boardwalk Empire, even though it stars two of my favourite actors: Steve Buscemi and Kelly MacDonald.

      One day I’ll get over my issue with this topic, watch both series – and no doubt start raving about how magnificent they are and why I didn’t watch them sooner! :)

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  3. Hi Addy

    Over the last couple of weeks I have been listening to Florence and the Machine’s album “Ceremonials”. Possibly not classed as main stream band though…

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    • Florence and the Machine’s albums are definitely on my list of “want to hear properly”. I’ve heard some of their tracks on the Internet over the years but haven’t had the chance to sit down and listen to them properly. One day, I hope I will :)

      I would class them in the strange hinterland that is alternative-mainstream. Not in the mainstream like One Direction but nowhere close to the alternative that is Arab Strap.

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      • You’ve got me there!

        But hey, given my own first boy band member crush hails back to the dark ages (Tony Hadley – Spandau Ballet) there is possibly not a lot I can add to Mainstream band suggestions. At least none that I’ll admit to ;-)

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  4. Pingback: 31 days of randomness personal inspiration day 17 – Where is the love? | rfljenksy – Practicing Simplicity

  5. Mainstream music is definitely getting sadder. eg. Gangnam Style. No. 1 in 33 countries and you cannot escape it! Pink is awesome. Her albums always satisfy. I hear Adele is very talented, but I dont really know her music off the top of my head. Im the same. I have some non-mainstream favourites that I have been listening to for years that will always rock whatever they do! Kat :)

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    • Proof of my lack of mainstream music knowledge: I have no idea what you’re talking about when you say ‘Gangnam Style No.1’. I’m tempted to track it down on Youtube but I fear it would not be a good idea :)

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