Music has the power to heal; to unite and to uplift. I forgot how powerful it was to take the time out of a busy (or not so busy) day, to listen to the songs that I hold dear. I will always remember my friend, Tam whose brother came down for one weekend to visit for her birthday. I had worked with Tam before and also been to uni with her so I knew most of her mates already, but as I was meeting Tams brother for the first time, we needed to break the ice; "what music are you into?" was the way it went and I'm sure you will be able to relate that this is a good place to start when you are in your early twenties, meeting random people. At the time i was heavily into Punk (3rd wave and ska) and Rock too but we had a conversation that on looking back, changed my life.
I told him that I one of the bands I liked was Incubus, to which he said, "Yer they are cool but in terms of vocals I like The Shins and (some other band I don't remember)". It was a casual comment, but a turning point for me. I don't write - nor have ever written a music review (apart from this one in 2001 - fourth from the bottom) but I must say that of the Shins, I would find it easy if I had to write about them - purely from my love for them. The vocals are harmonious, the lead and rhythm are somewhat underdone - which works for the style and the bassline is powerful yet subtle at the same time: beautiful and melodic. I loved them right away, more than dear Ricky Gervais's podcasts.
Appreciating music on all its levels is only something I can vounge for now. I didn't understand - when I was younger - that lyrics ARE audible and very important. Ask any Green Day fan and he'll tell ya what I mean. Some bands (metal bands in particular) make it difficult, if not impossible to decipher what the lyrics are. The lyrics are AS important as the music and this grasping this concept has changed my perspective - indeed, taste. I'm not particularly into rap or hip hop, but I must say I find the lyrics of G-Love and Special Sauce songs most uplifting and advanced in terms of how we the human race is portrayed, "Now come on everyone in this place come together, Wouldn't it be nice if we could all live together - forever, Finding our peace in unity, Destroying the notion of foolish vanities". Outside of that particular box wouldn't you say!
Some rap artists encourage the killing of homosexuals. Such 'artists' are banned from appearing at the Brit Awards. I wonder what the authorities in the US are doing? The currant administration is on the way out, so we will cut them a break. It is dangerous to not control in some measure what younger kids are hearing. Music is power. Like information. News networks and record producers be warned. You have a responsibility. In terms of music, I think we all have a right to know what our songs and bands are about. A given I hear you say? not always.. again, ask that Green Day fan. Inaudible lyrics, which works for the punk style, isn't a problem as luckily the songs are not all about killing homosexuals. Any fan can google his or her favourite song lyrics by the way.
It is 3 years since Tams Birthday and I still listen to the Shins, perhaps not daily, but I'd choose at least one of their songs for my funeral - how depressing a concept is that? Why so revered? Well to hear them makes me feel good - and on an emotional level, music has the power to make us feel good. Science will tell us that the sounds produce the release of the chemical serotonin into the body which makes us relaxed. Sure, why not? But it is a magical experience, spiritual, uplifting and centering.
Whatever your taste is, no-one has the right to make you feel less of a person because your collection isn't 'cool' enough. We follow a basic need: what feels right works for us. And besides, everyone's music collection will be 'boobytrapped' with at least one cheesy song! Mine will be apparent when you look at my top ten list:
1. Celebate Life - The Shins 2. Vision of You - Belinda Carlisle 3. Crush - Dave Matthews Band 4. Caring is Creepy - The Shins 5. Saint Simon - The Shins 6. Always Breaking my Heart - Belinda Carlisle 7. Lover Lay Down - Dave Matthews Band 8. The Reason - Hoobastank 9. What is Life? - George Harrison 10. Typical Situation - Dave Matthews Band
On the trail of tracking down the original and authentic 'om' sound, I hit a snag this week. The infamous Beatles song, 'Across the Universe' features the Om as part of the chorus: hitting note A7. Suffice to say I was happy to discover this and hoped I could confirm it was the definitive note. To support this finding I needed more examples and was lead to YouTube where I'm afraid to say I found many variations of the Om; hitting notes F, C, G - and in one instance C#.
Spiritual Yogi Dr. Acharya Yogeesh says of the Om, "The Om has the ability to connect you with [the] God.. You need to learn it.. this sound I always recommend.. all the time follow this sound just repeating in side of you, not saying it loudly it still benefits you - but if you repeat it in [a] certain way it will benefit you spiritually, mentally and physically" (see the video here)
If we are to follow the Yogis advice by 'repeating the sound inside' then we need to know what the Om sounds like and be able to reproduce musically the right note inside our head. To do this, there needs to be agreement on what the Om sounds like.
Surely a sound as meaningful and as sacred as the Om should sound the same wherever it is portrayed? Perhaps the uploading process inherent to YouTube distorts or changes the pitch of the video? I asked YouTube who told me, "the uploading process does not affect the pitch of users videos. Before a video is uploaded, the video length as well as audio stays the same. The only difference users sometimes experience is reduced quality in picture." Interesting, as this now puts a line under that question.
Perhaps I am overplaying the amount of importance over what note the Om should hit. Maybe just being open to a connection with God or being aware of an ability to open our chakras makes the Om so powerful. It is a shame the Yogi did not give an example of his version of the Om as it would have been interesting to see which note he hit. For now, I will go along with the Beatles version (unless proved otherwise) as I am sure musicians as experienced and revered as The Beatles, will know.