Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Commence Wailing

I've been listening to a lot of emo lately.  Not the acoustic guitar and whiny vocals variety, no.  More the big rock guitars, good beats, and whiny vocals variety.  I'm kinda surprised at myself.

See, when I first heard Fall Out Boy's "Sugar, We're Going Down," I realized that there was a new movement in music that I hated.  I hated it before it was a genre.  You could hear it coming in "Warning" by Incubus, for example.  The wailing vocal parts, sometimes atypical rhythms, lack of rhyme, things like that.  Eventually there were more and more songs with these long run-on sentences for titles, and all these clever lyrics.  When you're trying to be clever, it's really hard not to be annoying.

The first crack in my annoyance came when I saw the video for Fall Out Boy's "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race."  Again, long song name and lyrics that were clever to the point of being pushy... but the beat!  The song gets a good sort of Michael Jackson vibe going, then breaks into a fast pop-punk chorus, and it all works together.

Then, I played Prey.  Very well done, very innovative video game.  Beat the final boss, watched the denouement, and the credits begin to roll.  Over the credits plays "Take Me Home" by After Midnight Project, and I realize with a shock that it's definitely an emo song, and I definitely don't hate it.  The beat is steady and insistent, the guitar work skillful, the vocals emotive.  Then the chorus hits, and everything soars.

The thing about emo is that there's a much greater variety within the genre than I originally thought.  Songs like "Coffee's for Closers" by Fall Out Boy and "Welcome to the Black Parade" by My Chemical Romance are impressive for the sheer number of disparate elements coming together to make a good song.  Sometimes the depressing / bitter lyrics are coming at you in a major key.  Sometimes there are techno elements, sometimes horns.

I've found a lot of stuff I like through Pandora.  If you're curious, you can find other songs I like on this station.

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