This week’s playlist is 5 songs which have a positive message towards women that are not about sex, love and relationships. This list does not include any pop songs- there are thousands of pop songs which empower women, its easy to think of them straight away but a lot harder to find rock and other genres of music!
1. “Lady Madonna” – The Beatles (1968)
A song about a hardworking mother who overcomes the problems she faces each week and makes ends meet.
2. “Mama Said” – Metallica (1996)
One of my personal Metallica favourites, Hetfield opens his heart and sings about his mother, in particular about the unconditional love a mother has for her son.
3. “Fat Bottomed Girls” – Queen (1978)
The first song which came into my head when thinking about this playlist. I did consider if this song objectifies women but I think this song is not offensive, it’s a celebration about women who are not stick-thin, they make the rockin world go round!
4. “Facedown” – The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus (2007)
About a woman who has enough of her abusive partner and stands up for herself. Catchy song too, nice to see a young band writing about such a subject.
5. “Keep Your Head Up” – Tupac Shakur (1993)
About equality! This song has a positive message towards women and shows concern about the lack of respect shown towards women.
After a lovely reading week which turned out to be a brilliant balance of study, work, play AND industry experience (see recent post where I described my day recording location audio on a film set!), I’m all set and raring to start back to college (part 2 of semester 1) in the morning!
I’ve spent the last 6 weeks preparing for my music production project and tomorrow morning we go into the recording studio to start tracking! It’s an early start and I hope to record cajon, a guide vocal and acoustic guitars. I’ve chosen to realise a new Shock Sorrow song called “December”, myself and Keith Caffrey composed during the summer.
I’m very excited to have my classmate and good friend Shane Taaffe play cajon and new friend, bass master Ciarán O’Brien play double bass on this recording! I’ve never recorded both instruments before and I’m very excited! Keith Caffrey will of course be singing lead vocal, playing guitar parts (yes, a solo!) and a secret percussion instrument! 😉 I will of course be playing a small bit of guitar and maybe piano if I’m lucky, my regular studio partner Shauna Kearney will be assisting me (I can’t imagine being in studio without her actually!).
My mind is racing from the sheer excitement of this project and I’m getting ideas all over the place! “Oooh wouldn’t it sound great if I did this!” and “I’d love to slip in a little harmony there!”, it’s so easy to get carried away! The main point of this recording is to capture the sounds as accurately as possible, get the sounds right at the source! “I’ll fix it in the mix” attitude is bye-bye, out the window! There are of course plenty of other criteria to check, good production, instrumentation, record with hardware compression (mmmm Avalon baby) etc!
My primary aim is to record a polished studio version of this song that includes a full band of musicians but with a stripped back approach.
I aim to not only meet the instrumental requirements of this project brief but also extend beyond that by capturing one or two additional instruments and vocals, creating a sonically interesting and more varied recording.
I also aim to create a pleasant and relaxed working environment and enjoy a successful recording process.
I will post a blog tomorrow night about how the session went!
In other news I got to play an Irish harp tonight! I had such fun! Shane Taaffe is one seriously gifted musician, I already knew he is very talented with a guitar, cajon, voice, anything musical he puts his hands to, but I never got to hear him play Irish harp before now. Wow! I could have listened to him all night! Such beautiful music he played. I’m a big Irish trad fan from my fiddle days and lately my influences have been creeping back into my solo material. He played beautiful Turlough O’Carolan tunes, airs, reels and even treated me to “Nothing Else Matters” (Metallica), I pretty much just melted into the floor by then!
So! Expect a future recording featuring Shane Taaffe on the harp! I would dearly love to compose a traditional piece myself and record it. This will happen!
Off to pack my school bag and equipment bag for tomorrow, where’s that list I penned up? 🙂
This week’s blog considers the role of the teenager in society over the past 100 years and the importance of popular music to the teenager.
Popular music became a commodity in the early 20th century with the invention of radio and the mechanical reproduction of music. In 1927 the B.B.C created their music department, broadcasting new and different styles beyond community-based music into homes across the U.K. Music became a personal possession to be enjoyed at will, not just at church at other family events.
The concept of the teenager is relatively new. Before the 1940’s, children finished primary school and went straight into the world of work. 12 year olds were fast tracked into adulthood and responsibilities. Fun and free-time were unheard of. Only the privileged finished secondary school during the 1940’s and those who did attend school, had to work after school hours.
In the years following World War II, British popular music was nonexistent. Society had changed and teenagers had expendable income. The fresh, exciting music of white performers such as Elvis Presley became dominant on radios and television screens instantly. Rock n roll was a commercial product. Artists connected with young people by dressing like them and for the first time ever, young people felt they could relate with music stars. The performances of Elvis were broadcast on television with shots of the excited and emotional faces of the audience, young people were an integral part of the show. These pictures showed other fans how to respond to rock n roll.
But rock n roll was not without controversy. It’s musical origins were founded in African/American music and it was associated with devil dancing and black magic rituals. Parents were outraged, it caused damage to the moral fabric of white U.S society and record companies attempted to clean up the image of rock n roll.
The exciting nature of the music combined with the newly discovered artist/fan connection created a desire among teenagers to rebel against their parents, dress differently, go dancing, have fun.
This trend for desire for rebellion and opposition to parents continued every decade with new genres of music. Music became the voice for the youth generation and became very important with one’s identity and expression.
But does this still exist today? Is music still as important to today’s teenagers as a voice? My personal belief is no, music is not as important for expressing the desire for rebellion and parental opposition.
I have asked my 14 year old sister (on Facebook!) some questions regarding her feelings about music. She listens to all types of popular music, neither preferring one genre to another, her iPod holds dance, pop, rock, dubstep and indie music. She’s told me that teenagers can’t go a day without listening to music and that music itself is important to her and her peers. She doesn’t believe teenagers listen to music to rebel anymore, she adds that “loud” teenagers generally listen to dance and trance music because these genres are played in the discos.
Perhaps at 14 years of age, rebellion isn’t something teenagers have even considered yet.
When I was 13/14 I listened to the pop music of the charts (The Corrs and Robbie Williams pretty much sums it up!), I enjoyed the Corrs because I was learning violin and thought it was cool that a pop band incorporated Irish traditional style melodies with pop and rock and also the fact they were from Dundalk, only 20 minutes up the road from my house! I remember it was my Dad who gave me their first album “Forgiven Not Forgotten”.
But the first genre of popular music I became independently interested in was hard rock. I was 15 and just started Transition Year in school. I was making new friends (I was previously very shy and quiet and spent my lunchtimes in the library!) and these people introduced me to hard rock. I have already talked about this introduction to rock music in a post last week.
I liked the guitars (I had just started learning guitar) and the fast paced music. I remember loving the look of horror on my parents faces when I told them I thought Metallica were brilliant! They were shocked and thought it was literally the devil’s music! I remember watching a VHS (yes a video tape!) at home of Metallica and my Dad walking in, giving out that I was listening to such music. A week later the VHS machine broke and he blamed the Metallica tape for ruining the machine! He said James Hetfield was inside the machine and personally broke it on purpose! Of course, this was partly in jest (my Dad was not THAT crazy! haha!)
But this music became my identity for my teenage years and early twenties. My fashion was Metallica t-shirts, various dog collar necklaces, studded bracelets, fishnet tights, ripped jeans (flared of course) and of course long, long hair. It was very important to me to express myself as a rocker (or “Rock Head” my Dad used to call me!) and this was very apparent in my own creativity in music.
In my late teens I joined a girl rock band in Dublin and my rocker personality had a huge influence on the group. For my audition in the Temple Bar Music Centre (now called the Button Factory) I played Metallica’s “The Four Horsemen” for them. I remember the look of pure surprise on their faces and that satisfied me, it was unusual 10 years ago for a girl to play heavy metal guitar and that made me feel unique.
It’s safe to say I still enjoy this kind of music. My musical taste has broadened a lot since then. I never purely committed myself to rock/metal as a teenager, I did secretly continue to listen to the Corrs and various other pop/dance artists. I still deeply love the music of Metallica and other hard rock artists but I do find myself seeking out new rock bands these days. My fashion sense has also broadened since! It’s actually pretty rare that I wear a band t-shirt these days, but I when I go out I still wear the smokey eye makeup, teased hair and rocker boots! I still keep photographs of Metallica on my wall.
This week’s blog is a discussion of my favourite and least favourite genre of music. Let’s start with my favourite musical genre- rock!
I have been a fan of rock music since I was 15 years old when I became friends with a girl who was already a huge fan. She introduced me to the music of Led Zeppelin and I became completely absorbed in their music very quickly. At the time I was starting to learn electric guitar and this music inspired me greatly to play and progress.
Not long after this, she introduced me to the music of Metallica, the first song I heard was “The Unforgiven” and I fell in love immediately with the gorgeous Spanish guitar introduction and the hard, heavy verses. I had never heard Metallica before this and I remember being so shocked that the band I had always thought of as being the hardest, heaviest, scariest band in the world, could compose something so haunting and deeply beautiful. This was the real turning point in my musical taste and I became completely obsessed with everything Metallica related!
This newly discovered passion for heavy music inspired me to seek out other similar hard rock bands including Rammstein and other forms of rock music. Nu-metal in particular dominated the heavy metal magazines Metal Hammer and Metal Edge and television channels Kerrang! and Scuzz back then. It was mostly through these television channels that I discovered new rock music. The Internet had little or no role in my discovery of music, back then I had only a dial-up connection and wasn’t really allowed to be online anyway!
I still enjoy rock music very much and in particular the music of Metallica and Rammstein. I find their style of music appealing for many reasons, starting with their guitars. I have a deep appreciation for their guitar skills and sounds. I love their style of playing, those chug-chug, heavy, fat riffs, yes they are mechanical and rigid but that appeals greatly to me (see “Devil’s Dance” from Metallica’s 1997 Reload album YouTube link below). I also love their clean, shimmering guitars, always rich in beautiful chords. Rock music in essence is guitar-driven music and that is the number one reason I listen to so much of it.
I usually like the vocal styles of rock singers, I like how grainy and edgey vocalist’s sound and how they combine great, catchy melodies with anthemic phrases. Usually the lyrics stand for something and mean something deep. Take this Fozzy track below for this melodic, rock vocal combined with excellent guitar riffage and those shimmering guitar sounds:
I am a huge fan of hard rock audio production, I love the full wall-of-guitars sound, the huge drum kit with the clear kick drum and cracking snare drum, the raw vocal and warm bass.
Apart from the musical characteristics and audio production of rock music, I’ve always liked the image that came with it. I like the alternative and rebellious fashion combined with moody facial expressions. Full of attitude.
Since my awakening to rock music, I have always viewed this genre as an authentic one. Bands that write and play their own music is greatly important to me and this is of course, the fundamental element in rock bands. Bands work as a unit, they eat, sleep, breathe their own music and work extremely hard to finish their albums. Similar to the indie bands as discussed in this week’s tutorial, rock band members are friends and are from the working class, these being more key elements of their authenticity.
Now on to my least favourite genre of music! This probably comes as a shock considering my favourite genre of music is rock, but I really can’t tolerate death metal! Sorry to all you lovers of death metal! I mean no disrespect in any way! It is simply a genre of music I don’t “get”.
The number one reason I dislike this genre of music is the vocal technique. I can never understand any of the lyrics and I dislike the lack of lead vocal melody, but of course, the music itself doesn’t allow for lead vocal melodies because of the genre defining speedy, frantic guitar riffing and pounding drumming. I don’t like the deep, screaming style. Even when the music itself is down tempo and actually appeals to me, the vocal style just doesn’t work for me. I can’t listen to it. I also don’t like the imagery the bands portray, I find them scary and sometimes grotesque.
Being a rock fan, I can certainly relate to the fans of this style of music though! I appreciate the incredible skill of the musicians who perform these complex riffs and masterclass techniques, I understand the hours upon hours of practise these musicians put into their rehearsals and I marvel at their abilities. I’m sure the fans love death metal for these reasons and probably also for the fact that these bands are real people making their own music, just like my favourite rock musicians. Death metal is every bit as authentic as rock music in my personal opinion.