Stirring music

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by Larry F, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    In the 70s, I believe, Leonard Bernstein made an interesting comment. Bernstein was the conductor of the New York Philharmonic for many years and a composer in his own right, including West Side Story. Among many of the avant-gardish and academic composers, he was regarded as a sort of lite composer. By the way, when I say "academic" composers, I mean that as a label that people in classical music will easily understand, and I do not view it as a criticism, and not because I am one. I suppose I could say European-influenced, but some would find that offensive. I could also say that he was a tonal composer in an era when tonality was regarded as old hat and conservative. Tonality has a specific definition that I won't go into here, but google will help explain that to anyone interested, I'm sure.

    Anyway, he said one thing that has stuck with me for a great many years. He said something like, "whatever music is like now, it is not noble." Adopting one of my personas, I could probably argue against that as a valid generalization, but, since it is a very cool notion, I'll let it stand.

    In a current thread about the first concert readers attended, I got started on a long, long rant about the demise of rock music. While writing, I happened to hear The Boys Are Back in Town in a TV commercial. That prompted me to ask if there is anymore stirring music these days. By stirring music, I mean songs like:

    Don't Dream, It's Over
    The Wind Cries Mary
    Little Wing
    Layla
    I'm a Loser
    Help!
    Like a Rolling Stone
    Kicks (P. Revere and the Raiders)
    Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby (Standing in the Shadows)
    Under My Thumb (music, definitely not the words)
    Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
    In a Silent Way
    Wichita Lineman
    Shades of Grey (Monkees)
    Samba Pa Ti
    Foggy Mountain Breakdown

    I'm trying to think of blues, which surely has some stirring songs, but I'm blanking under the pressure of people challenging me on the above. Notice that I am not putting great songs, slow songs, emotional songs on the list if they are not stirring to me. Notice also that they have great chords.

    So, two issues. First, I would be interested in hearing about songs you think are stirring. Second, I would be interested in hearing about stirring songs from the last few years. I am a terrible person to make the claim that recent music has little in the way of stirring song, because I listen to so little recent music.
     
  2. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Right now I'm working out my version of Gentle On My Mind. It stirs me.

    Other possible candidates from my paltrey repertoire: Desperadoes Waiting for a Train, Born to Love Me, I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry, Love Will Keep Us Alive, Crying, I Fall to Pieces, I'll Be Your Baby Tonight, Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, Mona. . . . I wrote one called My Song for Harry, that came out pretty good in that regard, I think.

    This seems pretty subjective. What stirs me might not stir you, and vice versa. It takes me a long time to learn a new song, so I try to come up with the most stirring rendition I can of any song I learn, and I try to choose only songs that move me in some way.

    Don't you think most songs were stirring in the first place, to the people who wrote them?
     
  3. jonnyfez

    jonnyfez Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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  4. jonnyfez

    jonnyfez Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Few others from recent years:

    Arcade Fire - My Body is a Cage, Keep the Car Running
    Avett Brothers - If It's the Beaches
    Beck - Lost Cause
    Neko Case- Look for Me
    Brandi Carlisle - Raise Hell
    Elliot Smith-Bottle Up and Explode
    Radiohead-There, There, Nude, Jigsaw Falling Into Place
    Wilco -Impossible Germany, One Wing
    Ryan Adams-Come Pick Me Up

    Just a few that stir me.
     
  5. bossking7

    bossking7 Tele-Afflicted

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    The Black Keys.
     
  6. raito

    raito Poster Extraordinaire

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    Stirring in the last few years, eh? Let's see what *I* find stirring from recent memory...

    What Do You Love More Than Love - Dar Williams
    Pull Shapes - The Pipettes (yeah, the music more than the words)
    Love's A Game - The Fabulous Harmonaires
    Casting My Spell - Coco Montoya (yeah, an older song, but this version is newer)
    Home - Marc Broussard

    There's probably other recently, but as they're newer, they don't spring to mind as easily as the older ones.

    As for stirring songs in general, there's probably thousands. That's part of the reason I like music.
     
  7. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Now, I'm not saying that good, even great, songs are necessarily stirring. I'm trying to posit a type of music. For example, I love, love, love Charlie Parker, but as I am rooting around my brain areas, I hear and feel ecstatic a lot for him, but stirring isn't among what I am hearing for him. Well, now as soon as I write it, I have a counter-example. I know it is not the favorite of a lot of people, but there's a Charlie Parker and Strings, or something, record that has April in Paris, Autumn in New York that would pretty fit what I am thinking of. Since I can't define stirring at all, the best I can do is offer my examples. What quality do these songs have that others don't? And "others" can certainly include better songs, ecstatic music, jaw-dropping, ground-breaking, awe-inspiring, etc. A Day in the Life and Good Vibrations are the two most moving songs of all for me. But I don't find them stirring in the way that the others on my list are. I would say Don't Dream, It's Over is probably the most stirring song of all for me, but no way is it my favorite or is the best.

    So, no to the question of whether every song is stirring to the person who wrote it. That doesn't diminish the song one iota.

    As a classical type composer, I have great belief in my music as I am writing it, and everything in the world tied up in it. But only a few times have I had the experience that I will try to convey. When I am writing such a passage, I am scared. I stop and sit there for a half hour or so before listening to it again, or modifying or extending it. I am weightless and want to jump out of my skin. One time, I was quasi-dancing/conducting with my whole body, and crying. And my wife was at the foot of the stairs in the dark watching this. Arrch. And I'll reiterate my point: this wasn't the best music I've ever written. Although when this kind of music is soft and quiet, I swear an entire audience doesn't even seem to breathe. In a performance when an audience member shifts in the seat, I am devastated and I wonder where I went wrong.
     
  8. CaptainSensible

    CaptainSensible Tele-Meister

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    Rock music died with the first round of punk. Everything since is now completely and obviously derivative of some prior rock genre. Which is why so much music sounds the same anymore. Music in the sixties sounded largely different than that of the prior decade. Same goes for the 70s and 80s. Since the 90s, so much of popular music has either sounded the same (e.g., pop music from 1994 sounds a lot like pop music from 2004) or like a pale rehash of something that came earlier. Granted this statement encompasses gross generalizations which ignores some outliers, but you get my point.

    All that said, I think U2 has put out some decently stirring songs over the years (e.g., One, With Or Without You), if not necessarily recently.
     
  9. Joe Sailor

    Joe Sailor Tele-Afflicted

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    As far as stirring songs go, The Who, and Springsteen come to mind,
    Baba O'Riley
    My Generation
    Born to Run
    Is it a function of age? Do we find songs from a period of personal development stirring? High school, service, college?
    Are songs from the 90's really not stirring, or was I too busy changing diapers to be moved?
    I personally agree with the premise that songs since the punk movement are not stirring. Does anyone find 90's boy bands or Spicegirls stirring?
    Sure there must be a few exceptions to the rule,
    Counting Crows, Me and Mister Jones
    But I am blanking on the 2000's being stirring.
    Larry, being able to write something so moving must be akin to the birth of a child, full of promise and hope.
     
  10. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

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    From the Irish low budget film Once (2007) there's this song that won an Academy Award. It stirred me. ;)

     
  11. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Anything Lenny said was genius.

    As a people, we're no longer noble. Our art reflects that. It's very sad actually.
     
  12. dblues

    dblues Tele-Holic

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    I have often contemplated this. It's a joyful experience to discover something new that's moving or even to listen to an old favorite that still still has the magic. Disappointing to check out something that comes recommended or that you remember liking and coming away without the desire to listen to it again. What happened? Did I change or did the music? Is it a moving target? Maybe we're like old junkies that need more and more but can't find it in the same old places.

    I do find going to see live music helps. Easier to feel emotionally engaged and interested in hearing more.
     
  13. King Creole

    King Creole Friend of Leo's

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    It's all a function of age. Except in rare moments, adults are incapable of being stirred the way an adolescent can. My teenage niece is so wonderfully obsessed with the musician Jack White, in the same way that girls my age were obsessed with Robert Smith of the Cure, for example. And as a teenager, I was completely convinced that my copy of the Allman Brothers at the Fillmore East had the power to save my soul. Now I listen to it and feel a little something and think only "Yes, that's quite good."

    So when people in their middle age think that the music today doesn't feel as urgent or stirring as the music of the past, we are talking about our own capacity to be stirred and not about the music at all.
     
  14. mrboson

    mrboson Tele-Afflicted

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    Everything has changed, and without getting into what is responsible for the change (because there are no politics or religion in this forum), we should be able to see that the culture is vastly different than it was in the past. Our society's values changed over time, and quite a large percentage of my generation and older would agree that it is for the worse, not the better. Music and TV and movies (and lots of other art forms) have changed to reflect the new values, and again I (and my generation and older) could say, not for the better.

    I don't believe that music of today is capable of stirring much of anything, even if some of it can be recognized as great. Modern music lovers have become jaded and desensitized. The arts (especially music) have followed this and had to become more and more outrageous in order to attract followers. Music that is "stirring" is that way because something authentic has been put into it that speaks to people's values. Today's music can't afford to that, because that is not what gets it to stand out from the bazillion other entertainment options people have. I can't think of any recent examples of stirring music.
     
  15. jazztele

    jazztele Poster Extraordinaire

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    That's the first song that I thought of too...it's the suggestion of the Fmaj7#11 that the melody does...beautifully done, really gets the emotions going.
     
  16. basher

    basher Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    The first band that popped into my mind when I read the word "stirring" was Baroness.

     
  17. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    BAGPIPES
     
  18. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Friend of Leo's

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    I thought about this question when it first came up, and there are some challenges for me - what stirs me may not (won't) have the same impact.

    But I think this one is pretty stirring - the combination of urgent backing vocals, a couple of guitar parts going on - a nice clean chord part, nice single note lines happening that lead to the next bits, a good vocal performance from Julian Casablancas.



    anyway YMMV
     
  19. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    Another vote for #11 here. ;)
     
  20. hekawi

    hekawi Poster Extraordinaire

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    Bernstein, you say....

     
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