Saturday, 26 May 2012

Modern music

I really don't know about the new blogger layout. It looks neater but I can't decide if it's better laid out. I also don't like that it takes you more steps to get from the editor to the blog.

I was watching Chuggaaconroy's Okami Let's Play just now. Scenario: Wolf-God called Amaterasu is the reincarnated form of a wolf called Shiranui, who slew the dreaded beast Yamata-No-Orochi 100 years ago, and died from the battle. Amaterasu goes back in time and ends up fighting the original Orochi along with the hero of legend, Nagi, and together, they defeat him, but in an act of vengeance, the spirit of the dead beast summons a boulder to crush Nagi. Just as you think Nagi is crushed, suddenly a beautiful white light appears, and it turns out that, supporting the rock while nearly dying himself, Shiranui himself has saved Nagi's life. The music that plays during this scene is the most beautiful, soul-reaching music that cuts down to the heart, and when I was watching this video about a video game - albeit an incredible one - I honestly felt close to tears, because the music is so beautiful and the sacrifice of Shiranui to save Nagi so touching. Don't give a crap what anyone says.

This is the theme of Shiranui, and I'm listening to it it again as I write this. No words, but who needs words? Excuse me while I pause writing....

Songs like this bring the ever-present question to my mind: what is there in modern music? The entirety of anything that I argue on the subject of music can be blown away in an instant by recognising the fact that tastes are subjective and certain people like different things. So I write this without the expectation that anybody should take it seriously, and honestly, I don't think you should. This is just the thoughts of one sixteen-year-old.

I was complaining earlier this evening about the song that I now know is called "Boyfriend" - I also didn't have any idea that it was written by Justin Bieber, I just can't stand that song. Whatever that noise is that undulates throughout the song and sounds like someone whistling in the background is creepy. The song is nothing new, it's the same thing every artist sings about - love and being the perfect guy for you etc. It's nothing new from what Bieber seems to sing about either. It's more than the quality of the music and the banality of it, but the way it comes across just grates on my nerves. It's a song that paints the picture of a shallow little pretty-boy who's really only in it for sex but wants to make it look like he's all about the love and "I'm the perfect boyfriend for you." I don't hate it because it's Justin Bieber, I hate it because in my head, it's a horrible, dull song.

This isn't isolated. The radio is on a lot, and I'm constantly hearing stuff that's in the charts, and every time, almost every song I hear makes me think "I hate modern music!" So many artists just sound exactly the same to me, the lyrics seem dull and uninspired, and the music, too, so samey. I think it's because to me, music is more important than words, which is why something like Shiranui's theme from Okami cuts deep, whereas Justin Bieber saying how if he was my boyfriend then he'd never let me go doesn't impress me.

There are lots of exceptions. There are great singers who stand out, have a distinctive, strong voice that you hear and you think "Oh, that's Adele" or "That's Florence!" There are beautiful, wonderful instrumentalists who write deep and passionate music that hits home with me. But modern music is just somewhere that I don't care about. It's dancing, parties, love, lust, drink, drugs, rap, beats, techno, girl bands, boy bands, teen sensations - I don't want any of that, I want good music. I don't mean that to disparagingly say that anything not on my favourite tracks list isn't considered music at all, what I mean is that I like it when the emphasis is placed on making deep music with emotion, who are trying to really get a message across, and not just be another popular, famous singer who makes it big and gets lots of fans. The singers and the guitarists and pianists and musicians of all kind who have something to say, and they play it, and god damn it do they play it well.

Those are the type of people who strike a chord with me.

~Love Leonidas

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


Unholy toast, this is the longest period in which I've not written a blog post ever.

I don't think we should confine people to strict labels of "male" and "female". That's my topic sentence for today from which hopefully all things shall flow - because of course, I never plan a blog.

On the one hand, I can see it from the point of view of society. We need labels, to help us function in every day life. How are we to go to the building that vends items of food, clothing and other such essentials if we have no way of referring to it, i.e. "shop"? And we have a very compulsive habit of labelling things where there is no label for them - taxonomy is a field entirely dedicated to a very meticulous process that does just this. There's even a dedicated nomenclature of astronomy for how new stars, planets and so on are to be named, from which area of mythology they can be taken, and look at the system that meteorologists use for hurricanes, recycling 26 alphabetical names in a certain order every so-many years. We have a society built on labels.

But labelling can go too far. For one, examples we should be vaguely familiar with are the insults hurled in the playground, in society at large, especially on the internet with the cover of anonymity. Labels of every black and awful kind hurled willy-nilly at people with no thought for who the people they're insulting really are. Maybe out of a desire to see the world conform to certain patterns gone too far. Maybe because they've been taught that every gay person automatically goes under the label "faggot". Maybe because they're bored on a Saturday evening and calling people "noobs" because they haven't spent as many years grinding Slayer on RuneScape as you have.

I started this blog with the idea that we shouldn't strictly conform to the idea of male and female. Beating a dead horse before I've really started on that one, given that the demarcation between genders is one of the oldest lines out there, but hey, it's 2012, we're a so-called "civilised society", so I'm gonna put it out there just the same.

I am male. In the sense that I was born with all the components of maleness. Yup, that included. But I don't hugely identify by it - my friends accept me as honorary girls, I consider myself one of the girls, and I can be very effeminate. I can also be emasculate at times - believe it or not, for anyone who knows me. Biologically, I'm a guy. In reality, I don't give a crap. I can call myself a blueberry pie if I want to and nobody's gonna stop me. If I wanted not to identify by the category of male, I don't see that that should be a huge problem.

Keight Fahr, BionicDance on YouTube, is a very fierce debater to be sure. I was reading a debate that she was taking part in where she was getting absolutely ballistic at the commenters on the topic of labelling, particularly if people want to call themselves "agnostic", then they should be able to. So argues Keight, there is no such thing as "agnostic". Labelling themselves as such is therefore false, and here's the important bit: that they should not be allowed to identify by a false label.

The example I gave before might strike as a bit silly, and it probably is. Talking about labels is just getting around the issue - the word given for the English language for someone of my gender of the human race is "male". If I decided to call myself "female", then that would be untrue because I'd be using a word to describe myself that doesn't fit to reality. If I call myself a "blueberry pie", again, there's no conformation to any kind of reality. Not that that stops me from saying random shit, but, I can see why people would argue against the point just the same.

But I think the agnosticism label is a lot more interesting. The popular argument is the the position of "agnostic" cannot exist on its own, i.e. you can't just say that you "don't know whether God exists or not," because anything that isn't belief is non-belief. Which is true in its strictest sense. But this ignores what people mean when they say the word "agnostic". What they mean is that they take a position which involves not taking up a proactive stance either for or against religion - they may see the issue of whether God exists from both sides, atheist and Christian. They may not think one side is necessarily wrong. They may think that it is not worth pursuing the question of God's existence at all, or that it is of no significance. This is a very distinct set of people from the group of people who assert "God exists" or "God doesn't exist", and people who argue against the possibility of agnosticism so often completely ignore this in trying to shoehorn these people into the category of "atheism". Yes, atheism as a word applies logically to their position. But does it best describe them or accurately represent their position? No. What word do they choose to accurately describe their position? Agnosticism. People say that it's not real, logical, or that it's just a way around saying that you're an atheist, but this is another example of people being overeager to classify everyone into certain groups. Agnostics generally don't fit into either group. So don't try to make them.

This post has not been very consistent at all and I'm sure you'll find pletny of errors, but I think the ultimate point I want to make out of this is that: sometimes, labels aren't for you to decide. Sometimes they're necessary, sometimes they aren't. And when they concern situations such as agnosticism, where people know their own position a lot better than you do, that's when you put away the dictionary and let them call themselves what they will.

Total Pageviews