Cultural Insider vs. Cultural Outsider – Week 3 – Ethnomusicology

Inside:

In 2005 an album was released that changed my life…I know it’s a big claim to make but it’s true. The band was MAE and the album was The Everglow. If you get a chance to listen to the entire album it’s worth the listen, and if you want to borrow it on vinyl, let me know. The entire album shares a common goal, telling a story. The insert that accompanied the Compact Disc was in fact a story book that the listener was suppose to follow along with as they listened to the album. It was an incredible story and disappoints few people.

I choose a song from this album because 1. I’ve had almost 14 years to digest it and 2. because the sound of this album is exactly what I love about music.

The song that I’m looking at in particular is “Somone Else’s Arms” which is the song that kicks off this rock record after the opening piano ballad. First of all, the structure of this song is so common and yet so unpredictable. The standard elements of form are present, there is a verse, chorus and bridge however, the song takes you by surprise by the pure musical genius arrangement of the instrumentation. Also, the predictable chord changes aid to the desire to be comfortable but the risky mixture of chords that don’t fit in the structure take you out of that comfortability for a brief moment. Next, the timbre of the guitars is so clean and bulky. It’s the perfect mixture of edgy and pop with a grudge base and alternative groove. After listening to the genius of the music, the lyrics that lay on top of the entire song are deep, heartfelt and actually have something to say. The lyrics throughout the entire record are contributing to the overall story of the character(s) which makes this song even more important because it’s setting up the story.

Finally, this song is just great and has a special place in my heart. Every time I hear it, it puts me in a nostalgic state which is one of those un-buyable riches. If you haven’t heard this song…or album for that matter, check it out below!

Outside:

I have much less to say about this style of music because it is out of my comfort zone. I first heard of this style of singing because it was mentioned in the show Frasier. I was so curious about what in fact it was that I had to explore it. I found that I did not like it.

The art of Throat singing is simply amazing however, it hurts my throat just thinking about it. Basically the way it works is the performer sings a bass note to lock in and then uses harmonic overtones to produce melodies with their throat.

It’s an amazing skill however, I don’t personally like it.

I do enjoy the timbre of the initial note from the performer but that enjoyment seems to slip away as my own throat starts to close up at the thought of pushing my vocal chords that hard.

I also have no relation to the form/structure to this style of singing, it’s constantly unpredictable to me which adds to my discomfort. I don’t understand why or how they sing like this but it’s obviously an incredible skill…it just gets to me in the wrong way. Check it out for your self!

Sources:

Mae