Even most of what I consider new stuff that I like well enough to spend money on I realize with a bit of disbelief is already 3-5 years old -- Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco!, The Faint. It’s kind of like when I realized not long ago that almost all of my go-to clothes were over ten years old. How do these things happen?
Yes, I’m old, but it seems very strange to me in a kind of weird way. Now, I know the cliché is that you get old, look to the younger generation, and say, “That’s not even music -- that’s just noise!!” I don’t have that. Not at all. Well, okay, there’s that death metal crap that Gator listens to sometimes where the lead “singer” is really just a lead growling throat screamer -- I mean, there’s no tune or anything! But I sort of digress. From the point I was choosing to make, anyway. Death metal notwithstanding, most new music bores the crap out of me. I mean, I can’t even stand to listen to the entire sample clip on Amazon. Bored! Moving on! Nothing remotely interesting happening here! It’s frustrating, not only because listening to the radio can become torture, but because it’s uncomfortable to talk to most people about new music. Inevitably, someone will start talking about some person or band that I know only because I remember that I couldn’t switch away from it fast enough, and I find myself cocking my head at this person and thinking, “How can you, who seem like such an intelligent person, actively listen to that crap on purpose???” And, yes, someday this intelligent person may be one of you darling people that I love.
So, actually, all of this is really just background for what I’m going to do next. I’m going to inflict my music opinion on you. Yes! More than I already have! But, you see, the great thing about doing this on a blog is that you can cock your head at me and wonder about my sanity safely behind my back. Or skip it altogether. You have so much control here!
I feel about music the same way I feel about literature and the visual arts. I don’t come for the technique. Yes, I understand that without some technical expertise the finished product will be crap, but I figure that kind of comes along with being a professional. You can have awesome technique and still produce a crappy final product. I also don’t come for the subtlety of tone in the third beat of the 41st measure or the artful metaphor on the last page of the sixth chapter. For the most part, I don’t come for an artist’s statement. I have a brain and can read primary source material. Soap box to somebody else. What I want is to be moved. It doesn’t have to be dramatic or life-changing. If I want more, you’ve got me. I don’t have to know why. Frankly, I don’t care why. I want something that strikes a chord. No deep analysis. It can be totally stupid and nonsensical, but it’s got to make me want to listen/read/see it again. Period.
Amazon has hundreds of free MP3 downloads that I sift through occasionally. I try to do it monthly, but I just realized that I hadn’t done it since about February. Oh, look! Sus sucks at being timely about something! And something she actually likes to do, even! Imagine that! (Egad, how do any of you even put up with me?) Here’s my extremely scientific methodology: I start the clip. Within about four seconds I decide, based on my level of boredom, whether I will commit to downloading the song or skip directly to the next clip. All the songs I download (this is a very small percentage) go into a playlist and onto Ippy, my iPod for a few days of repeated listening. Then I cull out the ones that are actually boring or otherwise annoying after all, and everything else goes in the permanent lineup. I’ve purchased a couple of albums due to this (BLK JKS, Har Mar Superstar) but, honestly, I often find that even if I like one or two songs by an artist, the rest of the album does nothing for me. So I play my free songs game and have a grand ol’ time.
And now I will
Without further ado, here are my picks for best free singles on Amazon.com, August 2010 version!
- Beautiful People by The Books. Freaky, geeky goodness. Mathy, numbery geeky goodness. Droning in a human computer kind of way. The horns at the end get me every time.
- Devil’s Got Your Boyfriend by Tracy Bonham. My hips can’t sit still during this one. And they don’t lie, kids. Deep, throaty and dark vocals. Bright, sweet, innocent overtones. Needs both, but they’re both there so we’re good. Very, very good.
- Diamonds are Forever by Chaka Khan. ‘Nuff said.
- Jennifer by Ashton Nyte. This guy sounds remarkably like Peter Murphy. I really like Peter Murphy. I’m not put off. But I’m not sure I can classify his as “new” to me because of it.
- Keep Your Eyes on the Road by Lone Wolf. Completely addicting. Great opening riff; not just you basic verse/chorus construction. Serial melodies, let’s call it. Probably the best of the bunch.
- Left of Center by Serj Tankian. Oh, you brilliant Armenian! Not as frenetic as most of his work with System of a Down (love!) but still full of his special brand of energy. Rock on with your bad self, Serj.
- Lost Weekend by The Qemists. Reminds me a great deal of The Faint which, for goth rock, is pretty rockin’ good. The Qemists are more upbeat and rowdy, though. I don’t know -- It’s hard and I like it.
- Mary Magdelena by Viva and the Diva. Imagine Sinead O’Connor became a caricature of herself (oh, wait…) and started singing with Concrete Blonde. I don’t know about you, but I’m interested. I wouldn’t want a whole album of it, but I’ll take this one and listen over and over and over…
- Requiem for a Dying Song by Flogging Molly. Irish punk rock. You just try to keep me still during this one.
- Suicide Messiah by Black Label Society. Now here’s some metal I can get behind.
- When I’m Wrong by Doc Hammer’s Weep. Nice mix of synthesizer and guitar. Reminiscent of The Church.
- Yes Yes Yes by Elsinore. Toe-tappin’ pop fun. Catchy and straightforward. Nothing wrong with that.
And there you have it! A selection of free mp3 downloads that I like. There are several whole sampler albums for free on Amazon as well (I especially like the middle eastern stuff), but that’s another post altogether. Maybe you’ll find something you like as well. If you do, please share!