Sunday, October 31, 2004

"What kind of music do you like, Wendy?"

My teeny brother of 11 came into my room a few weeks ago, all psyched-up, with a free-gift mp3 player in his prepubescent hand, asking me what software I use to download songs into my Clie.

I thought of Kazaa and its alarming perils. ALL THE PORN! I imagined "Big dick cums into blonde girl with big titties mouth blah blah blah" all popping up when he searches for an innocent 5566 song, and told him that my songs are, indeed, all sang by a talented songbird - myself. Which is a blatant lie of course.

I then told him I could transfer those songs for him if he wanted, into his mp3 player, for him to share with his frisky little friends while they play five-stones.

He shook his head in a scandalised manner and hurried out of my room, mumbling something about "bathroom", "had enough", and "sound like banshee".

I shouted after him, "Don't download Kazaa, it doesn't let you download songs!!!!".

I hope my warning is dire enough.

A few days after, momo (that's what I call my mom) appeared and said that the mp3 player is rendered pretty obselete and asked me to teach my brother how to download Ou de yang's songs.

WHAT THE? Ou De Yang? Surely hearing him from TV is more than sufficient to appreciate his music?

I lightly talked about how 11 year old kids should not 1.commit piracy (until much later at least so less songs get pirated) and 2. will get exposed to porn and MOMO DOES NOT WANT THAT, DOES SHE? for 3 hours.

Momo gave up.

A few days later, the hall was flooded with Ou De Yang's voice.

Turns out Clinton the Rich (that's my bro's name) has bought the real, true blue authentic Ou De Yang CD.

Following this incident, my brother would sometimes come into my room with his gameboy in hand, listening to my radio tuned to MediaCorp Radio Y.E.S 93.3FM (that's the correct way to write that and I know coz I used to work for Today remember?) and asking me about Mandopop singers.

Then it suddenly hit me.


I took a look at him, and contemplated telling him ... Why even start listening to Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng and Jay Chou and Fish Leong and whoever?

I should offer him a plate, and ask him to take his pick of one of the following:

1) Trance
2) House
3) Progressive House
4) Techno
5) Jazz
6) Classical
7) Rock
8) Whatever, I don't know ... anything as long as it is not bubblegum pop.

and choose one type of music as his favourite type of music. Hell, how about starting a soft rock/jazz/blues/oldies band now?

I realised that when I was 11 myself, I was crazy about the Chinese singers (read: Jeff Chang).

I don't know about the other races, but my Chinese classmates then were crazy about 93.3FM too, and we had great fun singing Andy Lau together in playgrounds until one day we were still singing Andy Lau when a pervert sat beside us on the merry-go-round and wanked furiously and we no longer sang at playgrounds because the world is not so pretty afterall. [True story]

As I grew up, when I was around 15 or so, I realised that some of said classmates have suddenly switched to MediaCorp Radio Perfect 10 98.7FM.

Eileen, for example, is one of them. She no longer listened to bubblegum CHINESE pop and switched to ENGLISH pop.

Fast forward a few years, and Eileen now thinks that music without words are much more preferable - i.e progressive house. This is the kind of music that can move her, and can really make her feel.

Eileen is one of those true appreciators of house music - which is coincidentally the reason why she clubs at Zouk.

I hardly believe that the bulk of people who listen to such "vogue", or special if you please, categories of music are sincere lovers. More about poseurs later.

I don't know since when, but out of a sudden Mandopop is regarded with disdain. Mandopop listeners are losers, and people with no sense of music whatsoever. Ditto for the English Pop scene as well. We are generic, we are .... just following the crowd and liking whatever is popular.

Your idol is who? Britney Spears? Ashlee Simpson? F4? My gawd, you are 20 and you like them? What is wrong with you, they can't sing and they don't even write their own music! You are a LOSER. Grow up, bubblegum pop is for the 10-15 age range! Blah blah.

Only if you appreciate Josh Groban, (I can't think of more examples), and etc REALLY talented but not synthesized, packaged and marketed singers are you a true music lover. Otherwise, you are grooving for the sake of grooving.

Correct me if I am wrong, but since when is music ever relevant to maturity? I still like my childhood songs like Somewhere Over The Rainbow as much as I did when I was a kid.

Personally, my taste for music has always been slanted towards Chinese music - because I sincerely enjoy 5566 more than limp bizket or Beatles or Urgh, help me out here. I feel comfortable hearing Jay Chou and I like him. So there.

Nowadays, when people ask me, "What kind of music do you like, Wendy?" I go into a semi-frenzy.

I know if I say, "I like ... normal Chinese songs." I will get raised eyebrows. So I just patronise by saying, "I don't really have a perference, I'm ok."

In which, the person I am talking to is very likely to continue by saying, "I am really into jazz and punk rock" or whatever obscure genre he claims he likes, the more obscure the better because it proves his taste is not common; common and plebeian like the rest of the teenagers following the crowd to idolise Avril Lavigne and her like.

But really - is it impossible to like popular pop music and be ... not just "following the crowd"?

I say, very likely, because it is getting more and more difficult, with society's increasing pressure, to admit that you like bubblegum pop.

From this, we see a reverse phenomenon happening.

The people who like the obscure branchs of music are the real losers (not all, relax). Many people choose to like Jazz, for instance, when it became the thing to listen to. They say jazz is comfortable, jazz is soothing, and jazz makes them feel relaxed.

Oh yeah? Then why didn't you like Jazz before Norah Jones, Michael Buble etc went into the media limelight?

The truth - jazz is associated with lounges, clubs, coolness, Heineken Green Room sessions and basically appreciated by the "musically inclined connoisseurs". People want to be seen in that light too, no? They want people to think that they are not mindless followers.

Of course amongst these people there are sincere lovers of these special genres of music, like Eileen, for instance.

But among so many young people like myself suddenly switching their tastes for music faster than you can say "hypocrite!", I wonder how many are being truthful to themselves.

For myself, I shall hereby announce that I do like bubblegum pop (for instance I find Britney's Toxic a rather catchy song), and I am not ashamed of my taste. If you say that I am not exposed to enough jazz/rock/house/whatever yet, you are quite wrong because I do think I have heard them all, enough to give all the different genres a chance anyway.

Jazz makes me sleep. House irritates my eardrums as it pounds away. I don't understand the point of rapping - sounds like chattering to me. Piano tunes make me sleep. But Jay Chou - he makes me smile as I picture pretty strawberries and pristine sunshine with youthful love.


So stop asking me what kind of music I like, because my answer is bound to disappoint you.

(Hi there, if you want to comment! My entry is written in haste and I might not have got musical terms correct, so kindly correct me where I am wrong. Also, if I have contradicted myself ... ah, forgive me - even as I siphon out my thoughts I felt quite lost so it must have reflected in my writing. Also, the front part of the entry was written for but I changed my mind to put it to the geek blog later, so there IS a bit of frill, in front anyway. :P)