The Music in our Ears

With such a wide variety of music, and such a wide variety of people, the combinations of music interests are endless. It’s surprising to find how eclectic our musical tastes are.

A major genre that floods the radio streams today is hip-hop. Originating in the South Bronx in the 1970’s, it began with disc jockeys creating rhythmic beats by mixing loops and samples together. Rap later developed as a sub-genre when chanting and poetry began to accompany the rhythms. But what is the appeal of hip-hop?

“I really like loud music,” Sarah Helou, freshman, said. “And if it doesn’t have good words, I won’t listen to it.”

This is very understandable. Music with a rhythm, interesting lyrics, and something that one can dance to is important. The energy that flows from hip-hop is what makes it so fun to listen to.

Counry music, too, grips the ears of students. Country has it’s beginnings in the 1920’s. Country began as a blend of popular music from the Southern United States and Canadian Maritime. The music captivates simple ideas of the middle class man, love, and easy living. One music idol encompassing all of this today is Taylor Swift, who continues to top the country charts time and time again.

“Taylor Swift puts a lot of emotion into her songs. She thinks out the situation and pretends it’s happening. That’s what makes her really great,” Helou said.

It’s this sort of story telling through music that defines the country genre. The music isn’t a rebellion or a political statement, it’s a story to enjoy.

Rock has become a worldwide mainstream since the 1950’s. It developed out of rock and roll, rhythm and blues, jazz, and classical music. Rock has become an extremely versatile genre. It has made use of the typical guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard, but often expands to more interesting sounds such as the organ, harmonica, saxophone, and even utilizes classical string instruments as well. Sub-genres such as classic rock, alternative, grunge, heavy metal, indie, and baroque-pop all stem from this incredible music.

Emily Snyder, junior, along with lunch mates Brian Kirn and Cody Cunov, both juniors as well, all have a particular interest in alternative-rock music.

“I like ‘Vampire Weekend’. Their sound just isn’t like anything else,” Snyder said.

When asked to describe the alternative-rock sound, no one at the table could quite put their finger on it.

“Well, it doesn’t exactly fit into any other category. You can’t call it like, jazz or anything,” Snyder said.

Rock has a diversity and a magic unlike anything else. Its always saying something, and never stops rocking.

Beyond the major categories there are still even more genres to explore. Hannah Clark, junior, for example, is a fan of acoustic indie and jazz.

“I like it because there’s not really a whole lot of talk about disco sticks in the songs,” Clark said.

Nic Palumbo, junior, on the other hand, loves techno.

“‘The Prodigy’ is really good,” Palumbo said. “And ‘Daft Punk’ is classic.”

Some might find Ethan Terry’s, junior, appreciation for symphonic metal even more eccentric.

“It’s different. It’s got that old world kind of feel to it while still being really powerful,” Terry said.

Across the board, people like music that stands out. People like music that’s different because it could only be that kind of music that outlines their unique ideas. It’s absolutely brilliant how people think and listen to music, and it’s absolutely brilliant how music defines us.

The Biebs, Bradies, and Peter Pan (Baby Yeah Yeah Yeah!)

Sinatra held the world on a string for our grandparents’ generation, our parents would twist and shout for The Beatles, and what did we get? The BIEBS! We were a bit young to recognize The Backstreet Boys, and The Jo-Bros are way too commercial to really be the figure-head of our generation’s musical definition, but Justin Bieber fits the bill. If the trend continues, I’m sure our children will be worshipping the pop-star who has the best remix of “Row Row Row Your Boat (Baby, yeah yeah yeah!)”

Who couldn’t fall in love with the Biebs? There’s no arguing that if Bach was a sixteen year old ‘gangsta’ from the Canadian suburbs, he’d be Justin Bieber. I always think of Peter Brady when I think of Justin Bieber. I remember the episode of the Brady Bunch where the kids get a record deal just as Peter’s voice is deciding to become a man. Everyone becomes really upset with Peter, and Peter becomes really embarrassed about the whole thing. By the end of the episode, of course, the Bradies realize they can rearrange their hit tune to include Peter’s new falsetto style and bring the song to perfection. Similarly, if someone were to sing with Bieber they’d be rather perturbed to find he still has the voice of a twelve year old and the sass of a moody teen, yet somehow he’s selling records with Usher.

In all seriousness, what are we basing Bieber’s talent on? Any 16 year old guy could woo a class of 6th grade girls with that haircut. If I wore my stupid purple hat backwards and hacked on an acoustic guitar, would someone love me? The Monty Python group pretended to sound like women all the time, and I don’t believe they ever received such attention.

Of course, it’s not all hair whooshing, love swooning sweethearts in the Biebs’ paradise. While his music video “Baby” has been honored as one of the most viewed videos on YouTube, it’s also the most disliked. Bottles have been pitched at him on stage and slander is posted all across the web.

But I truly fear for Bieber’s future. It’s not hard to realize that after he’s reproduced the same album three times under the names “My World”, “My World 2.0” and “My World Acoustic”, he’s out of ideas. As he nears his seventeenth birthday, though, it would seem the timing is just right. As Justin approaches the era of “Big Boy Biebs”, we’re sure to see an abundance of change in his sound that the world might not be ready for. Growing up is hard, but Bieber better figure out Peter Pan’s secret fast if he’s going to stay afloat. One can only guess what the seas of squealing girls will think of Bieber when he comes out on the other end with a super-puberty voice like Louis Armstrong.

The Sound of Music is Here

Got that sixteen-going-on-seventeen blues? Don’t know what to Do-Re-Mi? Want to see one of my favorite things? The Sound of Music is coming to Churchill. Now you can experience this heartwarming tale of nuns, Nazis, and the power of song in our very own Lanny Naegelin theater.The show stars Meredith Trapp as Maria and Michael Coyle as  Captain Von Trapp.

So clip yourself an edelweiss boutonniere and climb every mountain to Churchill, now alive with the Sound of Music! Opens February 3rd at 7 p.m. with shows the 4th and 5th, also at 7 p.m., and  a matinee showing on Sunday the 6th at 2:30. Tickets are $10- buy at the door or reserve your seats today!

By Jessica Reece and Rachel Burnstein

Valentine Hooplah

Everyone get ready to carve their hearts out with a spoon: Valentine’s day is on its way. It’s a hopeless romantic’s dream (nightmare, rather) come true.

St. Valentine isn’t even a big deal. Roman Catholics erased the celebration of St. Valentine’s day from their calendar in the 1960’s. The Cherubs printed on Hallmark’s cards and the boxes of chocolates people end up eating alone in a dark room now only serve to mock our ignorance of Corporate America cashing in on our souls. Geoffrey Chaucer is credited with the creation of this sadistic holiday when he made mention of it in his poem Parlement of Foules. The idea of such a poem is particularly disconcerting, and I am especially concerned with the proposition of chickens starting a democratic government. Besides this, Chaucer didn’t understand what he was doing. Chaucer was a nobleman, a writer, and a wealthy man. Chaucer could have any woman he wanted, and now the average American teenager seven hundred years later suffers the consequences of his artistic portrayal of his own lust.

Of course now the wives and girlfriends will be in an uproar, but men agree: they just want more chocolate. Carrying their stuff, listening to them talk, and spending money on them doesn’t do anything to legitimize the relationship until they get a box of truffles. In return, maybe we’ll be lucky enough to get a Jonas Brother’s Valentine and as we tear in half the commercially manufactured phrase next to Nick Jonas’s face we can realize he’s far more successful than us and our dismally broken hearts don’t really amount to much when three guys with no musical talent can get their face on a Valentine.

I’m sure most will have iPods full of love song playlists on loop when the fourteenth comes around. Eighties love-pop is going to suddenly be appearing on many iTunes accounts. While I’m a big fan of good music, who could say no to Michael Bolton, Kool and The Gang, and for the really ambitious, some Barry Manilow. Don’t deny it, everyone’s listened to ‘Mandy’ and thought for at least a little bit it was an alright song.

But in all seriousness, there’s no reason to even fathom such ideas. Everyone knows as well as I, it’s going to be a not much of anything day. We’ll all just swap some candy with each other and call it a good time. Maybe some will be lucky enough to get a Disney Princess card pitched their way. It’s only when someone has a ‘significant’ other that something will really go down. Maybe a good friend of the guy will record the couple making-out in the hallway and put it on Facebook with Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” theme playing over it. Don’t be fooled, that’s all high school romance has ever amounted to be.