I hardly used to listen to songs. In fact none at all. Whenever my elder sister would play her P!nk or Destiny’s Child, I would either storm out of the room or bury my head in the blanket. It’s ironic that I used to do all that but now I make my family do all that by cranking up the volume to AC/DC or Metallica. Even though I’m no audiophile, and I don’t consider myself to be one, I’m more of just a listener… that’s it. I listen, write reviews, make lists, get inspired by and that’s it. I mean, I don’t have the world’s biggest CD collection and/or posters on my wall. Hell, I couldn’t even pronounce Lynyrd Skynyrd correctly and I always used to get stuck while spelling Zeppelin: was it two P’s or two L‘s? But now I know and everyday I get introduced to new artists/bands old or new and if one strikes me in the right way, then I listen to more of their stuff. I think that’s enough introduction and let’s get on with the real thing:
The First Song I’d Ever Heard:
Many people don’t remember their first song they’d heard ‘professionally’ and by that I mean not in the background or in the subway station but actually sitting down, plugging in the earphones and pressing PLAY. Back when Walkmans were popular, my sister bought one and burned 21 songs to a CD entitled The Greatest. Now, if that were an actual album, it could’ve been nominated for several Grammy’s because it certainly was the first greatest ‘album’ I’d heard. Those 21 songs were the first 21 songs I ever heard, thus starting my love for songs. I remember asking my sister for the Walkman and, to my surprise, she actually gave me, a rarity as she never, EVER gives her Walkman to anyone. I remember sitting down, popping the CD in, inserting those god-awful earphones and pressing the PLAY button…. 5 seconds of silence and Upside Down by The A*Teens came blaring through those uncomfortable earphones. It wasn’t exactly a heavenly feeling because the volume was too high and me, not knowing how to operate a Walkman, could not find the volume button. It was only after my sister pointed it out where it was, I listened to it again and this time I liked it. I mean, I don’t follow pop-music nowadays but it was a very fresh song and still remains. Then, whenever my sister would give me the chance, I would listen to one song, order-wise and would keep a track of it. By the time I reached no. 12 or 13, I started feeling a little bored because literally all the songs were repetitive and, frankly speaking, boring. The vocals sounded almost the same, the pop-feeling was in all, the lyrics were getting old and the subject also remained the same. But the chain was broken when I reached no. 19 on the playlist. You have no idea how I felt when I heard that unearthly music and that screaming vocals and the loudness out it. Yes, it was In the End by Linkin Park, my first rock song and my first heroes! From that point on, I’d entered the music-zone and it was clear to me, and everyone, that I wouldn’t move from that place for a very, very long time!
The White Boy of Town
You’ve probably met, or seen, more fakers or posers than I’ve and you may have probably seen me. Yes, I was one of them. You have no idea how much I was into rap culture and the hip-hop subculture. Yes, yes I know what you’re thinking: “This guy went from Linkin Park to this?” Truth be told, rock music (heavy metal too) did not come in my life until I was 15 years old (for this section, I’m 12 years)…now let me tell you something: I live in Oman and the one genre that has the most influence is rap/hip-hop like 85%, with blues/Jazz 5% and then all the others. Everywhere you see you will see people doing the C-Walk or trying to do the Shuffle or re-enacting the dance sequence from Soulja Boy’s Crank That video. It’s quite depressing to see things like these now but back then, when I was one of them, it was always an encouragement. So what did I do? I bought shirts 2 times my size, the shoulder-line coming at my elbows with the lower-hem coming at my knees, pants with the waist resting on my hips rather than on my, well, waist and wearing long chains and… well, you can paint the picture. I never did any of the earring or finger-ring stuff as I find that a very disgusting habit and I do not approve of it. Anyway, onto the music: my classmates, like everyone else, were rap listeners and because of that, I used to get introduced to at least 10 new songs everyday and we would all go home, download the song(s) and come to school the next day to talk about it. But somehow something was missing. You may have probably heard me saying about “that certain element” many times here and/or other sites and I’m gonna say it once again. A certain element was indeed missing. I mean, I was into the culture but never fully accepted just like as if you read another religion’s Holy books and you understand it but don’t accept it. Time over time, the influence got over me and suddenly, just like that, I stopped. Yea, that’s it. Rap/hip-hop officially exited my life and with that, my friends too, real or online (accept it, we all live in a world where friends only like to be friends not just by looks alone but also their music or movie tastes)
Enter Metal, Exit Hip-Hop
At a time when every song on the radio would be a pop song and every song would contain the line “put your hands up in the air like you just don’t care” at least once, I needed a solace, a comforter. Imagine this as a break-up: you break-up with someone and with the intention of finding solace, you cling onto something/someone and before you know it, the ex is history and you’ve found a new one. For me it was HEAVY METAL! Hell yea, the one genre that hardly, if any, gets any respect and it should. I mean, it’s heavy metal for god’s sake. I remember my sister giving me Enter Sandman by Metallica, saying that I might enjoy and enjoy I did. I mean, I absolutely loved it. The lyrics, the riffs, the pure awesomeness behind it. Metallica paved the heavy metal road for me and I’ve been cruising on it ever since, getting introduced to classic bands like Deep Purple, AC/DC, Skid Row, Led Zeppelin, Slayer, Eagles, Black Sabbath etc… but why rock songs you may ask and here’s the reason why: Lyrics. Yes, simple as that. The pop songs (of all generations, especially now) don’t make any sense and many of them are boring and are mostly liked because of their Grammy wins or YouTube views. rock lyrics are different: they can be violent, Satanic, political, depressing, on war, on alienation, on phobias but, whatever the subject is, it remains realistic and many reflect/echo the actual events happening in the world right now and I can name you several which can be used as metaphors. It’s not always about the image or status that drives me to listen to an artist or a band but rather the authenticity and the power behind that musician. So I guess that concludes this part and let’s get on with the other:
Why do I listen to songs? till last year, I used to listen to just for the sake of listening but nowadays its all because I want to get inspired. I must’ve mentioned I write lyrics? Oh well, whenever I listen to song which contains lyrics I consider to be ‘perfect’, I immediately start writing one of my own (exact same topic or similar) and I’ve done that countless times. Many have compared mine with the original and while some have said it’s just OK, others have actually said mine is waaay better (man, I love feedback like these)… so, there you have it! I hoped you enjoyed reading it and whether you agree or disagree with some of the things I’ve said, please feel free to express yourself in the comments!