I have a lot of catching up to do. A lot. Like… lots. Up until now my musical preferences rotated between Buck Tick (a Japanese band from the 80’s with a hot lead singer), my favorite band: The Beastie Boys, low-fi chillout music, 80’s wave, EDM (electronic dance music), some belly dance music sprinkled in there, and audio books. Audio books usually take precedence over music. OH! Plus I really really like silence.
All that changed on the night of the Urban Movement Festival in Plano in November. The DJ was spinning really good music and I didn’t know most of it. I used Shazam, (an app that listens to music, sends a sound clip into the universe, and sends you back the wrong song) to try to figure out what I was hearing. Much of the time, since the DJ has his way with many of the songs, Shazam has no idea what’s going on. But sometimes it’s right. I try to hide the fact that I’m shazaming music at these events because I don’t want to call attention to myself… you know.
I came back with about 40 songs to look up on Spotify. Here’s what happened the next morning: I found about 90% of the songs and then I discovered Spotify’s “Go to Song Radio” button. This button plays a whole bunch of other songs that sound very similar to the song that you’re crazy about and it traps you in its spiderweb. This led me down a path so endless and eternal that I think I found what I need to do when I’m told I only have hours left to live. And you guys all laugh when I say I plan to live forever! I quickly added 300 songs to a single playlist, most of which are completely new to me, in about a month. The list grows like an amoeba weekly. It’s very important that I catch up and get to know these songs. When you’re called on to dance in a class or at a show or battle, your familiarity with the song can change your dance dramatically. To add a little clarity and supplement my Dance Battle post, when the dancers go out there to face off with their friends and enemies, they don’t know what song is about to be played for them. They have to be ready for anything. My thoughts now mirror theirs, “I’d better listen to a metric shit ton of music so that I will be prepared.”
This music will not be for everyone. Sometimes I wonder if it’s even meant for my ears. The n-word gets thrown around in much of this music as well as descriptions of explicit sexual acts and endless cussing. I’m no prude but I find myself conflicted and/or skipping ahead in some of these songs. I’ll have to talk to some of my fellow dancers and friends to see what they think about it. In the end I guess it’s good that it’s encouraging a conversation. I’ll get back to you on it.
I’ll highlight some of my favorite singers/musicians and songs into some categories for you. (The videos I’ve embedded are relatively clean.)
1. Stuff that is slow and chill: I’ve often called this music trip-hop or downtempo or chillout. Chillout covers lots and lots of genres though. Some bands/people/musicians that I’m happy about finding are Lapalux, Yaeji, and Sickick.
2. The Missy Elliott Genre: This woman is dirty. She is blunt and dirty. She gets her own genre. The things she says don’t simply melt the wax out of your ears like a soft whisper from your lover, they fuse your earwax into dense anti-matter and send it into another dimension. It’s hit or miss for me with her songs but when it’s a hit it hits hard. Really enjoying a few specific songs of hers: On & On, WTF (Where They From), and I’m Better.
3. Old School: This is when I feel like an artifact in dance class. It’s either that it’s so old it’s cool again or it’s so good that it’s stood the test of time. I like to think it’s the latter. My favorites, since childhood, are Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock, Beastie Boys, PM Dawn, A Tribe Called Quest, Digital Underground, Bel Biv Devoe, (This was the second concert I ever went to!) and LL Cool J. Yep, Ladies certainly do love cool James. Have you seen his smile?
4. Music for Popping: There are a lot of genres in here. The trouble I have in popping class is that I’m not a big funk fan. If you make it a little dub steppy then I’m down. Listening to songs from CloZee, VibeSquaD, Gramatik, and Olli. Olli is a lot closer to funk but he’s just inside of my threshold and I like him.
5. Where do I put these: Here are some bands/people that I’m really digging right now that I don’t know how to classify yet. Don’t get the wrong idea though, these are certainly not leftovers! Troyboi, Leikeli47, bbno$. I think I may lose any cred I’ve earned by admitting I like bbno$. I just watched some of his videos and they’re embarrassing. Catchy songs though, so whatevs. Leikeli47? Love her. She wears a mask for privacy. All the time. LOVE HER.
Ending on the song that currently has the biggest effect on me mentally, physically and emotionally. I’m confident that my cred increases tenfold with this one. Every time it comes on in my car I dance to it in the driver’s seat and I don’t care if anyone sees me. I play it at least twice. I always have to take a big breath of air and let out a deep sigh after I’ve heard it. Seen Spiderman into the Spider-Verse? Enjoy.
Look these people up. It’s pretty fun stuff! Love,