It’s been a while since I started this blog, but it’s time to refresh the purpose. This blog, The Groove List, is about music appreciation, not just a list of songs. For the record, there is a difference between music and songs. Songs are performed by singers, in my opinion, not musicians or artists. Prince is an artist. Sting is an artist. Stevie Wonder is an artist. Eric Clapton is an artist.
The music industry, however, is full of singers. People that are more interested in selling a mediocre, soon to be forgotten song for fame and fortune than actually caring about the quality of the product they are allowing to be released in their name. Rihanna is a singer. These horrific boy bands, are singers. Ke$ha is a singer (abomination actually).
Music is an art. Unfortunately, the art has been horribly, horribly damaged by the music industry bent on commercialization and record sales. Reality singing contest shows like American Idol, The X-Factor and The Voice have further contributed to the destruction of music as an art form.
That doesn’t mean I don’t like singers. I’m no purist, but I don’t appreciate musical trash forced on me ad nauseum by commercial radio pumping a song/singer over and over day-after-day to promote sales of a mediocre song to push records. There’s no art in that. It’s just blatant commercialization. Nothing to appreciate.
I was recently subjected to listening to Country music for 12 hours straight. It’s not that I don’t like Country music. I do. But 12 hours of twanging, nasal whining has its limits. But the key here is Country music, which is an oxymoron. Country music, is not music as art. It’s just songs. Country music is about the lyrics, not the music. Have you ever heard an instrumental “country” song? It may exist, but I can’t bring one to mind. You can take any country lyrics and run that over any “country music” and no one would know the difference. There is no art there. There is nothing innovative or creative about Country music. There is nothing about the music that is special or could stand by itself without the vocals. It’s just the same ol’ same ole’.
Music appreciation requires more than listening to the lyrics. I like a lot of songs that I don’t particularly care for the lyrics, but the music actually made the song, so I can overlook the vocals for the appreciation of what is happening instrumentally.
You may or may not like disco, but the 70’s group Chic, were innovative. Nile Rogers on guitar did some extremely innovative work. They added an actual violin string trio, not synthesized keyboard strings, to their music. Bernard Edwards on bass was a hell of a bass player. There is something going on in their music beyond the vocals, and they had the talent to understand that as there are a lot of instrumentals in their albums. It’s worth a listen for the appreciation of the music, regardless of whether you like Chic or not. Their body or work is deeper than you may know. They brought Madonna to “life.” They brought Sister Sledge back from obscurity. They did a very innovative album with Debbie Harry, Diana Ross, and many more. And they influenced others to “borrow” their style which propelled others including Aretha Franklin to one of her best selling tracks ever, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who.
The point I’m trying to make here is, pay attention to all the music; the horns, the bass, the drummer, the strings, the keyboards; everything, not just the vocals. Because it’s all important to the art.
So this week’s artist, and I mean that in the true sense, is Al Dimeola, whom you heard on guitar from last week’s groove in the Romantic Warrior.
This week’s groove: “Race With the Devil On Spanish Highway” from his album “Elegant Gypsy”
There is nothing on this album that is a throw away track. Top to bottom. Get this.