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An article I wrote for the school paper

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by page, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. I'm a contributing writer to my school paper , The Vox, and this is an article I wrote recently containing music reviews and I wanna see what ya'll think. The article is basically me suggesting music to the people of my school . A little pretentious? Yeah I know but the majority of people at my school are so closed-minded about music. Most of their attitudes are " If it ain't on the radio it ain't good". Some of the stuff I suggest isn't exactly obscure but trust me , it's stuff Florence Ms knows nothing about. :p
    Constructive criticism is a must! Thanks folks!

    To Open Your Ears
    by Nick Bennett​

    Florence High School is home to a diversity of personalities and tastes. So it would be natural to assume that taste in music, one of the most important forms of art and expression in this day and age, would be diverse as well. Unfortunately it is not. Majority of the students and faculty at Florence listen to a very limited selection of music. There is a small percentage, myself included , that broaden our horizons and listen to artists other than what the main stream machine feeds us. There is nothing wrong with the majority who listen to the music that the radio and MTV tells us too. Though I see it as sad that they do not know what they are missing with the music that the mainstream won’t show them . So the mission I am undertaking is to broaden your horizons. Your probably wondering : “ Who is this guy and why does he think he knows what kind of music I like” or “Who’s this over-pretentious fella who says my mainstream music is bad” etc. Well I can’t guarantee that you’ll enjoy everything I suggest, but I only ask that you try it and see what happens. I enjoy a variety of musical genres and listen to everything from the heaviest death metal to the most tender soul music. I’ll try not to be too bias and I’ll give an honest review of everything. I’d like to begin by suggesting various albums by artists who cannot be found in your local Wal-Mart but can however, be found at your local Borders. Perhaps if the other staff members and you the readers enjoy my suggestions and my idea, then I’ll be able to make future and perhaps shorter installments in the VOX. So, let’s begin . I ‘ll divide everything into genres.

    Clutch- A blitzkrieg of ballistic blues, mashed with southern fried funk, mashed with baritone avant garde vocals and a tight rhythm section. Clutch is one of my favorite bands and rocks harder than anything you’ll hear on Rock 939 . Guitarist Tim Sult pulls out funky and fiery blues licks that make the blood burn. His solo’s aren’t the best in the world , but they aren’t bland either. The licks are what make Sult a great guitarist. Drummer Jean Paul Gaster and bassist Dan Maines make the best rhythm section in modern rock , never missing a beat and breaking the structure. Neil Fallon, the vocalist spits out sometimes politically charged , sometimes ludicrous pseudo fantasy tinged lyrics in a variety of accents and styles like a true avant-garde. Clutch are a band that is doing things other rock bands are afraid to do . They don’t get much radio air-play because of this, but they continue to put out great music regardless. The best albums to start with are either Robot Hive/Exodus , Blast Tyrant, or their self titled album . Enjoy!

    Drive By Truckers- If you enjoy classic southern rock then you’ll most likely enjoy this modern rock band that is harking in the new era of southern rock. They mix the riffs, loneliness, and sensibilities of the south with the energy and brashness of a punk rock band. DBT songs are tales of southern woe and pride. This band preaches stories of the people and rocks hard enough to keep the sadness at bay. They have everything from stirring rockers to depressing ballads to cheeky anthems . If you’d like to check them out then I suggest starting with either Decoration Day or Southern Rock Opera.


    Buck Owens- This is real country. Buck Owens is one of the innovators of country music and the Bakersfield sound. Instead of songs about being a redneck , being middle class blue collar, or something else that is utterly cliche. Owens sang real songs about love , heartache and the cowboy life. His gritty guitar compliments his howling vocals over a rockabilly infused country backing. This guy wrote the book on country music and you really don’t want to overlook him. I suggest starting with Live at Carnegie Hall.

    Rap/Hip Hop

    Public Enemy- The essential rap group. Their heyday was the late 80s and early 90s , but they are still relevant today. Led by the angry ,eccentric , revolutionary Chuck D , Public Enemy belts out politically charged messages to “Fight the Power” and “Bring the Noise”. With the amazing beats and turntable work laid down by the scratch man Terminator X and the Bomb Squad, Public enemy is a must for any fan of rap. I suggest getting all of their albums and NOW! Every single one is groundbreaking in their own way.

    Sage Francis - If you thought Eminem was the only white wonder in the world of rap music then you are sadly mistaken. Sage Francis is a daft word poet who mixes his political angst and a creative personality to make him more than relevant in the modern rap world. No he doesn’t rap about his “bling-bling” or how much money he has, or just repeats his name over and over again. Sage Francis raps about politics and such, which may sound boring, but once you hear his inferno delivery and ambition then the snare will be set and you will be hooked. Even a person who hates rap can just enjoy the poetic wordplay . I suggest getting both of his albums , though Personal Journals would probably be the best to start with.

    John Coltrane- Though I could write pages about Jazz’s most essential figure , I only have a paragraph so I’ll just tell you about his most famous album, A Love Supreme. Intended as Coltrane’s tribute to God ,this album works as one piece of music divided into four parts. Coltrane and the best jazz quartet ever assembled pour every ounce of their souls into this divine rhapsody. The melody, harmonies, rhythms, solo’s , and the ending poem by Coltrane are so heartfelt and honest that if you don’t feel it during your first listen then I’d suggest a visit to the ear doctor. If you want real music, don’t hesitate , buy it now.


    Van Morrison - An Irish soul crooner that has a smokey voice , intimate lyrics, and fantabulous musical backing. This is the stuff for listening to on cold nights, by the fire with your lady or your man . Though it’s definitely mood music, Van Morrison can be very catchy at times. You’ll probably find yourself singing the soulful melodies and choruses all the time. I suggest starting with Astral Weeks or Moondance.

    Muddy Waters- One of Mississippi’s own and one of the most innovative bluesmen to ever live. Muddy pioneered the electric sound in blues in the fifties and sixties and is still relevant today. His guitar licks and southern “blooze” belting can make you smile and can make you cry. His song writing is superb and his backing bands are always nothing short of excellent. I suggest starting your journey into Muddy with either Live at Newport or the excellent compilation The Real Folk Blues. Beware though, once you get into him, you can’t stop.

    Nick Drake- A forgotten son of the early seventies, the end of the psychedelic era. Drake could have easily been the successor to Bob Dylan in the folk world but died too young before his music could get recognized. His voice echoes and fills with air, making him seem to be some sort of windy, wispy poet. His acoustic guitar work is tasteful and wonderfully backed by London’s best folk musicians. If you enjoy traditional folk or folk rock then you will definitely find a place in your collection for Drake. I suggest beginning with Five Leaves Left.

    The Red Chord - Not for the faint of heart. This is probably the heaviest band I have ever heard . They crush and grind through smashing time changes and jazz like technicality . The vocals are part death metal roar/ part hardcore yelp. The guitars can blitz and decimate like a bulldozer or nimbly fly over complicated drum work. This band is the apex of heavy and metal , but if you want to go there, then this the band that will take you on that long , insane trip through madness. I suggest getting their album Clients.

    Neurosis- The thinking man’s metal band, Neurosis blend heavy waves of electric assault with intelligent and spiritual lyrics. Their songs are usually over the nine minute mark and function like a piece of classical or jazz music with light and heavy sections. They may seem over pretentious or self absorbed but trust me, they are doing something that is innovative and extremely creative. I personally love Neurosis and I believe that they have something for everybody. I suggest starting with Times of Grace.

    Pelican - Epic and cinematic , they are like the soundtrack to some end-of-the-world movie. Sometimes subdued and gentle , sometimes heavy and striking , always breathtakingly beautiful. Pelican is also among my favorite bands. They make perfect music for a rainy, or tired day . Also when reading and listening to Pelican you can’t go wrong. I suggest getting both of their albums : Australasia and The Fire in Our Throats will Beckon the Thaw.

    I hope my suggestions will help broaden your musical horizons and open your minds to some new stuff. Most importantly though I hope you have enjoyed.
  2. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    Cool! I would hope you'll make it a regular column.

    If you can provide URLs where readers can sample some of the music or learn more, that would be a great service to them.
  3. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    That is awesome dude. Random Suggestions for the next edition.

    Rock: Mondo Generator, Faith No More
    Punk: Gogol Bordello, Bad Brains, MC5
    Avant Garde: STGM, Zappa.
    Rap: Dalek
    Soul: Lionel Ritchie
    Metal: CoC, Strapping Young Lad

    Good job Page. Way to get the word out on some great music.
  4. Skeezix


    Sep 28, 2005
    Jacksonville, FL
    Very good, but don't spend so much space apologizing up front. Get to the music.
  5. purfektstranger


    Apr 10, 2003
    I enjoyed your article. I had a similar discussion about musical tastes with my 19 year old nephew yesterday. He was saying how it has become fashionable for alot of teens to like ( or give the impression that they like) classic rock bands from the 70's and 80's( Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden etc....) but most teens couldn't name one album or two songs from these bands. I think it's great that you are spreading the word about other styles of music besides whatever the pop culture's flavour of the week is. Best of luck with any future articles.
  6. Punk/Ska - Against Me!, Bomb the Music Industry, This Bike is a Pipe Bomb, Streetlight Manifesto....

    You need a Punk/Ska category or you are going to get lynched... haha... Good job though, excellent article.
  7. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    You might want to go with a less condescending tone. Hardly anyone will read what you have to say after you openly insult their musical tastes, so try toning that down. Also, I wouldn't name Coltrane as 'Jazz's most essential figure' in the article
  8. Thanks for the suggestions. The article was already published and sent out. I got mostly good responses from my peers.

    I did get two " If it's not on the radio , it's not good" comments . :D

    Looking back on it I was rather condescending ,I'm gonna work on that. I try not to let my own opinions so much like I did with Coltrane, but I get so excited when I'm writing.

    Round 2 is coming soon. I've got a few other things to write for the January edition, so I might wait a while on writing it.

    MC5 will probaly be on the next one and I'm gonna take the punk suggestion as well, Im thinking maybe Black Flag or The Cursed.
  9. It reads remarkably pretentious and didactic, to tell you the truth, especially your last line about horizons and so forth.
  10. I went into a music store and asked if they had any Led Zeppelin CDs. "Who's Led Zeppelin?" said the teenager behind the counter. I don't think, in my 16 years of consecutive living, that I've ever seen anything so sad.

    Under your rock section, you should do a review of the band "Blues Explosion"

    They have several CDs out. If you're a fan of classic rock, you won't be disappointed. It's also good because you can listen to full songs on their website. Check out "Bellbottoms" "Burn It Off" "Sweet and Sour" and "Damage"

    ...Just to name a few.

    Arbark! You know about Gogl Bordello!? Your awesome. I guess that I'm not the only person who knows about them. :p

    Yes! Do a review of them.
  11. purfektstranger


    Apr 10, 2003
    'It reads remarkably pretentious and didactic, to tell you the truth, especially your last line about horizons and so forth.'

    I learned a new word today....didactic!
  12. flatwounds


    Apr 22, 2003
    Sydney, Oz
    Punk: Ramones.
    Hip-Hop: A Tribe Called Quest.
    Rock/Pop: The Beatles.
    Metal: Black Sabbath.
    Avant-Garde: Frank Zappa
    Country: Johnny Cash.
    Blues: Stevie Ray Vaughn

    Take your fellow students to school, and make it a history lesson.
  13. +1

  14. Well I am a prog fan.... :D But seriously , how can I improve on this?
  15. Hey man, I dig prog too, so it's cool.

    Well, my first suggestion would actually be (and this is purely grammatical) to run your writing by a teacher first to check for punctuation errors and so on.

    Next... you often say (in the above writing) to your reader how they should feel as opposed to explaining why the music made you feel the way you do about it. It's like reading a synopsis that omits the actual point.

    One last critique... you should be a little more concise with your ideas. While saying something like, "they are like the soundtrack to some end-of-the-world movie" may seem endearing, it gives the impression that not even you have an idea of how to describe what you are trying to describe for your reader.

    I don't mean to be a dick and I hope it helps :smug:
  16. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yeah, I have to admit that I've never been a big fan of people telling me I should broaden my horizons and open my mind. Instead, I'd say something like, "For those of you who can't get enough of new and different music besides what's played on the radio and MTV, here's a few suggestions." Your whole tone in this article is like you're assuming the reader is an idiot and you are the bigshot eclectic dude. I would edit out all the references to their level of eclecticism in the next one. Just mention the band, give a brief idea of what they sound like, and move on.

    Also, next article, go through it once you're done and edit out 1/3 of it. Especially in the intro paragraph.

    On the bright side, I think your descriptions are right on and give a good idea of what the act sounds like. I liked that "soundtrack to some end of the world movie" line myself.

    Actually, instead of music, your next article should be on how painting "Florence Y'all!" on your water tower makes you look like hicks ;)
  17. plexibass


    Jun 30, 2005
    buck owens........kick a**
    him and don rich........whoooohoooo

    good job page!!!

  18. You weren't being a dick, Im glad you offered criticism.
  19. tiredman9


    Aug 15, 2005
    New York
    Folk:Arlo Guthrie
    Metal:Gwar, Coc, many good ones...find one you like
    Emo: I don't know any bands but most kids seem to like it so throw some in
    Classic Rock: The Doors, 60's Psychedic in general (I must recommend Quicksilver Messenger Service Myself)
    Rock/ Punk: The Nerve, The Ramones
    Hip Hop: Lords of the Underground, Jurassic 5
    Jam Bands: Phish, Grateful Dead, moe.