If you were to look through my iTunes library, either just a quick scroll through or in careful detail, you’ll likely notice two key things about it: a lot of the music in it is instrumental, mainly due to the large amount of video game soundtracks present in it, and for the tracks that do have lyrics in them, hardly any of them are in English. Why so many lyric-less tracks and so few in English? I believe there is much more to music than the words in it. You can have an absolutely beautiful piece full of emotion without a single word uttered. Go play some Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, or Chopin if you don’t believe me.
When I’m in Philly, I go see and hear the Philadelphia Orchestra as many times as I can. I’ve been moved to tears on more than a handful of occasions. I believe you don’t have to be a music major, nor do you need to know a thing about music to appreciate it; it certainly helps, but I believe it’s better to think with your ears rather than your brain when listening to music. I believe you can truly tell when the person or persons performing a piece of music are passionate about it. You can hear it, not just see it. I also believe you can tell if the composer of the piece cared about what they were doing. Not every piece has to be full of sound and movement. Sometimes, it’s the simple ones that are the most beautiful, the ones in which it’s clear the composer had a message and/or emotion to convey and needed perhaps only a single piano to do so. I’ve listened to plenty of pieces that sounded like absolute sonic mud because they were overloaded with instruments all clamoring for attention. On the other hand, one that is done properly can leave you absolutely stunned. Go take a listen to the track Lighting the Beacons from Return of the King. I think it’s the best scene out of all three of the Lord of the Rings movies. The music and the picture complement each other perfectly, with the music intensifying as each beacon is lit.
Now what about those tracks in my library that do have lyrics to them? Why aren’t they in English? My primary language is English after all. Again, I believe the sound of music can speak louder than its words. I don’t care if I understand the words or not, if it has a tune that I like, so be it. If I really care about the lyrics that much, I’ll go Google them. That said, most of the tracks that do have lyrics in my library are in Japanese. Again, there are two reason for this: anime and Vocaloid. There are a handful of anime series that I love for their music that I’ve gladly shelled out anywhere between $30-$100 to import their soundtrack directly from Japan, on release day. In regards to the 10GB – and rapidly growing – of Vocaloid music, I’ll be blunt, my computer can sing better than some of the human “artists” out there. Repeating the same damn ten words over and over again is not singing. Nor is spewing out a bunch of words with no emotion or variations in tone as if your mouth had typewriter diarrhea. When I eat at Drexel’s dining center, I’ve turned the TV off with my iPhone on multiple of occasions. It’s bad enough that you can memorize the entire MTVU lineup in a day. It’s even worse when 90-100% of that lineup is “artists” with absolutely no talent whatsoever other than saying fuck every three to ten seconds. Labels appear to be signing everyone and anyone these days that might make them some money. Never mind if it’s any good, if there are enough suckers out there to buy it that it offsets the production costs, that’s good enough. The music industry in the US has pulled a Nintendo for the most part: Why make something great when good sells better? I’ve spent much more in the iTunes Japan store on music than I ever have in the US. The Dollar-to-Yen conversion rate certainly doesn’t help that any, but I’ve found significantly more talent in music production on the other side of the world. I absolutely love that Gangnam Style went viral. And no, not because it’s an insanely catchy song nor because the music video will easily make you go WTF? on plenty of occasions. It’s because it’s K-Pop. I would’ve both smiled and laughed my ass off if the video ended with Suck it America. To be blunt again, the American music industry just got taken to school. By Korea. Korea, you rock. New York Comic Con, I will be severely disappointed in you if Oppa ComiCon Style doesn’t happen at least once.
So go ahead, call my iTunes Library whatever you want. I have no plans to change it. It’s rather nice having a music library that isn’t full of songs repeated at least three times in the same day on the radio.