What I Am: Listening to This Week

M.I.A., Kala (2007) and Arular (2005)

I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, and I am always trying to discover more and new bands, musicians, sounds.

I don’t play an instrument — I can’t play an instrument. I’m utterly tone deaf. I used to play piano, but I don’t remember how to read the left hand music any more, so it doesn’t count.

I can’t make music; I don’t know a lot of technical details about how music is made. I’m not 100% sure what a producer does.

I consider myself a pure music fan — maybe not even a fan insofar as that is short for “fanatic”. I don’t know what some of my favorite bands or musicians do when they are not making music. I don’t know who’s going with whom (although I did hear something about John Mayer and Jennifer Aniston. Is that still on?) There are times — and I’m not proud of this — that I am not even sure where some of my favorite bands or musicians hail from. (I look it up on Wikipedia if I’m not sure.)

I like music. I like music that makes me react viscerally — after it catches my ear, it catches at my heart or my brain or my emotions. Or all of them. It moves me or makes me move. I like a good catchy pop tune with bleak lyrics or a droning musical odyssey or fast & furious punk rock. I’m like those people who say about art, “I don’t know much about it, but I know what I like.”

Granted this also may not make me the most qualified music critic in the world, either. I know a lot about the history of music, especially the types of music I like; I know a lot about influences, inspirations.

Which is all a long-winded way of saying: I have discovered M.I.A., and she is good.

iTunes calls her sound Dance/Electronica; I guess I’ll go with that. It’s beat-based, world rap. M.I.A. isn’t just a pretty face; she has something strong to say. I especially admire her for her sampling/mash ups: you’ll find The Clash, the Pixies, New Order, plus a host of guest DJs/rappers.

The other notable thing about M.I.A. is that Bun turned me onto her. We were flipping around on the radio and came across World Cafe on WYEP; M.I.A. was the featured artist. Bun was transfixed. She stood in front of the stereo for an entire song — stood, stock still. Bun never stands still.

When the song was over, Bun turned to me and demanded: “More.” Another M.I.A. song came on.

I’ll have to make her a little mix of “age appropriate” M.I.A. songs. She’s gonna dig it.

rpm choice cut: Paper Planes.

5 thoughts on “What I Am: Listening to This Week

  1. The one song that affects me like no other is ‘Wild is The Wind’ by the late Nina Simone http://www.ninasimone.com/

    She is the High Priestess of Soul, no doubt.


    Take a listen. It may not appeal to you at first as she can be an acquired taste, but once it is acquired you will love her intensity. Noone has ever sounded like her before or ever again. She is fantastically unique.

    Nothing is as intense as this song.

    • I love, love, love Nina Simone. I’m not familiar with this one, but I will check it out. At my house we like “Sugar in my Bowl” a lot. (or whatever it’s called. too tired to look it up!)


  2. A.boy really likes a System of a Down song…Hubby got him hooked on it…I have to find out what song it is!

    he’s also really into Poi Dog Pondering right now…and oldie, but a goodie…I know DearDr would appreciate!

    I will definitely check out M.I.A…I always did like a lot of the music you listen to!

    Guess you can call me a RPM Groupie 🙂

  3. […] I’m am no pop music aficionado. The last time I listened to Top 40 radio, cassette tapes were the cutting-edge technology, okay? In high school I discovered college radio, punk rock, the B-52s and Depeche Mode. The Pixies are easily my favorite band ever, ranked right up there with Nirvana, Radiohead, Tori Amos, and Green Day. Before her, the music that was turning me on in 2009 included The Decemberists, The Arcade Fire, and M.I.A. […]

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