I have been travelling.
(Not that that’s an excuse that I can use for the weeks of lapse in writing. No, that’s another story altogether.)
So on my travels, I have been able to indulge in the one thing that I love beyond others – studying people. The keyword here is “studying” and not “staring at”, in case you decided to label me a psycho! I have been interested in this “hobby” ever since I read the line “everyone has a story to tell; you only have to be patient enough to listen” (don’t ask me to cite the source, I was too young to remember). And let me tell you that it is one that has never failed me. I have been “listening” and every face is a new story. Every smile has a sad tale hidden behind it. The finer nuances of human emotions that cast shadows on the face are like ripples in a still pond. All this, and more, I have had the time and leisure to observe on my days off.
It is most definitely true that no two cultures are alike. In fact, there are several things that are considered polite in one that can be treated as discourteous in another. The word play tales on a different meaning. Where vanity is a luxury in one, it could be a necessity in another culture. I like observing all that and collecting these tit-bits of information like a bird picking up the choicest of twigs to make it’s cosy nest. It helps me understand people and that somehow stops making me feel like an outsider even when I am! Maybe it’s my self created variation of method acting, who knows?
There is a point to this rant, I promise; and it’s not long in coming.
I have kinda concluded that you can get little clues about the current trend of a culture by the kind of music that they produce at that moment. For example, a few decades back a song was considered A-One if it had a good voice, fantastic lyrics and a pleasing sense of harmony. There was a build-up to a story. The body had a different tone and feeling to it and finally it all came together to conclude satisfactorily. The same was true for the relationships back then. There was a substantial period of courting that ultimately led to an epic romance. And if it ended, there was bound to be a fairly big bang. Such is not the case any more.
The music of today doesn’t worry much about the lyrics (though there are still some songs that thankfully don’t fall in this category). In most of the songs (that I have heard), they have taken seriously the concept that sex sells. So it’s all about lust and desires or betrayals. The background score is focused more on techno beats rather than the purity of instruments that once showcased the talent of the artist. There are plenty of senseless “oohs” and “aahs” as well to fill in the gaps that would otherwise seem glaringly obvious. Just like the stunted conversations that people have while they are busy doing something or the other on their mobile phones. The tone is superficially bright and feels like we’re living in Utopia. Reminds me of those spoof videos where they show how sad people actually are until they have to take a selfie and upload it on their social profile. Everyone puts on a face to show that all is well even though they are feeling suicidal. And then, the song suddenly fizzes away. Abrupt ending. Like the artist couldn’t maintain their attention span long enough to think of a proper end. Same thing happens in the relationships. They fade away into oblivion when each partner moves on to another relation before the first one has actually finished. There is nothing left of the time that they spent together…in some cases, not even memories.
While I am all for technological development and changes, I must confess that when it comes to my music I still feel that old is gold.