21 October 2010

Femalizing my Music

So I noticed that my taste in music has been changing lately. And this was due to listening to Pandora (the Internet radio) the other day.

I usually have several channels that I have created in my account. There's a classical music channel, there's an ambient electronic channel, there's a hard male vocals rock/metal channel, a piano rock male vocal channel, and a female pop/metal/rock channel. I haven't listened to this channel in a while, and so I decided to listen to it again.

And wow, I found two acts that I haven't been aware they existed, but I actually liked what they played. First, there's Lily Allen, who is a 25-year old English performer. There's also A Fine Frenzy, another 25-year old female singer from Seattle.

So, I realized that once upon a time, I favored all these angst-ridden tunes, tunes that were sung by earlier incarnations of Staind, Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, The Smashing Pumpkins, and so on. I still like them, but I guess I am starting to dig more subtle and sentimental music now. I remember that it used to be the case that the only artist that fit that description in my favorites list was Fiona Apple. But I guess that isn't the case anymore. I love this current playlist I have right now.

I guess when I want to unwind after a day of working on my dissertation, I don't need pulsing rock riffs. I'd rather hear someone soothing and ululating at the accompaniment of the piano.

(Big Stones, from my Saqsayhuaman Series)


  1. I don’t watch much TV and don’t listen to the radio much either so I am not up with the new bands. I know Athens, GA., is supposed to be no. 2 town in the US for the music scene and it’s not far but it’s for the young crowds. When I came to the US I was into jazz a lot – I still like it. Then while I worked with the trainees from Algeria and Tunisia I started listening to their “rai” music. After that I worked with many trainees from Africa and liked their music too. I even went to Sénégal just to view their music live. I listen to classical mostly but also world music. Right now if I have to place a CD in the car I usually play Orchestra Baobab. They have an afro-cuban style. I don’t understand what they say – but then again I rarely get the lyrics from the popular rock groups either. In a way I like not understanding the lyrics – I can concentrate on the melodies. I also like Cesaria Evora a lot. She is from Cape Verde, Africa. I was lucky to be in Paris the last time she gave a recital, last December – I enjoyed it very much.

  2. Vagabonde,

    Oh I love world music too. I used to teach a class called "Languages of the World" and I would play songs from all over the world to my class, including songs from West Africa, such as by acts like Youssou N'Dor and others.

  3. Haven't tried listening/visiting Pandora yet, as stereomood has pretty much worked for me. Is it like yahoo music?

  4. prabster,

    Stereomood, hmmm, I haven't heard of that before. Yahoo Music is something I don't use, so I don't know. Pandora is basically the user interface to the Music Genome Project: you create an account, and then give a seed (you select a song or artist, and then the system plays songs that are similar to the one you gave). Then, you have the option to approve or disapprove the songs. Thus, the system learns your preferences.

    The bad thing however is that I don't think Pandora works in every country. I think you can circumvent that by using a proxy server though.

  5. Are we in a post-gendered world yet, or not? What's with the usage "Femalizing"?

  6. Priyank,

    Ha! Post-gendered is indeed ideal, and yet sometimes people still need to talk about traditional stereotypes. I cannot deny that I do that still. It just happens that my Internet radio stations were designed (by me) to play male or female vocals depending on channels. It happened that I used to listen to a lot of male vocals, and now I am slowly letting female vocals enter my consciousness. As with everything, preference is subjective.

    You might be interested to know that when I tried explaining this to a friend of mine, he told me that it seems my "female" category is his "lesbians with guitars" category, without actually checking whether this singer is indeed a lesbian or not. In short, many people form weird categories that are subjective. Ideally, categories shouldn't matter when it comes to human rights and other important stuff, but I don't mind having these subjective categories if it's for personal preferences. It's when one's personal preferences are imposed upon others that a problem starts to arise.