Saturday, June 13, 2009

Just find your place to make your stand and take it easy

I was told today, as I made tracks to the stereo system, to not put on "any boom boom crash stuff, your horrible hillbilly music or jazz". This means she wanted 'nice music'. Boom boom crash = noise (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zep, Mastodon, Beatles et al), Hillbilly is reserved for the worst insult = twangy or nasal (Dylan, all blues, folk, Patti Smith et al) and Jazz includes everything else pretty much. Which doesn't leave a lot - soothing classical or a fringe act that somehow combines things into a new genre - Jacky music.

As you can probably tell I don't live with a music lover. In this instance I came up with David Crosby's 'Thousand Roads' album, The Thorns, Jackson Browne, and James Taylor - long since proven safe bets. I wasn't asked to take any off so I must have succeeded.

It got me thinking though as I was searching - what are the albums that stack up as quality but still qualify as 'nice music'. Clearly Captain Beefheart's 'Trout Mask Replica' is a non starter.

The following five albums are the ones that bear repeat showings and (through bitter experience) are 'nice music':
5) Joni Mitchell's 'Hejira' is absolutely there, so is 4) Bon Iver's brilliant 'For Emily, Forever Ago'. There is an other-worldly aspect to this music - they all sit outside established genres. So does 3) Aimee Mann 'Bachelor No.2'. She doesn't conform to female singer/songwriter norms, releases her work in the margins and has a maverick persona.

There are elements of pop and jazz and folk and it all makes a perfect sense. Plus she sounds superb. 2) Mike Oldfield's 'Ommadawn' stitches together prog and celtic music over two seamless sides and 1) Van Morrison's 'Moondance' combines jazz, the spiritual, the sexual, the lyricism of 'Astral Weeks' to make a sublime album that is the epitome of 'nice music' and sheer quality.

No comments:

Post a Comment