Song-dissecting conversations conducted by Prince 24 hrs examining why we don’t like what we do not – and the benefits of understanding and continually reexamining our musical preferences.
Salutations. I am Prince 24 hrs.
I welcome you warmly to the very first in what will be an ongoing conversation about our musical likes & dislikes. I live in a castle all alone, and when I am not carving marble statues of my favorite musicians, I enjoy listening to records – especially those which I do not find attractive or easily digestible. I know what I like – but I enjoy discussing what I don’t like even more. I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, I believe in taking a deeper look at music that repels us. In it often lies key answers to who we are and why as both creators and listeners.
A pigeon was sent to my castle recently, informing me that Pittsburgh poet, writer and rapper Cecil eX wished to explain to me all about what he does and doesn’t like using just one song drenched in all of the splendor and triumph that the music of the 1980’s sought to deliver. Our conversation was arranged, and to my delight! Ceese has a wonderful, thinking mind – explore it with me below…
Song Ceese Dissected: Your Love – The Outfield
P24HRS: Please identify the traits of this song that do not usually draw you in – but are doing just that in this case.
CEESE: First, I have to say that it was difficult to even come to a decision. Mainly because I’m fairly rigid in which genres I appreciate and which ones I don’t, with just a few exceptions. What clinched Your Love was an errant comment from this past weekend, “Y’know, this is my favorite song from this era.” What proceeded was dogpiling,”This is your favorite 80s song??””Really? The Outfield? 🤢”
Now, I’m not usually a fan of aesthetics of the 80s era Pop and this song is very 80s Pop, but there’s a resistance to the trends of the time: guitars that almost sound like synths and drums that very nearly sound like they came from a machine. Accompanying these false synths (though I do think I hear a keyboard somewhere in the mix) is Tony Lewis’s voice sitting right at the top and absolutely dripping in reverb which lends the song a stadium-like quality. I’ve been known to like triumphant music, but this sounds absolutely grandiose as if you’re only supposed to hear this in the company of 30,000 others.
P24HRS: What song characteristics are typically most appealing to you?What song characteristics are typically not appealing to you?
CEESE: I’m a lyrics guy first and foremost, but that isn’t to say I’m the kind of person who looks songwriters as, “good,” or, “bad,” based entirely on verbosity or vocabulary. My background is in poetry, where we have a heavy focus on word choice and conciseness, so I’m more concerned with whether the lyrics fit the tone and style of the song. I think this sensibility is what initially drew me into Your Love.
Beyond lyrics, I typically gravitate to the dissonant, the gritty, and the imperfect, which is why I’m not biggest fan of traditional Pop music. At a certain point, it can sound too polished, too manicured and that conveys a certain level of artificiality to me. It can go too far in the other direction, and I’m not alluding to amateurish mixes, but rather harsh and jarring sounds like those found in a lot of Dubstep. I feel like there has to be a strong harmony for the dissonance to juxtapose, elsewise, it’s just there for its own sake.
P24HRS: Do you believe that listening to music that we don’t care for to gain an understanding of why we don’t like it is beneficial? Why or why not?
CEESE: I think it’s difficult, if not, impossible, to overstate the importance of knowing oneself. That includes personal preferences and tastes. Additionally, I think people evolve constantly, so reexamination is crucial to gain real understanding. For artists, these analyses and reanalyses are doubly important as our tastes inform the art we create.As artists, there’s a constant pull between our individual sensibilities and those of the public. No one knows which sounds or styles are here to stay and which ones are mere moments in time, but that difference is colored by the fads individuals choose to incorporate into their sounds and then by what the fans gravitate to. In this way, acknowledging what we like or dislike can give us some sense of direction for where the current flows
My most sincere thanks to Ceese for his thoughtful words. You can find some of his fantastic work here: https://linktr.ee/ceeseischillin
I am looking forward to many more conversations.
– Prince 24 hrs