The Greatest Conversation

Music Is Not Merely the Soundtrack of Your Life

Posted in New Music by Brian Park on September 15, 2009


I don’t have anything against Dick Clark personally, but I think his quote that “music is the soundtrack of your life” represents one of the things I hate most in a lot of today’s music. When I hear someone say that, I can’t help but insert the word “merely.” Music is merely the soundtrack of your life. Millions of people with iPods listening to music as they go through their day, as if they’re hearing the soundtrack to the most mundane movie ever: their lives. Why has music been relegated to background noise that constantly needs to be updated in order to sound current?

Of course I’m not saying that cerebral jazz combos are the only things worth listening to; I’m also not saying that background music can’t be really enjoyable. This ties into my ramblings on foreground and background, but I think the true test of cool sounding music is if you can enjoy it outside of it’s intended sphere. Nobody likes being sober, sitting in front of a nice hi-fi setup, and giving 10 year old House music their full musical attention.

Almost diametrically opposed to a jazz combo is Depeche Mode. I’ve never been a fan. Dave Gahan’s voice and lyrics are cheesy as hell, and their production has always been less than subtle. I’d heard their new album Sounds of the Universe a few times as background noise and hated it, because all those aspects are still there: his voice is still cheese, the lyrics are still pretentious, and the production still rubs me the wrong way. Then a few months ago, when they had that much maligned remix contest, I had to see what the fuss was about, and actually listened to the song they wanted people to remix. Somehow paying attention to it made me get past the shit I hate about Depeche Mode, and I started enjoying the song. The melodies were beautiful, and very strange. I guess that Peace, the song from the remix contest is their second single, so there’s not much point in posting that. Instead I’ll post the other song on the album that really catches me.

Depeche Mode – Jezebel

I still can’t handle listening to Depeche Mode in the background, but I do find it very strange how much more I enjoy this album when I’m actually paying attention to it musically. I hereby take back half the bad shit I’ve said about Depeche Mode in the past.


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