Δευτέρα, 18 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017

Blog no.25: Sing about me

Dear insomniacs,

  It's 4:47 a.m. and I have an exam in roughly 3 hours and a half, so naturally it's a great time to write some stuff, ain't it?
  I've been listening to the my Spotify-generated playlist (which I update every week with my new suggested stuff) for the past few weeks, which is mostly comprised of hip-hop and indie tracks including some really good shit I'd never have known about. It's amazing how much music there is available to us and I'm so grateful for being able to experience it and procrastinate to some amazing tracks, but you know what baffles me? Some people don't even bother searching for music! I mean I get having favourite bands and songs, I have those too, but you are able to type a few words and swim in an ocean of incredible, never-heard-before music and you choose to listen to Drake, Katy Perry or Coldplay on repeat? Don't get me wrong, I like all of those artists and enjoy listening to their stuff but don't you think it's worth discovering stuff by yourself and expanding your music tastes? Hell, even my favourite band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have so many less-popular songs that are so much better than the overplayed "Snow", "Otherside", "Scar Tissue" and the likes. "Hey" (Not Hey Oh, as an unofficial YouTube video suggested) has one of the most orgasmic solos I've ever heard, even more so than Muse's "Madness". Talking about Muse, they have so many amazing tracks (especially from "The 2nd law") which are not that well known for being too different than their usual stuff. Even Coldplay which I mentioned before have the spectacular "We never change" and the minimalistic "O", two very underrated songs from their discography.
  When I first listen to a song from an artist I don't know about, first thing I do is look them up on the internet (well, Reddit mostly), and find their most popular albums and download them in their entirety. I know I know shame on me for pirating but I'd literally be living in the streets if I paid for all the music I listen to. Point is, listening to an album in it's entirety is a whole different beast from just listening to a few tracks. Albums are supposed to be connected works of art, they tell a story, they have a certain flow to them that gets lost when shuffled and they are destined to be played beginning to end. Haken's "Visions" tells a story about, well, visions, death, dreams, time and ends with the titular track, which loops it back to the beginning. Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" talks about the effects of growing up in an uninspiring suburban neighborhood in a nostalgic, bittersweet way that takes you way way back. Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the moon" is a brilliant example of a "concept album" because it flows flawlessly, with seemingly zero interruption from one track to the other and multiple callbacks to previous tracks of the same album. But of course the album I want to focus on the most is Kendrick Lamar's "Good kid m.A.A.d city". This album got me into concept albums in the first place a few years back. In the beginning you get in the back of the white van with Kendrick and his gang and you just start rolling around Compton, getting into trouble, going through shootouts, running away from the police, trying to escape the life of gangs, drugs and alcohol and ultimately making it big. It's a perfect album, but more than that it has one of the best lyrical songs I've ever listened to, "Sing about me, I'm dying of thirst".
  "Sing about me" for shorts tells a story from 3 different perspectives. The first person is a troubled young dude who lost his brother in a gang related incident (in the end of "Swimming Pools"), who recalls how difficult it is to grow up as a poor black guy with a bad background and thanks Kendrick for being there for his brother but is ultimately shot in a similar fashion as his brother. The second person is a young girl who blasts Kendrick for mentioning her sister in a previous album (Section .80) as an example of a girl driven to prostitution, saying that he doesn't understand that it was the only way for her and her sister to live since they were in-between foster homes. She mentions that he has no right to talk about her sister because he doesn't know where she is coming from and to let her do her thing without obstructing her life, but ends up fading due to some sexually transmitted illness. Now the third person, that is Kendrick himself. Kendrick talks about how he sees himself trying to make a difference with the only thing that he has, his raps, and that he thinks about death a lot and thus he's trying to make his mark in the world by helping others. Being an influential figure, he knows that he can help people from his neighborhood by getting their stories out even if it comes with sacrificing his own image. What follows is this:
  "And I hope that at least one of you sing about me when I'm gone.
   Now I'm I worth it?
   Did I put enough work in?"
First time I heard those lines they hit me like a truck, because I related so much to what he has to say. We're all trying to make our mark in the world, to be remembered, to have someone sing about us when the lights shut off and it's our time to settle down. It is said that you die twice, once when you stop breathing and once again when your name is mentioned for the last time. It's all very morbid but very true as well, it's in our nature. I don't care about being rich and famous, I don't care about having my statue engraved in the middle of a busy square, I don't care if my name isn't mentioned in the Guinness World Records book. All I'm asking, and all everyone is probably asking is to have at least one person who thinks you're important enough to be remembered. The feeling of knowing that you've positively influenced at least one person is more precious than all the money in the world, so all I have to ask is this: Promise that you'll sing about me when I'm gone, will ya?

Your chosen existentialist,
Stelios Zesiades

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