If someone asks me what is my favourite style of music, I would say that it is a very difficult question to answer. Music is something very important to me. I really enjoy listening to music, and I believe that different styles and even different songs suit us when we are feeling different emotions, or doing different things. I could say, however, that I have three broad groups of favourite musical styles, usually related directly to songs.
Firstly, I enjoy songs with good lyrics. I studied literature at university and really liked reading and learning about poetry. I still enjoy a song in which the words communicate either a powerful message, a strong feeling, or those which create a clear image in my “mind’s eye”. If I can see pictures in my imagination, then the ‘imagery’ of the words is very good. Bob Dylan is famous for creating pictures with the words of his songs, and he is known as being an extremely good songwriter, even if some people don’t like his voice or his singing style. It’s also difficult to understand exactly what he means in some of his songs, but sometimes the rythm of the words and the images all roll together in the mind to create their own meaning, such as in this one, my favourite song of his, called ‘Subteranean Homesick Blues‘ [lyrics]. In Korea, Kim Kwang Seok is known as ‘the Bob Dylan of Korea’ because he also used to write great songs which conveyed pictures very clearly and emotions very strongly. One of his most famous songs is called ‘Get On Up!‘ [lyrics]. Two of my other favourite ‘lyracists’ are Rickie Lee Jones [Chuckie’s in Love] and Steve Earle [Someday – lyrics].
They are both successful songwriters, although they both also only ever had about one song each that was really significantly popular on the radio (in New Zealand, anyway), despite writing, singing and recording many songs and albums, all of which are great quality music. In Aotearoa – New Zealand, two famous bands which make songs like this include Herbs, and Crowded House. The latter band were so popular that they became very famous overseas. Probably their most famous song is called ‘Don’t Dream it’s Over [lyrics]’. I love listening to songs by any of these great songwriters when I want a quiet time to think, or to work on something with music in the background.
At other times though I like listening to loud, noisy rock music, for example, when I am cooking, or when I need to wake up in a hurry and get started on a busy day. At times like these, I like to listen to music by bands like Crying Nut, or No Brain, or The Rolling Stones, or Led Zeppelin. My favourite noisy band from Aotearoa – New Zealand is Shihad. All of these bands are also guitar based music, and often like to play loud and fast. Their songs are very motivating, and usually a lot of fun for doing things quickly, like running for exercise, or cleaning my apartment.
Then again, at other times, I like the quiter music of guitars or other stringed instruments for completely relaxing. Perhaps this is similar to the way many Korean people I have met say that they like ‘ballads’ or slow, quieter songs. I do not particularly like slow, quiet songs, but I do like music with a lot of feeling, and that which leaves room for the imagination to play just because of the music itself, perhaps completely without any lyrics. For me, this might mean that I want to listen to slower quieter songs by Led Zeppelin, or Bic Runga, or in Korea Vidulgi OoyoO. I also like quieter jazz music and classical string quartets can be really nice. Some ‘blues‘ songs are also quieter and great for more peaceful times. All these types of music can be great for studying, or for getting ready to sleep, or relaxing on a quiet afternoon.
In conclusion then, good music is a fairly central part of my life. I have never bought a television, nor even had one in my house or apartment for many years, but I really enjoy playing a good stereo whenever I am home. Part of that enjoyment is thinking about what kind of music would be good to listen to next, and what would be good to share with someone else.