Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Hip Hop take on Pinback

Somehow I ended up at the Showbox Thursday night to watch about an hour of Pinback’s set, and I have to say that all my expectations were met.

What were these expectations? Well lets just say I wasn’t optimistic about the performance and by the third song I was convinced that their was nothing this band could do to impress me.

Then the drummer just had to go and lay down a ridiculous groove – of course after maybe four bars it was ruined by the addition of fairly lame and uninspired guitar playing. The bassist showed moments of some funk, but the ramblings of their lead “singer” killed any shreds of optimism I was still holding on to.

I listen to soul music. Yeah I know I’m the resident Hip Hop head around Spi but you want to talk about singing I’m gonna hit you with that “Just As I Am” from Bill Withers or if you want something more modern “Words and Sounds Vol. 1” from Jill Scott. This summer I was obsessed with the one and only Isaac Hayes. This is the singing I’m used to and respect.

To me, a lot of these modern groups that I hear are missing that vital element in their singer: Soul. And when I say soul I mean some depth and life to the vocals. A voice that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. I want to feel the emotion that went into writing the words you’re singing. On that note, I will be the first to admit that I don’t know about nor have any interest in this style of music. It just doesn’t connect.

And that’s what got me thinking.

What is it that, for this group of about one thousand people, they see and hear that I don’t? I know musical taste is completely subjective and I’m sure there is music I love that many would have no interest in – but how do these tastes develop?

I don’t now if this is possible to answer but seeing so many people get down to Pinback’s music the same way that I would if I were at any number of shows intrigues me. What do y’all think? Has anyone ever experienced something similar to this?


Milky Joe said...

i hear ya. first, though, there isn't a thing 'soulful' about Pinback's music. comparing them - Rob Crow's voice in particular - to that of a soul/funk singer's voice is probably a little bit unfair. in my honest opinion i think, given the time and energy, you can cultivate a taste for any/all music. comparing it to soul/funk is never going to get you there, though.

Will Johnsen said...

First man many thanks for checkin out what I'm doing and taking the time to comment!

I don't mean to compare the two so much as point out that soul music was called this because you could feel the "soul" of a person who sang the song. In most modern music, not just Pinback and the like, I don't hear that soul.

As far as cultivating a taste for music over time you are absolutly right! I used to hate country music - now 2 years after working in country radio I have found artists in the genre that I can listen to.