September 2nd, 2010

Cute overload

30DMM: No Turning Back

The 30 Days of Music Meme continues...

Day 2: A song that makes you cry.

On my iPod, I use the genre field to categorise tracks by their effect on me. This is clearly practical: I'm much more likely to want to listen to songs that make me happy, say, than songs that are 'rock/pop'. I might have stuck to the traditional genre labels if I could have tagged each track with more than one, but I still don't think they'd be very useful and yet I know I'd get hung up on distinctions. I may not be able to decide whether a particular track is best described as 'pop' or 'electronica' (let alone 'IDM' or 'Glitch') even after repeated listens, and I certainly don't trust the opinion of whatever chump happened to first to type its details in GraceNote.

The effect categories that I use instead are: Unfiled, Happy, Jumpy, Twitchy, Creepy, Chilled and Low (I guess that's my emotional range, then...) Filing songs by effect has the advantages of being fairly consistent, relatively unambiguous and more-or-less disjoint, and it also makes question like this pretty easy to answer: I just need to look through the 'Low' list for candidates. Of course, there are many shades of low and very few of the songs that I've categorised thus could actually move me to tears, but there's one that stands out: Do You Realize?? by The Flaming Lips. I vividly recall first hearing it: on the in-store radio at Virgin Megastore in Oxford. For reasons that I still don't quite understand, I was really struck by the line 'Realize the sun don't go down, it's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round', and had to hide in the World Music section and dab my eyes a little before I could get back to my disaffected mooching. Repeated listening has robbed it of some of its impact, and I still feel that the key change towards the end is a Bad Thing (as it is in almost every track that employs it). Nevertheless, it made its impression, and it's still beautiful song:

The Flaming Lips - Do You Realize??
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    'Do You Realize??' - The Flaming Lips
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