HOLEYBALONEY

Why I Do Not Believe In Categorising Music

There. I’ve said it. I do not subscribe to the grouping of music into genres, or categories, or type. I never understood why we need to compartmentalise music into such narrow categories? Music is just music and everyone should have the flexibility to listen to what they love without being judged by their music tastes.

Take myself for example, I fist pump to X & L’arc-en-ciel; sing along with Backstreet Boys or Spice Girls; groove to the tunes of Pharrell Williams and Jason Mraz; going crazy with LMF and Snoop Dogg (or Lion); enjoying the trips DJ Tiesto & Paul Van Dyk brings me on.. So what am I supposed to say when people ask what type of music I like? Rock? Hip-hop? Dance? Pop? How about just music in general?

Maybe I’m one of the exceptions. Maybe most people do actually like only one ‘type’ of music, and completely identify with the label that comes with it. Now, don’t get me wrong. It isn’t a problem, not at all. I sometimes admire them, singular in their passion and belief, to be able to go all out to embrace the one thing that fires them up.

I know I’m weird, and the circuits in my brain don’t exactly wire the same way as others. Most people run closed loop circuits, the head and tail of my circuit hardly ever meet. So don’t ask me to sing along to any songs, or ask if I remember lyrics to this song or that. It just doesn’t work that way. Music, to me, is a blend of all the elements of the song – the melody, rhythm, the riffs, the vocals. I don’t hear lyrics, the vocals is an instrument in the song. I don’t know many people who are like this, most people have lyrics that they really love, or say their story or calls to them. I don’t. I just enjoy the music for what it is, lyrics included.

Maybe that is why I don’t put music in boxes. I simply let it fill my heart, mind and soul.

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L’arc-en-ciel: My 1.5 Decade Fandom

They say the music you listen to in your teens, will stay with you for life. When it comes to L’arc-en-ciel, I don’t think I can agree more.

  • 2000, first discovery when my classmates jammed to Driver’s High
  • 2004, SMILE was the first album I went searching around Singapore for
  • 2005 Asia Tour in Shanghai was the first time I flew to watch a concert
  • 2006, I shut myself in my room for almost 3 hours, spazzing over their 15 Anniversary concert
  • 2012, traveled again for their concert, this time to Taipei in 2012
  • 2012 in Singapore was a dream come true
  • 2014, live screening of documentary “Over the L’arc-en-ciel” in Singapore announced
  • 2015, I’m still waiting for the next World Tour

15 years later, my love for them still runs strong, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to ever stop. It may not run as deep and intense as that for X, laruku still counts as one of the bands that I truly truly love.

Seeing as how accomplished and well loved hyde is as a vocalist, it would probably surprise many people that he really didn’t want to be one when they first started the band. He didn’t think being the vocalist was cool, and wanted to be the lead guitarist. (REALLY? hyde. Really.) He is also one of those few that readily admit that he is a bit sick of playing and performing with the same band, at their first big concert in Madison Square Garden in NYC! I’ve always loved how brutally honest he was, very much unlike the celebrities now, all smiles and laughter, but full of scorn and arrogance the minute the cameras are turned off. I also really enjoy the fact that he doesn’t really care about what everyone thinks, because he went and got married in 2000, at the peak of their success. Not because of any baby in the wife’s tummy, but truly because he wanted to marry her, his idol. And the whole band went on hiatus almost immediately after that, in 2001! Imagine the shock of the fans! First their idol gets married, and then the band rests indefinitely!? I swear I could hear hearts breaking. And the intensity of his protectiveness towards his family is inspiring. He knows he gets crazy fans everywhere he goes, but his family has hardly (if ever) been photographed or harassed. Maybe because he got married at a time and age where the internet was only dial-up and there wasn’t the ease of information sharing available now, and the media was a lot more respectful.

And then, how can you not talk about a rock band without mentioning their mad skills. Rather, the mad skills of tetsuya, the bassist. Generally, for most rock band, the guitar is the shining star of the instruments. But no. Not for laruku. tetsuya’s bass lines are just pure magic. The bass line he creates, takes on a life of its own, with the additional ommph it brings to the song. Just listen to “Blurry Eyes”, “Honey”, “Stay Away” and you will hear what I mean. Bass guitars often take a back seat, playing the supporting role in the band, but laruku’s bass plays an equally (if not more) important role in the songs. And check out “Neo Universe”. He plays a 6-string.

Plus, they are in their mid-40s, yet are just as sexy as they were in their 30s. Japanese rockers. How the hell do they do it?

Oh, and did I mention that the Stay Away MV has the 4 members dancing in synchronicity, like boy bands? :p

L’arc-en-ciel – Stay Away

Therefore, in February, the month they started to get together, I remember why I love them so much!

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First JRock band vs future JRock music

I have a ‘conclusion’. That the first JRock band that one listens to, or discovers, has the greatest impact on their future JRock music likes.

For example, I started with X Japan, forefathers of Visual Kei, easily the most important figures of the JRock scene, especially the VK circle. And I realise now, that it’s a tad more difficult for me to really understand and like the newer “Visual Kei” bands or JRock bands in general. Take alice nine. for example. I wouldn’t say they make bad music. But I’ll not consider myself a fan in any way. I won’t buy their albums, nor will I find out everything about them, like I did for X Japan. It could be due to age but they’ve just not got the inspirational quality to them at all.

I went on to L’Arc-en-ciel, which was mostly happy music for me. Their music I love, their members I adore & spaz over but X is still my life & soul.

None has ever surpassed the punch and the awesomeness that is X.

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