Underrated Music

We have all sorts of impression, when we hear about the kind of music a person listens. If it’s rock, it’s either you hate it or you love it. If it’s pop, your inclination largely depends on which generation you belong. When you think of classical music, it’s too elite. People say if you like Elton John, Beatles’ music, you have some music sense. But how about country music? A cappella music? Gospel music? How much do you know about these music genres?

I know it’s stereotyping when I call such music genre as underrated? But the reason I describe these music genres as underrated is that they are not highly appreciated by everybody. They are somehow niche music. My assumption is based on the comments and the number of views in Youtube.

Country Music

I was watching a singing contest when one of its episodes featured country music. The contestants talked about what they thought of country music. One of the girls said that all she knew was about songs talking how a horse died, a cow died. Almost all the contestants in the show did not know anything about country music.

I first heard country music in the movie Beverly Hillbillies where Dolly Parton sang the lines, “What good is wealth and fame. Fine clothes and diamond ring.” I could not really relate to country music because I thought it was too American. Whenever I heard “country music,” I saw images of cowboys in a ranch.

I just find out that I have been listening to country music. I know the songs of Shaina Twain and LeAnn Rimes. They are country music singers. Country music is not all about cowboys. It can be sassy with the likes of Taylor Swift. It can be catchy (and it has always been). And do you know Kevin Costner, the award-winning director and actor has a country music band called Modern West? Take note, Whitney Houston’s famous song, I will always love you is a country song.

Here’s my favorite country song

A cappella Music

I think I’ve been writing a lot about a cappella music in my blog (See Define Eargasm, Why you should watch The Sing Off). I am a fan of an a cappella competition called The Sing Off. I’ve been wondering why the show is not getting a lot of buzz, considering it’s an NBC show, and it’s a singing contest as well. And whenever I talk to my friends about The Sing Off, I feel like I’m talking to myself. I also wonder why no mainstream artist ventures on a cappella music.

To show how much people know about a cappella music, ask them how the word “a cappella” is spelled. I used to think that it should be spelled as one word but l discovered that the correct spelling is “a cappella” not “acappella”, not “accapella”. It has double “l” and double “p”.

Lately, there are a lot of video clips in Youtube on a capella music, including videos of internet celebrity Sam Tsui. He makes renditions of popular songs such as those of Adele and Bruno Mars. And sometimes he sings with two or four voices then blends it. Cool! It’s like having a duet and quartet all alone.

Gospel Music

I probably know much about gospel music because I grew up with it. But I don’t really know the “commercial gospel music.” I don’t know which gospel songs sell. I was just surprised when I heard Casting Crowns, The Voice of Truth on the radio. What I generally know is the songs that are traditionally sung in church.

But even if you are not religious, you can like gospel music. Gospel music can make great singers given that gospel songs should be heart-felt. Now, we all know that Whitney Houston was once a gospel singer. The last song she sang before she died was Jesus loves me, a song sung in worship services or in Sunday school. And do you know Katy Perry was a Gospel singer? She used to sing hymns, His Eye on the Sparrow and Oh Happy Day. (Gee, those are the songs we sing in church. I wonder what happened to her.)

 

People often say “Open your heart” and “Open your eyes.” I bet it’s about time to “Open your ears.”

Define Eargasm

Eargasm defined in online slang dictionary as a metaphorical “orgasm of the ears” due to hearing something immensely satisfying, having a good ear cleaning. In urban dictionary, it is defined as the sensation one gets while hearing a dramatic climax in music. In my own definition, eargasm is the pleasure you feel when you listen to good music. It is the moment when you say, “Ahh that sound sooo goood.” You play the music many times in your head. You are responsible for having 1,000 views of of that song in Youtube. You cannot contain the feeling that you share it to other people. You share it in Facebook. You tell your friends offline, “Go, listen.”

If my definition of  eargasm is insufficient, watch or just listen to the performances of The Sing Off finalists.

Pentatonix

The Pentatonix is consistently the best group in the show. They are very inventive with their arrangement. Though their niche is Top 40 hits, they do well in any music genre.  They can make a 60s song sound appealing to their generation. They will let you believe that the original is not always the best.  They have better renditions of pop songs. I’m not a fan of disco music but because of Pentatonix, I learn to love this type of music. The songs they sing have futuristic touch. As what Shawn Stockman said, they were sent from the future to save a capella music.

Urban Method

Like Pentatonix, they have a signature music. Urban Method fuses rap and a capella. They sound like a track from a record album. They mimic sounds you would normally hear  in a recording studio. They used to be my least favorite because their music sounded dark and gloomy. Eventually, they proved me wrong. They showed creativity and versatility.

Dartmouth Aires

If you like Broadway, Dartmouth Aires is your bet. They always have theatrical performances. They are very entertaining even if they don’t have strong beatboxers. They maintain conventional harmonies,  the typical sound you hear in a college choir. I admire them for that because they are able to compete with modern a capella groups even if they sound traditional. They combine class and fun.

In conclusion, if you want good music, watch The Sing Off. All episodes are found on Youtube.

If I were a boy

For straight people, it is easier to admire a member from the opposite sex than to admire those who belong to the same sex. It is a fact of life. It will take some time for a girl to admit that there is someone prettier than she. A boy will not agree with you when you find a matinee idol cute. We do not admire those who belong to the same sex because  subconsciously we feel we are inferior if we do so. What may be beautiful to a boy may not be beautiful to a girl. A girl looks for a lot of qualities before she can finally say that the other girl is pretty. On the other hand, a boy does not have a long check list just to say that girl is pretty.

To admire is one of the most humble things to do. It’s not like everyday you sincerely admire someone. Lesson I learned in life: if you learn to admire, you will be happy. To admire is as good as to be admired. You will be inspired. You will look forward for a better future and for a better self. So look around you and learn to admire.

Due to lack of interesting men, I stumble upon these three girls who take my breath away. These are the girls I would have wanted to date if I were a boy.

Source: Backbeats Facebook Fan Page

Joanna Jones

She is the lead vocalist of Backbeats who competed in The Sing Off. What I like most about her is her wide vocal range. She can sing alto and soprano parts. Sometimes, people think that any female can sing alto as long as she knows how to sing ‘the second voice’. Of course, we know that’s not the definition of alto. She is someone who can sing low notes. And it is rare to find a girl who can release low notes from her mouth. Most girls struggle to hit the low notes. They have to open their nostrils just to make clear and loud alto voice. For this, I admire Joanna Jones. Also, she hits the high notes perfectly.  When I first heard her sang If I were a boy, I got goosebumps. She started with low notes. On the bridge of  Beyonce’s song, her voice shifts to high register. I felt someone slapped me so hard on the face that I wanted to cry. I also like her because she is an ‘honest performer.’ At the back of my head, I can hear Shawty Stockman asking the audience, “Do you know how hard it is?” My definition of honest performer is someone who feels the song and owns the song. Not all singers are ‘honest performers.’  They sing just to show their craftsmanship or the quality of their voices. On the other hand, an  ‘honest performer’ sings  a song as if it were his/her life story. If you still don’t get what I mean, watched her sing in The Sing Off or the video below. You can feel her pain when she sings. I think it has something to do with her eyes. Her eyes are focused, teary and pleading. There is so much truthfulness in her eyes.

Source: Courtney Jensen Facebook Fanpage

Courtney Jensen

Long ago, beatboxing talent did not amuse me. For me, it was a talent for those who could not sing but liked to make music. I often associated beatboxing with guys who wore baggy pants and with guys who like to kiss the microphone. Things changed when I watched Courtney Jensen. I now consider beatboxing as a first class talent.

When you watch Courtney Jensen, it makes you want to learn beatboxing. She has that kind of magic which not all beatboxers have. She makes it look and sound easy. I admire her more because she is simply a girl who does beatboxing (Hello? It’s not like everyday you can find a female beat boxer.) Courtney, is the beatboxer of Backbeats. During the second season of The Sing Off, she was the only female percussionist. Beatboxing is not a talent for those who cannot sing but someone who likes music a lot. I learn that from Courtney. By the way, she is a good singer too.

Amy Whitcomb

She is my newest crush. She is the lead vocalist of all female acapella group, Delilah. The group made an outstanding performance in the first episode of  The Sing Off Season 3. One of the reasons was because of Amy’s vocal prowess. She gave a powerful performance as she sang Bruno Mars’ song Grenade. I experienced earthquake when I heard her sang the middle part of the song. It was a grenade, definitely. Like Joanna Jones, she is an ‘honest performer.’ She can convey emotions clearly with her performance. As she increased the intensity and the volume of her voice, along with the high notes, I felt like I wanted to be exorcised by Amy Whitcomb. When I heard her sang Grenade, I wanted to punch her boyfriend and tear him  into pieces. That’s how effective she is, as a  singer. You can’t help but ask, what kind of boyfriend did she have for her to express such bitterness in her performance. I find her telegenic as well. I like how she presents herself. She wears a leather jacket to cover her flabby arms, and black boots. She appears sexy with her style without wearing short shorts. I also like the way she reacts when she ends her performance and when judges give their comments. Her facial expression is trying to tell you,” I did not do it.”

—-Learn to admire, you will be happy !:)