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3 Thoughts: Music Hot Takes

2019 February 173 min read

For the past several months I've been keeping a casual journal, where I write down random thoughts, big and small, that come to mind during whatever mindless activities I've been doing on a daily basis. Got some hot takes about music stockpiled up now - strap yourselves in, everyone :)

- 1 -

I pity the people whose "cringe reflex" is so sensitive that they can't enjoy dad jokes and "corniness" in rap lyrics. It's just so funny to me, in a good way, to hear hard-ass gangster rappers saying goofy puns like "I ride in disguise like hang gliders" or "I'm top dog like a bottomless pit". Like you can't even listen to that line without trying to imagine a dog with their butt amputated; it's hilarious.

I think it explains why I can enjoy Hamilton for its lyrics, for example, even though other "hip hop heads" make fun of it (while also pointing to valid criticisms about its politics, of course). The poster child for this kind of corniness nowadays is Eminem - everyone likes to clown his line "your booty is heavy-duty like diarrhea", which is admittedly not his best but to me is just innocuous filler. In the same song, though, he says "I'm stiff as a statue that you sat on a shelf / I feel like I'm a bust - maybe I'm just a head of myself", which is just one of the many really clever lines that people should be talking about in my opinion.

- 2 -

Along the same vein, unironically it takes balls to just say "Gucci Gang" 7 times in a row as the hook to your song. I mean, most hooks are just as vacuous and this one is catchy, rhythmic, and the omission of the implied first "Gucci Gang" in the phrase of eight gives it some interest. Rap is about using your speaking voice as a percussion instrument. If the rest of the lyrics weren't crappy and cliched I might actually like the song.

- 3 -

Back to classical music - is it just me or is the second movement of Ravel's G Major piano concerto just... awful? I have no idea why people like it so much; to me it's the worst thing Ravel ever wrote.

Oftentimes when I'm bored, I do these random freeform improv recordings where I just mindlessly fool around on the piano and see what ideas come out of it - and if I were doing one of those and what I came up with was the first four bars of that second movement then I would immediately go "ok wow, I'm not feeling it today at all" and stop recording.

Meanwhile all the YouTube comments are like "wow, this 2nd movement is literally transcendent and Ravel was on a higher level of spiritual consciousness". I don't get it.

The crescendos in the middle are pretty sick, though, with the piano sextuplets. Just not enough to redeem the concerto as a whole from the stain of the second movement. A shame, because the third movement is absolutely fantastic and criminally underrated.

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