Apr 202014

5 Seconds of Summer wear their influences on their chests?

5 Seconds of Summer wear their influences on their chests?

I was reading an article about 5 Seconds of Summer (it told me that they are boy band who are basically One Direction’s Australian buddies), and it got me to thinking: do even musicians like the guys in One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer listen to fairly sophisticated music themselves? I figure they must listen to more stuff than random people who listen to them – when their lives are spent being involved in the music business, I find it a little implausible that they only listen to stuff in the top 40. But at the same time, I’d be surprised if one of the guys in One Direction started talking about his love for Can and Berlin-era David Bowie. So where in between do the rest of you think this lies (I mean, I’d assume it varies a lot by person, but still)? Or am I just totally off?

One closing thought to these ramblings: As “indie” becomes more and more popular, especially poppier acts like HAIM and CHVRCHES, I’d bet there’s a lot of overlap between what some (younger generally?) indie rock/indie pop fans listen to and what mainstream pop musicians listen to. But I really have no idea.


  6 Responses to “Music Musicians Listen To”

  1. Good questions. I was immediately reminded of a video someone here posted a few months ago of One Direction covering the Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks” in concert. I believe another Townsperson pointed out that that song is more popular in its homeland than we can imagine, but still, I was shocked that One Direction, or their dad/manager/whoever, turned them onto that punk rock classic that any of my “normal” friends in the US has never heard.

    Your second point is SPOT ON! Why a band like Haim is even considered “indie” is beyond me. Why, because the women dress like they shop at Urban Outfitters, the hipster chain whose profits go to fund the CEO’s conservative, big business political interests? There’s a song on their big album that I liked; it sounded like late-period Fleetwood Mac. Nothing about the music – and I’m sure nothing about its creation – was remotely independent, in terms of financing, influences, etc. That’s fine, but it must make for a weird sense of “indie” for the youth of America. How will kids know what to smash up, the day they ever decide to get off their ass and smash something up? Everybody loves Kanye, Jay-Z, The Boss… In a world in which the wearing of socks and flip-flops (aka “slides”) is acceptable, is there any behavior left that can make one feel left out?

  2. 2000 Man

    I’ve never liked “Indie” as a description for a type of music. I suppose it’s no less broad than what the Rock Hall considers “Rock N’ Roll,” but a line needs to be drawn somewhere. Haim may look like an Indie band, but they’re on a major, aren’t they? I guess they can’t be called “Alternative” these days because that’s boys that kind of sound like Nirvana, which is stupid. At the very least, an “Indie” band should be on an independent label. I’m okay if it’s distributed by a major, but, I dunno. It’s just already a messed up word.

    I think musicians (especially successful ones) listen to a wider variety of music than people that aren’t musicians. I’m not sitting through an entire reggae record. I’ll listen to The Stones do a reggae influenced song, though. I’m not going to listen to a Robert Johnson record, because number one, I did that once, and number two, all his songs are better with a whole band doing them. I know musicians that actually sit and listen to Robert Johnson all the time, but while I can appreciate him, I don’t want to sit and listen to it. I start getting antsy.

    Same with jazz and classical. My youngest loves Monk and Miles and to be truthful, if that’s what music was, I wouldn’t really have any music. I’m kind of the same way with Blues, Bluegrass, you name it. I can listen to Zydeco on the radio for a long time, but I can also live without it.

    But I don’t have to write any songs. Or learn how to play them or anything like that. I can just enjoy whatever I want and not care if it breaks new ground or steals something from somewhere else. I listen to music much differently than a musician, I’d imagine. I don’t think about what effects they used, or what board they recorded it through, or who mastered it. I listen to it and decide if it appeals to me and I don’t care if anyone else likes it. But I meet a lot of younger people that like music, and some of them even like some of the music I like, so that’s pretty cool.

  3. mockcarr

    That’s a really scary thought. Not having any music that I liked to hear would be like living in a country where I never bothered to learn the language.

  4. 2K brings up an interesting point: whether musicians feel a need to “study” different kinds of music to any degree. Do the musicians (of any stripe) among us feel that way? I guess I do, to some extent. Not that I actually sit down and play along to records by anyone, but I do feel the need to check out artists outside my wheelhouse, now and then, and see if there’s anything worth mining. I have to end up liking, of course, whatever it is I hope to integrate into my own music, but I do make mental note of ideas I’d like to work into the mix: How would I work a reggae bass line into one of my kinds of songs? How could I incorporate West Coast hippie harmonies (not something I’m naturally keen to hear) into one of my songs without sounding like I’m aping a West Coast hippie band? What is it from my love of TSOP records of the ’70s that I can bring into my music without running the risk of doing a “Paul Simon,” and just appropriating someone else’s style? There’s a Humble Pie song with a particular gimmick that I’ve been wanting to bring into my music for years. One of these days I will find a way to sneak it in the back door and not make the song sound like a ripoff of Humble Pie.

  5. 2000 Man

    Wouldn’t that suck? I have a feeling I’d like something else if there wasn’t electric guitars, but I can’t imagine what. I LOVE the music I listen to, and can’t imagine what it would be like without it, but outside of trying to understand the music I like, a lot of other music doesn’t really do it for me. I can appreciate the skill and hard work and sometimes I may even really love a song (like Take 5, that’s great, but that album is a snooze), but I’ve given up caring if my tastes are eclectic or not. I like what I like, and there’s so much of it that I haven’t heard that I don’t want to waste my time trying to appreciate Scott Joplin or Franz Liszt more than I do.

    I mean, there’s some group of teenagers that just learned how to play their instruments that I don’t want to miss out on!

  6. 2000 Man

    I think musicians, engineers, producers and everyone involved in making and recording music listens differently than I do. I sort of understand how music is made, because I went to school when people thought it was important for kids to understand art and music was an every day class for at least ten years. So I can tell if something isn’t in the right pitch or if something is way off time and some things like that. But usually those technical things don’t bother me. If I like the way the music makes me feel, then it’s “good.” I don’t have to worry about sounding like I’m ripping off Humble Pie, because I’m just listening to Humble Pie (or some band that’s ripping them off, I don’t really care). I mean, to me, the fact that if Keith Richards is playing a Telecaster or an SG doesn’t matter, because no matter what guitar he’s playing, he sounds like Keith Richards to me. I’ve seen musicians argue over Keith’s open tuning all the time, though. I’d never care if he’s in open G or open E, though. So long as the chords hit hard and fast, I’m happy!

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