Learning rock

MY FRIEND Carlos Cuano is a big snob when it comes to music, especially rock music. He hates pretentious bands and calls them copy cats. He despises revivals. He has a special hatred for Adam Lambert. But he has a list of bands he adores, and he knows the songs, the lyrics, the writers, and their life stories by heart. He recites the history of rock as if he did an academic dissertation on it.

"But 'rock' is too vague a term," I told him once. "How do you define it?"

He looked at me with serious eyes and said, pointing to his heart, "It's in here."

One day I confessed my ignorance in that department—rock music, I mean. I told him I simply don't enjoy hearing amplified noise which, at one point in my life, was my personal definition of "rock." I'm not fascinated with any rock stars, and I hardly know any song in that category.

I asked him to give me a list of songs he likes. I promised him I'd take the time to listen to them and tell him what I think. He came up with this:

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Here are my impressions:

1. Give Up The Ghost (Radiohead). The repetitive melody enters and exits the consciousness. "In your arms" is the mantra; I can't get it out of my head. I like the muted strumming of the guitar in the background.

2. Helter Skelter (Beatles). Too noisy and chaotic for my taste, but the Beatles performs it with a passion. The imagery of the slide (in the playground, I suppose) reminds me of that incident when I kicked my cousin Kring off it—the slide, I mean. She had a contusion thereafter.

3. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Beatles). How can you not fall for a song about a weeping guitar? I love this song.

4. L.A. Woman (The Doors). Upbeat, in a good kind of way. The guitar solos are my favorite parts. My mother danced to songs like these when we were little, so it brings back memories of seeing her high school classmates do the boogie in our old house.

5. Hello, I Love You (The Doors). Nagugulantang ang kaluluwa ko sa kantang ito.

6. Heart-shaped Box (Nirvana). "Hey! Wait! I've got a new complaint! Forever in debt to your priceless advice." Is that a patient talking to a physician or what?

7. Drain You (Nirvana). The winner line: "With eyes so dilated, I've become your pupil." Can be the subject of an academic essay, when you think about it.

8. Where The Streets Have No Name (U2). A man thinks of going to some far away place, still unnamed, where the streets have no name. His only wish is to go there with the person he loves. The song resonates with my love for taking off to where my feet will lead me.

9. With Or Without You (U2). Desperation is the emotion I sense here. I realize I can listen to U2 songs while studying.

10. Reptilia (The Strokes). See no. 5.

Thanks for introducing these songs to me, Carlos! Next list: your recommended Charice Pempengco songs.

One thought on “Learning rock”

  1. Haha welcome to the world of rock music! Sayang wala ng NU 107, it would have helped in your education. Hahaha. If you like classical (or baroque/romantic, whichever era you prefer) music, you might be interested in listening to progressive metal like Dream Theater. Hehe. :P

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