Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Less Is More For Great Music

OK, I mentioned this in my previous post about music, so I want to expand on this idea. Mainly, I'm thinking that a lot of the bands that end up being really influential, especially in a way that's musically relevant, tend to have a really stripped down sound that focuses on the basics of the music. Rather than a huge band with two guitars and a horn section and what not, the bands that have only 3 or 4 guys seem to really have an influence on the way the music evolves.

I have basically three examples in mind (give me 3 examples!!!). The first is Buddy Holly and his band. They were three guys. Buddy played guitar and sang, some guy played bass, and someone played drums. He revolutionized rock and roll by stripping the sound down to just those three instruments.

The next example I have is Nirvana. Kurt Cobain on guitar/vocals, Cris Novacelic on Bass, and Dave Grohl on drums. Again, they achieved a full sound, and were really influential with just those three guys.

The last is the White Stripes. They are as stripped down as it gets. Jack White on guitar/vocal and, ahh, what's her name?, ah Meg, Meg White on drums. They have a huge sound with just a guitar and drums. And they're awesome, obviously. It wouldn't be worth mentioning them if they weren't.

I can think of some individual songs that are great in a stripped down way. "Yesterday" by the Beatles, previously described by me as the perfect song, is just Paul McCartney with a guitar.

I don't think this is a carved in stone type of thing. I'm not saying that stripped down is the only way to do it. There's a lot of room to refute all this and you can point out that the best Beatles albums were the ones where they had the whole orchestras and wuch at work. And you can argue that Pet Sounds, by the Beach Boys, which might be the best album ever, was an experiment by Brian Wilson to put every possible noise making apparatus, whether instrument or not, into one collection.

Maybe I'm wrong. It's just been a couple day since anyone posted, so I figured I'd give something for people to disagree with.


Joe said...

I disagree.

The Beatles' best song is "You Never Give Me Your Money", which is over-produced and downright orchestral.

The Notorious LJT said...

Paul was actually accompanied by a string quartet in yesterday.

Also, no other Beatle appeared on the track.

Hasdai said...

Revolutions in music would seem to work two ways. One, as you mentioned, is to strip down pre-existing genres or tropes to core elements, revealing something new or revolutionary simply through simplicity. The other course is to take a pre-existing but rather basic genre or arrangement and make it far more elaborate.

ChuckJerry said...

Mu'fucker talking 'bout tropes.

Had to look that one up.