As a regular YouTube visitor, I've found plenty of great stuff. In researching Post, I found Ian MacKaye's legendary rant about emo-core in 1986, as well as when At the Drive-In stopped playing in Australia because of moshing. The list is long, but with non-research stuff, I find myself watching certain clips over and over again. And these are clips, like yesterday's Poison clip, that cast light on certain sides of my music tastes that are miles away from hip or kosher. I still believe there should be no guilt in pleasure, but fessing up to this stuff seems to take a large leap of faith. Regardless, here are some examples of unashamed enjoyment:
Earth, Wind and Fire performing "After the Love Has Gone" live
I didn't know EW&F performed this song until a few months ago. Hearing it again at my favorite Chinese food place, I looked up the song on Google when I got home. I was surprised that this was the same band behind such uptempo numbers as "Shining Star" and "September." Well, after also realizing Phillip Bailey was in the group and the duet partner on Phil Collins' "Easy Lover," I looked up "After the Love Has Gone" on YouTube.
I must say, this is a pretty stellar rendition. Those high harmonies that kick in at the 2:13 mark are pretty darn amazing. Though I'm well aware this is in the style my friend Kev would find sacrilegious, I can't contain my love for this song. Sure, it falls into the category of smooth, poppy fusion that is branded as a form of jazz, but I can't pass up a good melody because of category.
Dream Theater performing "I Walk Beside You" on the Score DVD
Quite a few months ago, something compelled me to seek out Dream Theater's "Pull Me Under" video. I guess I wanted to compare notes about where I am as a music fan now to when I was in eighth grade. Checking out a few other clips, I came across this straight-forward, poppy tune. I couldn't believe it: Dream Theater pulling off a straight-forward pop song that was more like Snow Patrol instead of King Crimson? Impossible.
Well, I wanted to see the whole Score DVD (especially the documentary on the band's history), so I rented it. I felt like I should challenge myself by watching 8-12 minute songs with odd time signatures, noodling and everything else punk rock set out to destroy. I must say, I got through the whole concert without getting bored, but this song is still my favorite part.
John Legend performing "Ordinary People" on Sessions @ AOL
I actually found this clip last night, but I've been enjoying this song for a few months. It's the kind of song that gives me goosebumps all over. Sure, it's just vocals and piano, but it's so alive. It reminds me of the poppy R&B I grew up listening to. Wonderful, timeless stuff.
Tom Waits on Fernwood 2night
A spoof of late-night talk shows, Fernwood 2night had two very familiar hosts: Martin Mull and Fred Willard. The deal is, this performance/interview with Tom Waits made a very big impression on me. Performing "The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)," he keeps it straight while the audience laughs at him. Make no mistake, it's a song with silly/drunken lyrics, but how Waits composes himself is what I find inspiring. Playing along with the goofball nature of the show, his interview segment is as powerful. Joking that he lives at the intersection of "Squalor at Bedlam," plenty of other classic one-liners are delivered here.
But it's with this clip especially that brings up a sticking point with me. We're free to listen to what we want to, but when it comes to openly talking about it, we have to be on guard. I've experienced the whole "Listen to what you want, but we'll mock you for the uncool things you like" from people around me a few times. Boy does it suck, but I know I should stay on track. Admitting I can tolerate and enjoy a number of Dream Theater tracks will not win me cred points. Then again, I never got into talking about music for the sake of getting cred. Music is endless and I'm still exploring at my own pace.