As I’ve tweeted, and posted on Facebook — here’s a sound I just love. Is it an animal, singing? Is it music from some other culture? No, it’s an escalator at the Archives stop on the Washington DC Metro. Somehow it sings, and (to my ear) very wistfully, too.
And for more diversion, from the excellent “Click Track” pop music blog at the Washington Post, you can listen — in chronological order — to just a few seconds from every No. 1 pop single, from Elvis to today. The length of each cut varies, so each time you get enough to know what song it is. (Someone did hard work on this.) It’s diverting to hear. And informative. You’ll hear a parade of changing musical styles! Corresponding, of course, to changes in our culture. Which now are audible.
And it’s striking (a) how pop music grew more sophisticated, over the years, and (2) how some songs hit home in just a few seconds. I was looking for an example, and two came up, one after the other — the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” and, believe it or not, “I’m a Believer.” Yes, the Monkees. It’s a lesson on focused musical content. What blend of melody, rhythm, harmony, and sound sticks in your mind, the moment you hear it? (Also “Light My Fire” and “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of of the Bay.”) [Blog software won't recognize " and ( as part of the same word! Explaining any weird line break you see...] Also “Hey Jude,” “ABC,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and so many more.)
Great fun. Though sometimes disorienting, as each few seconds brings a new universe.