Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Top 5: Musicians Who Have Influenced Me

A lot of people think musicians should talk less politics, but I think that it's great. In my eyes a musician can only write so many meaningful songs about love and other feelings -- at some point they need to have some other thoughts. (Image: CBC) I have nothing against musicians singing about love and whatnot, but I think covering a variety of topics leads to more meaningful art; I would equally criticize a band that made music about Communism every song. The bands and individuals I have highlighted in this list contribute something original on a consistent basis. Their music is not just singing about issues; they put it in context.

Without further ado, here's my top 5:

  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers

  2. The Beatles

  3. Rage Against the Machine

  4. Tom Morello

  5. John Lennon

5. Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a unique group with a unique sound to match. Their music covers topics such as love, friendship, loss, addiction problems, and much more. Though very down to earth, the Red Hot Chili Peppers create a disorienting world with heavy funk influences. Though their music doesn't typically feature feel-good lyrics, the songs generally have a sense of completion or satisfaction. (Image: Wikipedia)

4. The Beatles
Anyone who isn't influenced by The Beatles is not my type of person. Seriously though, I think we would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't at least have an appreciation for the influence of The Beatles on music. The Beatles sang about so many important issues it's hard to list something they didn't sing about. Though they didn't usually infuse opinion in an obvious way, they raised issues in ways that got observant listeners thinking. (Image: Wikipedia)

3. Rage Against the Machine
Unlike The Beatles, Rage Against the Machine did nothing to hide their opinions. Though I'm not always in total agreement with the specific messages, the attitude of the band is greatly amusing and empowering. Rage has a totally unique sound that, in much the same was as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, creates a world of its own. Bordering on hard rock musically, Zack de la Rocha adds poetic lyrics in a rap-like style that come across as totally genuine and natural. (Image: Wikipedia)

2. Tom Morello
Going solo as "The Nightwatchman" after the break up and Rage, during and after being part of Audioslave, Tom Morello took on a folksy style and sang of oppression and war. The music is hard to like for some due to Tom's vocal limitations, but the lyrics are packed with eye-opening references that get the gears inside my head spinning. Tom has proven himself again and again in many different genres. (Image: Wikipedia)

1. John Lennon
Again, even though I already mentioned The Bealtes, John Lennon is a great artist and a great thinker. He had a lot of interesting thoughts on many issues and expressed them in totally artistic style. Many people who disagreed with him still listened to him because it was great music. John was funny in both ironic and good natured ways, though usually the former. He's really been a big influence on me in many ways; his music is extremely genuine and stands out to me above all others. (Image: Amazon)