Modern Monets

“I would hope people leave Dissect with a greater appreciation of art. I would hope they come to respect hip-hop as an art form. I would hope they empathized with artists more, see them as real people who give us extraordinary gifts,” he adds. “I would hope they’d be inspired to spend more time with the things they truly loved.”

— Cole Cuchna, Quote taken from this Interview

Cole is the podcast host of a wonderful podcast called Dissect. In each season Cole dissects an album with each episode dissecting a song from the album.

He happened to dissect albums from my  two favorite hip-hop artists, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West. (Major brownie points there). But besides loving the podcast because of that, I think the podcast is enlightening because Cole is trying to push back against “the swipes.”

In this instant access, instant gratification culture, I would argue that we don’t spend as much time delving into the things we love. Rather, we swipe left or swipe right. We see something or hear a song and either like it or don’t. We swipe up and down our screens to see the next video or next new articles. We pretty much spend a millisecond with anything we interact with. Cole is challenging its listeners to go against the grain and to “spend more time with the things they truly loved.”

I love that.

It goes without saying that I’d recommend you take a listen to Dissect. Hip hop is a genre of music with deep, meaningful roots, and I think Cole helps you appreciate hip hop and its modern pioneers.  Hip hop is the most listened to genre in America. But why do we love it? And who are the artists behind the songs?

Find out with Dissect, starting with getting to know some of the greatest hip hop artists of today.

“The way a masterful painter like Monet would study light and color is the same way Kanye studies and manipulates sound,” he continues. “The textures, the harmonies, the way instruments interact with one another—he’s manipulating these things on a micro-level with a lot of thought and consideration. More than I ever expected…”


Tonina Saputo: Quizás, Quizás, Quizás (Live at Berklee)

“Ms Saputo’s voice is haunting in a unique way… She’s something to behold.”

— A comment from the comments sections

This song is quite ordinary. The melody isn’t too alluring, and there’s nothing too excellent about it.

But I love it. This song is extraordinarily ordinary. The song feels alive, and it feels like a community. You can hear each instrument shine in its own way, and yet they beautifully compliment one another. And need I say anything about the main singer’s voice? Amazing. Her voice just seems like a bunch of contradictions! It is both smooth and coarse. I find it hard to even describe her voice. I almost wonder if singing in Spanish really highlights her warm, complex voice in a way that English wouldn’t be able to do. Ah, the beauty of languages!

Siempre que te pregunto
Que, cuándo, cómo y dónde
Tú siempre me respondes
Quizás, quizás, quizás

Y así pasan los días
Y yo, desesperando
Y tú, tú contestando
Quizás, quizás, quizás

I am always asking you
When, how and where
You always tell me
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps

The days pass this way
And I am despairing
And you, you always answer
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps

“Jazz is the Mother of Hip-Hop”

Wow, wish I could take a course on this:

“If you’re a hip-hop producer that wants a lot of melodic stuff happening,” pianist Robert Glasper says, “you’re probably going to go to jazz first.”

Really interesting video and great use of graphics! I thought it would be interesting to include a little history as well. Jazz was born in the African American communities of New Orleans in the 1900’s. Hip-hop was born in streets of the Bronx, New York City in the 1970’s.

I love that jazz is called the mother of hip-hop. Not only is it a poetic statement but also a sentimental one. It speaks to the dynamics of music development and the richness of African American communities. We have to thank the African American communities from days past and present for their creativity, expression, and boldness. (I think some of it also came from a place of oppression and finding outlets of expression). Thank you for making jazz and hip hop! We all know how much hip-hop is really popular these days. It didn’t come out of nowhere… There’s so much history and artistry in these genres. And as we celebrated Mother’s day this past Sunday, Happy Mother’s Day to Jazz. 🙂 Thank you.

John Mayer: Rosie

“Take my heart by the hand”

— John Mayer

John Mayer will forever be the king of lyrics in my life. The personification of “take my heart by the hand” is so simple yet profound. And that’s exactly what Mr. Mayer is so good at. In just a few words, he can convey a whole song, a whole story, a whole emotion.

When I listen to this song, I get butterflies in my stomach, as if I am daydreaming and thinking of a crush. It’s that feeling of lovesickness that is so, so sweet.

John Mayer, you are simply magic.

DEAN: Half Moon

I don’t listen to Korean music too often. (I go through periods). This is the only Korean music I’ve been listening to lately. The genre is called DEAN- yah, dean boy gets his own genre. 🙂 Sigh. His voice makes me feel like what falling in love would feel like.

Thank you for releasing this on my birthday. Happy birthday to me. [03.23]

The Language of Pop Music

Today, Phoenix began to play in the car, and I mentioned to my friend’s that the music group chose to sing in English. My friend asked, “They’re not American?” To which I replied, “Nope, they’re French.”

Not many of my friends know that the music group, Phoenix, is French. One reason for that may be because their songs are sung in English.

Interestingly, there are international artists, like Björk, who sing in English. When Thomas, the lead singer of Phoenix, was asked why he sings in English, he responded,

English is the language of pop music, pop culture. It is above nationality.

Though the statement could be debated, I am utterly fascinated by it. “English is the language of pop music.” Consider even Korean pop music, in which English is commonly used in parts of songs. (Sometimes even just one word of English is incorporated in a song). Is there a universal, irresistible urge or necessity to utilize or add English to pop music?

I’m sure there are many factors that play into the phenomena of English becoming a language of (pop) music. Take globalization and the increase of teaching English in many foreign countries. That has to have bled over into music as well. Or for the artists, perhaps the switch from their first language to English is exploratory, empowering, or fresh. I would be interested in learning what else has contributed to this phenomena. If anyone has any thoughts, I would love to hear them!