There’s music you like.
There are songs that are good.
And then there are bits of music that tear you apart and assemble you into something better.
Most probably these should be timeless music, Classical or by the Beatles; songs that you could, once I mention them, recall and say “Ha! I am aware of that tune, and I agree. You are not a crazy rabbit-ears type of person.”
Well, I am a bunny-ears lawyer, then.
Accidentally, though nicely, the three examples below are ones where I adore the lyrics (the first), I adore the music (the third), and I adore the singing and the song though I don’t have a clue of the language (the second).
First, let’s start with Iron Maiden, with a song off their Piece of Mind album, out in 1983. That’s a year after I was born — and 19 years before I realized Maiden to be the best band there is. Oh, the shame.
Or let’s rather start with a bit of a song. The song itself, “To Tame A Land”, is based on Frank Herbert’s Dune, and cribs plenty of words off it; but the song is a mediocre Maiden song. But oh, the bit a minute and 58 seconds in is, for 20 seconds or so, the proverbial chill-inducing stuff. “He is the Kwisatz Haderach, he is born of Caladan, and will take the Gom Jabbar.”, oh yes.
(That’s, by the way, how you do a song about a book: you actually say enough for the alert listener to notice what you’re doing. Another favorite band of mine, Blind Guardian, had two songs about George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire on their newest album — I wouldn’t know if they hadn’t said, because the lyrics were so opaque and vague I found no way to tell. I can’t stand people who feel the need to be so subtle their subtlety is indistinguishable from incoherence. It’s not as if Blind Guardian doesn’t know how to make recognizable based-ons; you’ll recognize Tommyknockers even without the title if you’ve read the book and bother to listen.)
Next, a song I discovered as a beginning song for a season of Inu Yasha, a so-and-so anime adaptation of a so-and-so-manga by Rumiko Takahashi, who has done much better things.
But this one song — can’t say why I like it so, and I suspect it’s not all about the music. Could have something to do with a summer, and two brothers in a time and place beyond the statute of limitations watching an awfully codek-ed copy of Inu Yasha, acquired through friends and means best left unsaid. (The third brother was disapproving meanwhile; disapproving of anime, not of the means of its acquisition.)
Anyway, this is Angelus, by Hitomi Shimatani, and it’s a crime if she isn’t big in Japan.
And thirdly, something off the soundtrack of a genuinely great anime. That is Neon Genesis Evangelion, a happy, peppy… no, wait, a horrible show where every single character has a crippling psychological flaw or a truckload of them, and everyone gets more and more broken every single episode until the mother of all “what the fuck?” endings drops. (Just read the introduction on TV Tropes.)
It’s a nice show to watch, if you’re not allergic to not knowing quite what you’ve watched even after a couple of rewatches. I recommend.
This bit of background music, sweet and perfect and almost enough to start me taking lessons of guitar or piano, is called “Good, or Don’t Be”.