I consider myself fairly well versed in most of the genres of music played in the United States today and all the way back to the very first recordings ever made. I even listen to a few foreign artists even though I don’t understand the lyrics. I have a few favorites in almost all of them but among them all, pop music seems to have some of the most unsettling sounds injected into them that just irritates me to no end. The earth shaking sounds of some dude cruising the Wal-Mart parking lot blaring rap music through quadruple 1000 watt subwoofers and causing minor structural damage to the building itself don’t really bother me at all. In fact I somewhat admire the brute force hidden beneath the facade of ordinary looking vehicles, many of which are only worth a fraction of what the sound system inside them costs. I’m not really irritated by the mexican party crowd 1/2 mile up the road that play their music full blast till the wee hours. In fact I’ve even been known to hike up the road with a six-pack of Corona Light and join in a cumbia line or 2 myself.
The irritating sounds I’m talking about are those that when I’m driving, something in the music sounds like somebody left a cell phone in my car and it’s ringing, or the ones that make me look around to try figure out which direction the ambulance or fire truck is coming from. Just today I was driving and there was a song on the radio that I wasn’t familiar with. A little way into the song, a sound came out of nowhere that resembled those incessant beeps the radio and TV stations play just before they give a tornado warning. Is it just me or is anyone else puzzled by these odd sounds popping up lately? If you’re not puzzled by it, exactly what is it that these sounds actually contribute to the music?
Perhaps the most unsettling type of sounds in music today are the ones that make me think there’s something wrong with my car. This group, X Ambassadors has a song out called “Unsteady”. that song might have been better titled “Unsettling” because of the strange sound in it. If you pay close attention to it there is a faint sound in the background that more resembles a coded message from outer space than anything ever heard in music before. The sound is even more irritating after my wife convinced me to start wearing a hearing aid. (Thanks Dear) The best I can describe the sound is a kind of a cross between a non-rhythmic tapping sound and radio static. Sounds a bit like the time a field mouse chewed his way through my cabin air filter and got cought up in the heater fan. If you’re not familiar with the song I’ve pasted the video below for your “listening pleasure”.