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Forget the labels, give Cults a listen

November 30, 2011
Keith Lichens (letters@graffitiwv.com) , Graffiti

Normally, I gravitate towards rock music. Different variants from when rock first hit the scene in the 1950s and every kind in between since. I have many loves starting with The Beatles all the way to Metallica and beyond.

I was first introduced to 'alternative' music when I was a kid and witnessed standout bands such as Smashing Pumpkins and The Pixies when they were emerging onto the scene during the early 1990s. I think that rock and even the term alternative is a little vague if you ask me. What I mean is there are different labels such as 'New Wave' and bands such as The Cure who hate being labeled.

During high school, I hated being labeled and labels in general. We had the punk rock kids segregated; we had the head bangers in another cluster together; we had the dark (emo) kids that wore black make-up and would practice at being depressed and bored all the time. And let's not forget the jocks who had their special area of the lunch room, as well as the nerds.

I was well aware of all these different types of labels but I never understood it. As I said, I loved all sorts of music. I still love rock music of all distinctions. I also love hip-hop and there are several versions of that genre as well.

As Billy Joel said, "It's still Rock and Roll to me" and he is totally correct. Why all the labels?

I remember people in my school were baffled as to what category or class of person I was since I was friends with the punk crowd, the metal crowd, the hippies; the art students and the emo kids. I still baffle people. Why do I need a label? Why does anyone need a label? I love all kinds of music. Music, personally, has been the best therapy for me for as long as I can remember.

When I was a kid, my mother got me into The Beatles and even some folk music of the 1960s. From this influence, I got into Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix over the years. So thanks to my mother for influencing my love of music, especially rock music and how it has evolved over the years.

Music should either influence the mood you are in or make you feel happy when you are sad and vice versa. When I am upset and angry and full of anger or depressed, I listen to Metallica. There is a relation and understanding to how I am feeling.

Lately, I have been feeling peaceful and neutral. I don't know if the colder weather has any influence on my change in musical taste but I am gravitating towards bands with a more of an 'echo,' retro sound. Halloween just ended. I just got done listening to punk bands such as The Misfits, which is a routine for me around this time of year. At the moment, I am listening to The Cure. The Cure and the fall weather go hand-in-hand for me. Not that I am an emo, I just love The Cure and I noticed I do listen to them a lot when we are starting to have colder months and we lose an hour of sunlight - interesting.

During the winter months, I tend to revisit The Beatles and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Spring comes around, I start to mainly listen to harder stuff through to summertime.

As I said, whatever strikes my mood, I am listening to it. These days, I have been descending to sounds with a retro feel. Certain albums using a lot of distortion and echoes with different sounds.

One of those albums is from a band called Cults. This breath of fresh air came out in June 2011. The self-titled album has gotten some air play but I do not feel it is getting any reception from the public. If you are anything like me, you get tired of hearing the same thing over and over again on the radio. Even my beloved classic rock music and the repetitive pop music that is out these days are driving me nuts. I want a new sound.

Cults are a duo from New York. I just discovered them from an iTunes suggestion based on the different music collection I already have. I have to say, I am in love. The sound is so ambient and peaceful. It reminds me of early 1960s pop music; however with a modern twist to it. I wouldn't even call it alternative music.

As cheerful as it sounds, there is a darkness lying there within the music. I haven't put my finger on it quite yet since I am still trying to figure out exactly what is appealing about this album to me. I just love it. Overall, it is a simple album. It is only 30 minutes long and in the end, oddly enough, it makes you feel a little better.

Music and moods do go hand-in-hand. I would suggest Cults for anyone who is open-minded and who has an appreciation for 1960s-style music.

"Cults" would be labeled alternative I suppose but I already mentioned my feelings on labels. If you like something, who cares? My advice, ignore the labels and just listen to whatever your heart fancies. One day you are listening to opera and the next day you are jamming to Britney, that's fine. One thing that music can do is accommodate everyone's inconsistent moods.

Give "Cults" a listen. It is only $7.99 on iTunes for a 30-minute album. I highly recommend it.

 
 

 

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