Sat, Jun 13, 2020 4-minute read

I had never been one to appreciate music. I had a few tracks that I listened to all through college. I still remember the CD that Satya gave me – sort of an initiation to rock and metal, so to say. I wasn’t quite a fan of classical music at the time. Neither Indian classical nor western classical. I did like a selected 2-3 songs from each of the prominent boy-bands of the time – Backstreet Boys, Boyzone and the like. A fad that I grew out of in a couple of months time. The only bands that stuck to my playlists are Nickelback and Iron maiden. Most of the rest are singles and a good mix of pop, rock and melodies.

Over time, I kind of discovered Indian classical music as well. There are a bunch of songs that I can listen to any time of the day even now. But they are a handful that I couldn’t scale past. I always dismissed as my lack of taste in music. Now am discovering K-pop and their boy and gal bands. While I don’t think a second time about the band or the singers, I do like a few songs that have made into my Spotify playlist. Frankly, I think their melodies are quite good. Specifically, the one I have embedded below.

This song is very special to me. I play it at least once every day. Followed by a guitar rendition of “The Memories of the Alahambra” – again linked below.

While the guitar play is simply a brilliant piece of art, the Sigriswil piece is a memory. Let me explain. When Roja released, there was a phenomenal piece by A R Rahman – Pudhu Vellai Mazhai. That song, to me, is a memory. A memory of something I have never experienced – snow. How can you have a memory of something you have never experienced? I haven’t the slightest clue, but every time I hear the song open, I am momentarily placed in the same place as the video was shot, I feel a slight drop in temperature around me with a sense of a fresh air blowing around me. Mind you, I have no idea how cold it would be near a snow-clad valley. So its all imagined and playing out in my head and my entire system conspiring to cheat me with that memory. Here is the song:

Sigriswil is one such memory. It puts me in a view, alongside the lead characters of CLOY (a series that romantics like me should avoid, for its quite difficult to get over) where people are landing after a paragliding session along the alps somewhere in Switzerland. Again a place and setting I have never experienced in person. Now, this doesn’t happen a lot. In the course of my 36 odd years of living on this planet, there are two songs that do this for me. I have had the reverse happen to me a lot. There are many places in Chennai that I intimately associate with songs. I have written about this elsewhere as well.

For most people, music is a way to focus or get them started. I know a lot of people who need music for their workouts, for their running, for them to study, for them to write code etc. For me, frankly, music is a distraction. I tend to focus on the music and try to understand it rather than using it as cue to do something else. I guess its just how I am wired. So music is exclusively a relaxation tool for me. When I want to be completely empty (maybe snack something unhealthy), music is what I need going on. But then I recently found that I cannot tolerate loud music anymore. Funny that should happen – I never missed a heavy metal night in Saarang over the course of 6 years of academia. And in most of these concerts, I’d spend my time standing near the loudest speakers – its a surprise I wasn’t deaf by the time I graduated. From there to being unable to tolerate loud music over a course of a decade is a huge change. So my playlist has morphed into melodies, mild pop and somewhat classical like the ones above.

K-Pop has some benefits for me. Since I don’t understand Korean (not very well at least, for now), these songs are completely background music to me. So they don’t distract me the least and I definitely love the songs I have identified. Yes, there are a couple of english words here and there but nearly sufficient to make me want to sing along. Perhaps when (and if) I learn Korean with reasonable fluency, this playlist would become just like my other lists. By the way, if you are interested here is my k-pop list (hopefully evergreen and updated as I discover more songs that I like).