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The Pants Three: Music Artists
If there's one page of the About Pants section that will get me in the most trouble, this page would be it. Music is such a universal subject, everyone can relate to the concept, they know roughly what they like and similarly, they know what they don't like.
The intro to this page mentioned I don't listen to a large amount of music, but it still must have a remarkable impact on my life. Considering what my hobbies are and the stuff I'm involved with all day at my job, the majority of the articles on the archive pages are all about music-related stuff.
My choices here are, shall I say, not the most 'traditional' combination that's ever been formed. Everyone has different tastes, and I just happened to have picked some artists that most people have extremely polarised opinions on. You'll either love or hate these artists, there's very little middle-ground. On top of that, each artist has their own distinct audience, so chances are slim that you'll find someone who crosses over all three genres. This is starting to sound like a disclaimer...
I only know of one or two special people who like just two of the artists below. I fear for the day I get the trifecta and find someone else who appreciates all three of the artists listed here. Terrified.
« Britney Spears
I should say this right off the bat: I don't like "Pop Music". I am not in the rabid teenybopper demographic, I am not following the latest pop-culture trends. I do not want to get into Britney's pants. Any other stereotypes I've missed...?
Why, for the love of God, *why*...:I get asked this question a lot. Despite this, it's not an easy one to answer convincingly, but I'm a bit weird like that.
You'll eventually notice the recurring theme on this page is my fascination with the people behind the music, not just the music itself. Britney as an artist has talent, I'll give her that much, but her producer/songwriter Max Martin should get tagged with most of the blame for me liking Britney's earlier work. The way to think of it is that Britney Spears is simply a vessel for the production values which I admire.
For a pop album to become listenable (even enjoyable) to someone like me, who is clearly not the target audience-- now that takes skill, and this alone gets Max Martin my much coveted nod of approval.
How it all started:The year was 1999 and I was organising some random files, music, movie trailers etc., intending to burn them on a CD for a friend of mine. This was quite common back then.
Being the bastard I am, I downloaded Britney's first album and renamed/re-tagged all the files so it'd look like I had burnt some new stuff from my friend's favourite band. Heh. [ And people wonder why I have so few friends... ]
The little joke worked perfectly, the CD was promptly returned to me the next day in disgust. Bored one day I loaded it up in Winamp to have a listen, the rest is history...
Discography highlights:Her first two albums, ...Baby One More Time (1999) and Oops!... I Did It Again (2000), are my personal favourites of the bunch. The others are good, but a bit less consistent.
Pop Princess runners up:As I said earlier I really don't like pop music so the list of competition is very slim, but they are there for the same reason as Britney:- it's all about album production values.
Everyone's second-favourite Canadian, Avril Lavigne, gets a mention thanks to some slick producing. The other runner up would be the cute Norwegian pop-duo M2M, who coincidentally were also produced by Britney's Max Martin.
Further reading:http://www.britneyspears.com - Official website
http://www.allmusic.com - AMG biography
http://www.pantsnetwork.com - Unofficial fansite
Just like in my mention of Britney above, another musical stereotype that I don't fit in with is the typical Metallica fan: a head-banging, black T-shirt wearing heavy metal listener.
I'm very particular about which specific era of Metallica music I enjoy most, which explains how I avoid the stereotype yet still consider myself a true fan of the band.
I have every one of the 10+ albums they have released, but the only ones I can really listen to anytime of the day are the ones released between 1991's Black Album and 1999's S&M. Coincidence I'm sure, but this is the golden era where the Metallica boys were under the guidance of super-producer Bob Rock, plus these albums are definitely on the lighter end of the heavy metal scale.
Why:By far the most common genre of music I listen to fits under the label of 'rock music'. I would consider Metallica's 1991-1999 albums to also belong under that label. Great stuff to get me relaxed or to practice air-drumming with...
I should also dedicate one paragraph to the group's co-founder and drummer extraordinaire, Lars Ulrich. Danish-born Lars is inspirational to drummer-wannabes like me, plus his over-the-top facials in every concert performance definitely makes him my favourite member of the band.
How it all started:Late 1997, the first few singles released for the Reload album were getting enough airplay on Channel[V] to catch my interest. I started go back through their earlier work, collecting what I could, although the difference between the Black Album and those before it was quite dramatic...
Just like the shift between S&M and their latest, St. Anger.
Discography highlights:The Black Album (1991) and Load (1996) are both very enjoyable efforts. 1999's live album S&M would have to be my favourite though, the band collaborating with an orchestra to approach their greatest songs (including pre-Black stuff) from a completely different angle.
Kings Of Rock runners up:I'm putting Metallica in the rock category because that's the music of theirs I like, not the stuff labelled heavy metal...
It's almost a three-way tie for my favourite rock artist. Metallica come first because of the sheer number of albums they've released, but the other two spots go to the Foo Fighters (or any Dave Grohl side-project), and releases from Soundgarden or Audioslave (or anything else with Chris Cornell involved). "Not too heavy, not too light...".
Further reading:http://www.metallica.com - Official website
http://www.allmusic.com - AMG biography
« Nine Inch Nails
Although the heading says Nine Inch Nails, it should really read Trent Reznor, because he basically is NIN.
Taking care of everything from songwriting, arrangements, instrumental & vocal performances to editing, mixing and producing, Trent's pretty much in control of everything he can manage. He even has his own record label.
Why:I have a lot of respect for Trent as a musician. Not only from the dominant role he plays in the entire production process, but because the music he creates is unlike anything else I've ever heard.
He has proven that he is a very patient person, taking a 5-year 'rest' in between the four studio albums he's created. This perfectionist approach has always paid off though with every album being a vastly different experience, yet all conveying very similar emotion and personal relevance.
How it all started:I was first introduced to the world of Trent Reznor through a little videogame called Quake in 1996. The ambient instrumental soundtrack for the game was created by Trent/NIN, adding to the twisted and creepy atmosphere.
Not exactly the stuff you'd listen to outside of the game, but it was a very good first impression I had of Nine Inch Nails. Three years later I heard some of their newest album, The Fragile, and was instantly hooked, so I started collecting every other Reznor album I could get my hands on...
Discography highlights:Everything. It's all good. :)
One Man Band runners up:Reznor's probably in a league of his own here when it comes to running the show from start to finish.
Beck and Mark Oliver Everett (of 'E'/MC Honky/The Eels fame) are other notable examples of artists who can re-invent themselves and let their music evolve with their life experiences. Both aren't as 'one man band'-ish as Trent, but they still are the major contributor in their music.
Further reading:http://www.nin.com - Official website
http://www.allmusic.com - AMG biography
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