May 20, 2009

Wow what a couple of weeks. My brain is still a little numb from all the research papers and lack of sleep. It feels good to be writing because I want to again, not because ohmygod this thing is due in four hours and I still have five pages left. Anyway.

The new Green Day album, 21st Century Breakdown, came out on Friday.  It is fantastic.  Truly phenomenal.  Better yet, I finally get to see them live!  The show is at Madison Square Garden in late July.  I’ll be way at the top.  The sound should be amazing though.  They hang a huge cluster of speakers from the ceiling for concerts like this, and it makes the music take over the air.  You’re surrounded by a pulsating mass of noise that whirls you around like a carnival ride.  I’m excited beyond words.

Time to talk about something that doesn’t make me hyperventilate.  I’ve been listening to some acoustic Bad Religion lately and I love it.  The first thing I notice about a song is usually the melody.  That’s been true ever since I was little.  As much as I love crunching guitars and thundering drums, I still fall head over heels for a good melody.  Bad Religion writes some beautiful ones, and their acoustic performances are proof.  There’s so much to get wrapped up in.

My favorite is “Skyscraper”.  On the electric version, the gorgeous melody only stands out in short intervals before abandoning its slow sweetness to catch up with the drums.  The whole song feels frenzied and rushed.  The acoustic version gives the music room to breathe, and Greg’s voice sounds just lovely.  Listening to it, it seems as though this is the way the song was meant to be played, like the rare instances when a cover version is better than the original.  Check it out:

Another great one is “Cease”.  From what I can tell Greg usually plays it on piano at his solo shows.  Again the absence of anything but words and a melody makes the song that much more incredible.  At one point in this video the whole crowd starts singing along.  What a blissful moment.

This last video is an entire acoustic set Bad Religion did live on KROQ.  They play “Infected”, “New Dark Ages” and “Dearly Beloved”.  It’s a jam session so smooth and relaxed that without the DJ you might mistake it for a late night in a basement.  It’s effortless, a perfect example of how well Bad Religion work together.

I love seeing melodies showcased like this.  It lets you sink into a song and feel the undercurrents running through it.  Beautiful.


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