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July 26, 2008

Don't Stop The Music!

China's ministry of culture is now banning music performances that threaten national sovereignty. Russia is having its own moral panic over music and trying to ban Goth and Emo music. They're also trying to disallow kids from dressing up Emo and Goth, calling the trends a "social danger" and "a threat to national stability". But black is so slimming!

These aren't the first government actions to control culture; in the U.S., we haven't been concerned about the evils of Rock n' Roll or Eminem for awhile, but there are still a lot of vocal supporters calling to get rid of all those violent, influencing video games. The Russia and China incidents are just recent, but they caught my eye and got me thinking again about the power of music and how the cultural suppression of an Orwellian dystopia are possible.

One of the best things about music is how it arouses emotions and memories, often which are shared with friends, or even shared with total strangers that were doing something similar when they heard the same song. Whenever I hear Regenerator, I'm going to think of Mil (and probably one person in particular, whose name will be protected), while everyone else will just hear mediocre Electronica. If you graduated or went to prom at an American school at any point in the late 90's (and probably thereafter), you'll probably get the same nostalgic twing whenever you hear Good Riddance, no matter how many thousands of times you've heard the song. All of the summer songs of 2000 are branded in my mind because I heard them on the loudspeaker over and over and over again while lifeguarding at my local pool (and depressingly, that playlist includes Thong Song). And then all the artists and songs that make me think of the people that recommended them... Friends of P by The Rentals, anything by Thursday, No Ordinary Morning by Chicane, Infected Mushroom, Of Montreal. The examples go on and on, but music just has a power to evoke feelings that few other legal substances can, and what a shame when leaders of the world are calling for it be controlled and restricted.

Steve, Leo, John, and Dean have all opened my eyes to some great music of recent, and I hope I've introduced others to something new or interesting. These are some of my favorite, recent recommendations (both new songs and some classic old ones) that might spark something in someone out there:

Have a song to add to the list?
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