December 01, 2003

Let The Music Play, But Play It Less Loud

I've never been a real huge fan of loud music. I don't understand the point of it. Why blare music? Why crank up the bass so much you can actually feel the bolts shaking loose in a car and the enamel cracking off your teeth?

I just don't get it. Is it somehow supposed to be cool? And, if it is supposed to be cool, shouldn't people lose the urge to be cool somewhere between the ages of 18 and 20? Seriously, there is a point where folks pass the age threshold of cool and enter the realm of annoying and ridiculous. I mean, when I see people in their late 20s or early 30s pass by in a vehicle that electrifies the air with the rumbling bass, I think "now there goes a real carload of idiots."

Maybe it's just me. I have this problem about loud music: namely, when loud music is blaring, I can't hear people around me talking. I have a hard enough time filtering out background noise and focusing on the person directly in front of me without a cacophony of ultra-loud music permeating the air.

The whole idea seems stupid to me. What's the point of going to a nightclub or bar or dance and having to shout everything? I went through that bizarre ritual countless times in college, and I always thought just how much easier the whole meeting and greeting thing would be if, instead of shouting and spitting in the face of an attractive female, we could seclude ourselves in a nice corner booth while, in the background, a soft-playing jazz band provides just the right amount of volume to provide both mood and ambiance without making my ears bleed.

But no, that's just not the way it works. Bands today apparently compete to see just how loud they can play. And, the worse the band is, the louder they feel they have to play. Apparently, the belief is that you can drown out a lack of talent just by turning the volume dial to MAX. That belief is wrong.

On Saturday, for example, my hometown held a charity dance for the local fire hall. It was a typical small town gathering: lots of drinking, lots of smoking, and lots of familiar faces who I should have known but couldn't for the life of me remember any names.

But, there I stood, beer in hand, unable to hear anything except the worst band in the history of bands, who had an audio system set up so they could be clearly heard in India. And, considering how abysmally terrible this band was, we can expect an official diplomatic complaint from India sometime in the near future.

I've been to a few concerts in my time, featuring actual big-name rock groups, like Metallica and The Rolling Stones. These are bands who have earned the right to sport large audio set-ups, because these bands play to venues consisting of thousands and thousands of people. They need to be loud because they need to be heard by the people in the back rows over a mile away.

But, in my hometown, where the local dance hall can, at most, accommodate, maybe, 300 people, there's simply no need to crank up the speakers until they shatter glassware four blocks away. Yes, band, we can HEAR YOU JUST FINE. And, yes, you're TERRIBLE. When did it become universally understood that bands have to blare their music no matter how incredibly awful they are?

Just for the record, the drums should not drown out the rest of the band. If the snare drum occasionally is louder than the vocals, there's likely a problem with your band. Drums should set the tempo. You should be able to hear the beat somewhere in the background. The drums should NOT be louder than the rest of the band combined.

Oh, and if you're playing a guitar, do NOT contort your face. Although I myself am not a guitar player, I find it incredibly doubtful that the act of playing a guitar can be even remotely as difficult and strenuous as you make it out to be through your facial manipulations. Yes, your music may be painful to the ears, but please refrain from looking as though you're about to defecate an entire watermelon. I'm not buying it. Please put more emphasis into actually trying to play your instrument with a semblance of talent.

I don't know. You people are smarter than I. Perhaps you could explain why small crap bands feel compelled to play so freakin' loud!

Posted by Ryan at December 1, 2003 11:14 AM

i think loud music is cool. so whats up now??? It's a free coutry to have the loudest system so people like you can hear it and bitch about it too. its not a big thing i mean its your car and your system so why cant you make your music as loud as possible.

Posted by: alex james at October 27, 2005 12:07 PM

i think loud music is cool. so whats up now??? It's a free coutry to have the loudest system so people like you can hear it and bitch about it too. its not a big thing i mean its your car and your system so why cant you make your music as loud as possible.

Posted by: alex james at October 27, 2005 12:08 PM

Alex, here's the thing: you can, indeed, blare your music as ear-splitting as you want, provided you have a completely sound-proof car. Because, once your booming bass trickles out of your car and annoys people like me, it becomes "disturbing the peace." And, although the car may be yours', the roads on which you drive that car are just as much mine as they are yours' thanks to taxes, so I'm entirely within my rights to say "Turn that shit down," and I'd have the law on my side to say it, and I'd be right. It is, indeed, a free country to have the loudest system you want, but it's not a free country to use that system to annoy other people. This is a pretty simple concept, so I'm sure you can grasp it. Just as I don't have the right to come over and take a crap on our bed, so too do you not have the right to engage in noise pollution and disturbing of the peace. Other than that, good luck with that whole hearing loss thing you'll have to deal with in about 10 years.

Posted by: Ryan at October 27, 2005 01:23 PM
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