Music defies adequate description, but website All Music tries pretty spectacularly

When words leave off, music begins.
— Heinrich Heine

Songs are abstract – they are meant to be. They capture and elicit feelings. It makes sense to describe them abstractly. My favorite music review site, All Music, has a way of describing songs so that they are all the more tangible. If you’ve heard of All Music before, you may have encountered their MO. They utilize “moods” to describe the music that they review – on the artist level, on the album level, sometimes even down to the song level, depending on how well-known it is.

There is an endless buffet of music review sites out there, virtually identical for all intents and purposes. What sets All Music apart from the rest – at least, the “rest” that I’m aware of – is that not only do they assign “mood” labels to the music, they can help you find other music that fits that same mood, no matter the genre. For example, if you like aggressive music, you can click on ‘aggressive’ and – lo and behold – pull up other albums labelled ‘aggressive’. Simple and elegant.

And it doesn’t stop there. Not only does All Music use moods, they have “themes”. Themes are how All Music describe events/situations that the song/album/artist in question are appropriate for. For example, the song ‘Paranoid Android’ by Radiohead is perfect for “night driving”, “introspection”, “stay in bed”, “the creative side”, etc. And, you probably guessed it, you can explore other albums by theme, too.

All Music has many other melophile-friendly features that can lead you down delightful rabbit holes of trivia and discovery, so I will leave it at that and let you, my thoroughly-convinced reader (I hope), to check it out.

I love it when intersections happen in areas that fascinate me, because beautiful things are created. In this case, music, descriptive writing, and categories collided and originated All Music. I treasure their approach because it is such a unique way to experience music. In a way, the quotation by Heinrich Heine up there is rendered somewhat untrue, in light of All Music‘s raison d’etre. The website brings a new dimension to it and evokes atmospheres that music-lovers can feel even before they hear the song – not unlike that sensation of imagining your favorite thing to eat and almost tasting it on your tongue.

In today’s world, a new song dies on the charts as quickly as it was born, and people one-night-stand that one popular song on the album, rather than establishing a relationship. In a less fast-paced time,  music enjoyment used to create excitement. People I’ve talked to who bought vinyls in the 60s say they spent entire evenings feeling the music. It was like foreplay. All Music – it facilitates the creation of that relationship. So, next time you hear a song on the radio, or hear a new artist you like, I invite you to look them up on All Music.


DAY 5 ASSIGNMENT: Hook ‘Em With A Quote

A blank page can be intimidating. Sometimes it’s helpful to use someone else’s words to give you a boost. Today, use a quote or passage from something you’ve read to introduce your post. You’ll see a similar technique at the beginning of a book or chapter in the form of an epigraph. Here’s the epigraph in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather:

Behind every great fortune there is a crime.
— Balzac

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