Y’alright. I’m James.
Welcome to a blog where I ramble on (coherently and incoherently) for an indeterminate amount of time about either a) a random topic about which I feel very strongly or b) the less likely option, something that’s happened in my life recently that’s interesting enough to talk about. I’m mainly doing this because I wanted to have a platform on which it would be possible to give some opinions on things but it’s too much effort to start a YouTube channel. Like, seriously. YouTube costs money. Buying a camera and stuff is expensive and you have to learn how to edit and urgh. Basically, I just can’t be arsed.
I’ll introduce myself now I suppose. Is this how blogs work? I don’t know. Blog’s a funny word when you think about it. Blog, blog, blog. Sounds like the name of a troll who lives under a bridge.
What was I talking about?
Oh yeah, me.
I’m 18 years old, studying German and Russian at the University of Leeds. I’m just finishing my first year and will be going on my year abroad in Moscow in September. My permanent residence is in the village of Bum-fuck-nowhere in Kent, as southern as can be, to where I’m going back soon for the summer. I’m 6’ 3”, have green eyes, like long walks on the beach, have a penchant for custard creams and…wait am I going into too much detail here?
I think that’ll do it for my introduction, now let’s get into the actual blog bit.
One thing that’s very important to me is music. Whatever mood I’m in, wherever I am, I’m probably listening to music. And it doesn’t matter what genre either, I can go from listening to Eminem to obscure Russian techno to Rammstein quite easily. This leads on to my next point, that, as a linguist, I’m a massive fan of foreign music.
Yet my multilingual love for music is not commonly shared by my friends.
I am rarely put in charge of the Spotify playlist at any party, even if it’s my own party (true story), because, for some reason, 90% of my friends just don’t go for grimy Russian gangster rap and shit German dance music. Unbelievable I know. The only time I’m let loose with the music is when everyone, myself included, has had a bit (see: a lot) to drink and couldn’t care less what’s playing in the background because they’re too busy being absolutely spannered.
But this begs the question, why don’t more people enjoy music that’s in a different language?
The only foreign music that’s been super popular in the English-speaking world is absolute shit stuff like Gangnam Style and the Macarena, which were passing fads and were only popular because they went along with some god awful dance move, plus in the case of Gangnam Style, a ‘quirky’ music video. Anything else that’s in a different language seems to be shunned by most people. But I have to ask myself: why?
I don’t know why I’m asking myself because I don’t have a clue.
In my opinion, the language can vastly improve a song depending on the genre. German metal is fantastic, mainly because German, being a fairly harsh and blunt language, works well with a genre that’s generally going for the same sort of vibe. The same goes for Russian and rap. Russian, spoken in a certain way, can sound like the scariest language in the world, even if you’re just asking where the train station is, and that’s the style that gangster rap goes for. They want to sound harsh and unforgiving like a Siberian winter, and the Russian language can capture that essence perfectly. That is not to say that these languages don’t work in other genres, of course they can (Russian pop in particular is gloriously cheesy), but they work particularly well in the ones I’ve mentioned.
“But I can’t understand what they’re saying! WAAA!”
Boo-hoo, suck it up.
For me, the meaning of a song’s lyrics is just a bonus. Sure, some lyrics, no matter what the language, can have really deep and emotional meanings, there’s no denying that. However, I feel that the majority of the feeling in a song is conveyed by the sound of the song itself (and the music video on occasion), rather than the content. I have a song in my library that’s in Turkmen, which is spoken almost exclusively in Turkmenistan (yeah you might need to look that one up on a map, I had to) and I can’t understand any of what the singer’s banging on about, but it’s one of my go-to songs when I’m in a good mood because it’s so upbeat and just goddamned pleasant to listen to. Call me weird but hey, what can I say. Ha, that rhymed.
Overall, a piece of music could be in the most obscure language ever but if the singer’s got a nice voice and the music’s good, I’ll listen to it. And you should too. But you don’t have to. You have a right to your opinion. Even if your opinion is WRONG. Just kidding, your opinion isn’t wrong. But it isn’t right either. Or it might be. I don’t know. I told you some of my rambling would be incoherent.
Anyway, that’ll do it for my first blog post thing. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, and if you have any feedback, positive or negative, let me know! Make sure you join me next time when I’ll be discussing…something. I don’t think that far ahead. I live for the moment don’t you know.
See ya ’round.