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Music as a Special Interest

MartialAutist's picture

Music as a Special Interest

Thu 17 Apr 2014 3:04pm

Sorry if I'm being blind, but I can't find a music thread (and even if there is one, I intend this to be a bit more specific).

Music is hugely important for me, and has been a particular interest of mine since I was a teenager.  As you'd expect from an autistic special interest, I'm very specific about what I'm into, and am quite happy to identify as a music nerd.  My own particular interest is Heavy Metal, specifically classic Heavy Metal (famous acts like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath as well as more undergound bands like Cirith Ungol, Manilla Road, Slauter Xtroyes) and Death Metal (classic stuff like Autopsy and Morbid Angel as well as the more creative modern bands like Portal, Ulcerate and Pyrrhon), but I enjoy most Metal sub-genres.  I also have a secondary love of 70's Progressive Rock, especially Italian Prog (Le Orme, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Campo di Marte).

Unlike some music nerds I'm not a collector of physical media - I dabbled with that a little when I was younger, but ultimately it's music I care about, not objects, and owning the original release of something has no extra value for me.  I spend a huge amount of my time either listening to music (my wife jokes that she can't leave me for a minute without me putting headphones on), discussing it online or discovering new bands and albums.  One aspect of my interest which I think is quite autistic is my habit of approaching an album like a puzzle to be solved - I'm drawn to music that I find veyr challenging (within the genre paradigms that I enjoy), and will listen to the same record over and over again until I feel that I've "solved" it.

Is music of any kind a special interest for anyone else?  How important is the categorisation and understanding of music to you?

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  • MartialAutist's picture

    Also - as you'll have noticed if you're familiar with any of the Metal bands I listed - I tend to be drawn to music where the emotions are very upfront, exaggerated and relatively simplistic.  I've never really been drawn to light and shade, or subtlety of tone.  Whether that's an autistic thing or just a me thing (or if there's actually a difference) is something I'm not sure about.

  • Autist's picture

    I enjoy music, though I don't consider it to be one of my special interests. However, I do like to learn the lyrics to songs (especially particularly complicted ones) and listen over and over again until I can recite it, and then listen over and over again so I can sing along! I tend to get stuck on a favourite song for a long time and listen to it on repeat. I'm not really into any specific genre, I've had many different phases though. I also really enjoy songs that have a very specific story, such as We Didn't Start the Fire (Billy Joel), Goodnight Saigone (so I really love Billy Joel), Stan (Eminem), American Pie, etc etc.

  • barnabear's picture

    I like songs to have a point to them, so I really like clever protest songs. I like Tom Robinson Band (they didn't last long) and used to like Martyn Joseph, but I've got a bit bored with him now. Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie is very clever.

    I absolutely hate songs like Wannabe which have completely vacuous lyrics. free bear
  • MartialAutist's picture

    When you say that music has to have a "point" to it, Barnabear, are you just talking about the lyrics?  As someone who listens to a lot of music with fairly pointless lyrics (in most Extreme Metal subgenres lyrics are pretty much an after-thought, with the actual vocal sounds being far more important), I strongly believe that music can have a "point" that's completely independant to the words.

    I think we're coming from two different traditions in popular music - music as a delivery system for the lyrics, and lyrics as a secondary property of the music.  They're both valid, but I'm definitely on the latter side of the fence (which isn't to say that I don't enjoy the occasional great Metal lyricist who comes along).

  • barnabear's picture

    For me it's the lyrics but the tune has to be good too.

    Weird Al Yankovic's "Christmas at Ground Zero" has its place. Anything by Tom Lehrer is good because he is very clever and witty. Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell;  Reader's Digest and several other by Larry Norman; Private Investigations and Industrial Disease by Dire Straits from the Love Over Gold album; Steve Taylor (Meltdown) has a very alternative contraversial and challenging take on life. I even quite like Lordi, "Chainsaw Buffet" is "unique" song. I quite like black humour. Holes by Passenger.

    Can't stand Jedward. Do you remember "Flying the Flag" by Scooch? That was a mindless celebration of global warming. free bear
  • MartialAutist's picture

    I don't know that song, but there's nothing particularly unique about Lordi - they haven't done anything musically, aesthetically or lyrically that you couldn't find in various combinations of Kiss, Gwar and Rob Zombie.  Fun, though, and their Eurovision win was perfect spectacle, but the lingering idea you sometimes come across that there's anything remotely transgressive or weird about them misses the mark a lot. 

    I do remember the Scooch song from the same Eurovision night that Lordi won, and thought it was completely harmless - a bit of pre-packaged Carry On mugging for the Europeans that ended up blowing up in our faces.  It's not the kind of music I could imagine having any kind of strong emotion about one way or another.

  • MartialAutist's picture

    How do you feel about Nick Cave, by the way?  Always one of my favourite lyricists outside of Metal, with music interesting enough to match.

    Sorry, I can (and frequently do) talk about music for hours!  Feel free to disengage at any time.

  • barnabear's picture

    I've not come across Nick Cave, thanks for the pointer. free bear
  • MartialAutist's picture

    You may have already know him without realising from Red Right Hand (which has been used in a few soundtracks) and Where The Wild Roses Grow (his duet with Kylie Minogue) both of  which are excellent.  From what you've said about your tastes, I'd probably suggest going with the albums Murder Ballads, The Boatman's Call and No More Shall We Part - some of his other stuff might be a bit too abstract or awkward musically.

  • michaelz's picture

    from new scientist magazine :

    Power ballads22 September 2016

    Magazine issue 3102

    Does listening to heavy metal music require more battery or electrical power than other types of music, for example solo acoustic artists?

    Kim Trinder, Coventry, U


    i bought a biography of ANVIL from poundland - an interesting read.


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