Listen to Alt-J. The Talent is Immeasurable.

As a musician, I often find myself feeling music a little bit deeper than the average person. I just have a passion for well written music, and I appreciate it when I hear it. Whether that be fantastic instrument playing, or the poetic lyrics. However, I have never quite connected to a song or artist the way that I have connected to Alt-J.

Who is Alt-J? A band who isn’t “well-known” or plastered all over the media. However, they are a rising artist, and it makes my heart swell with happiness to know that people are beginning to recognize true artistry when it presents itself.

The first time I heard of them, I was at a friend’s house. Occasionally one of the more popular songs would play in the coffee shop that I worked at, but other than that, I had never really sat down to listen to them until just recently. There is a song on their most recent album called “Hunger of the Pine” that really stood out to me. I wasn’t even sure why. I couldn’t really understand word for word what the vocalist was saying, but all I knew was that the song was gripping onto my heart and not letting go. It just made me feel broken, hurt, but it a way that made me realize that everything was going to be okay – almost hopeful. So, I decided to watch the music video. Maybe that would help me with my interpretation, right?
The video consisted of one man, running through the woods, and getting shot over and over with arrows. No matter how many times this man gets shot, he perseveres. Over and over… a shot to the leg, multiple shots to the chest, yet nothing is stopping him.
Honestly, this just confused me even more, considering making out the lyrics was still difficult for me. So finally, I looked them up.

Sleeplessly embracing
Butterflies and needles
Line my seamed-up join
Encased in case I need it
In my stomach, for my heart
Chain mail
Hunger of the pine
Sleeplessly embracing
Yawn yearns into me
Plenty more tears in the sea
And so you finally use it
Bedding with me you see at night
Your heart wears knight armour
Hunger of the pine
Sleeplessly
Embracing
You
Realisation grew on me
As quickly as it takes your hand
To warm the cool side of the pillow
I’m there for you, be there for me
I’ll hum the song the soldiers sing
As they march outside our window
Hunger of the pine
Sleeplessly
Embracing
You
Une immense espérance a traversée la terre
Une immense espérance a traversée ma peur

Throughout the contents of this song, he also throws in a little clip that says “I’m a female rebel” repeatedly when the beat of the song swells up.
After reading the lyrics to the song, I completely understood why it was gripping my heart the way that it was. I’m sure that I don’t have to explain to you all what the song means. He’s clearly yearning, aching, pining for someone that he loves very, very dearly. He talks about the amount of pain that he feels from his heartbreak, and then once you put the music video into play, it really shows just how he’s feeling. Heartbreak is a real pain. It’s a loss. It’s a suffering. It really does feel like your being stabbed in the chest multiple times throughout the day. The second that the person crosses your mind – BAM – instant heartache. If you meet someone with the same name – there it is again. When your phone vibrates, and though you know that it’s not them, you look thinking for just a split second that it’s a possibility that they could be talking to you, then you realize that you were right, they aren’t talking to you, and there it comes again. The sadness. Taking over your body and making you think that you’re dying.
I’ve never had music sit this way on my heart before, and honestly, it isn’t just this one song. Alt-J has several songs throughout both of his two albums that have latched on to my soul. Before I even knew the meanings of the songs, I felt the emotions that they poured into writing them, and that’s so rare in today’s society.

Everyone should really go listen to Alt-J if they haven’t already. They are growing more and more popular as the days go by. They actually just performed on the Jimmy Fallon show the other night, and it was amazing. Give them a chance to sing beautiful music into your heart, because it’s rare that talent like this presents itself to the media. Take advantage! For your own sake.

Music is Art, and should not be Prideful.

After this past year’s Grammy award show, I have had such a bad taste in my mouth about today’s hit music and top artists. I did not realize how difficult it is for most people to recognize and appreciate true talent. As I am sure most of you heard, Kanye West decided to pull another stunt where he took it upon himself to walk on the stage in order to express how he felt about an artist winning a big award. This time, instead of Taylor Swift, West “pretended” to interrupt Beck’s acceptance speech for album of the year, stating that Beyonce was more deserving of the award.

I remember when Beyonce released her most recent album, because she kept it a secret from everyone (including many people that work for her label), and did not tell a soul until the album was released on iTunes. This was the first time that that has ever been attempted in music history, and the album sold millions of copies. She also restricted single track sales for a week or two so people were forced to buy the album in it’s entirety, claiming that people needed to listen from start to finish so that they could fully understand the story of the album.
Looking back, I can fully appreciate what Beyonce did and how risky it was not advertising the fact that she was releasing an album, because marketing is extremely important in today’s industry.

Now let’s take a look at Beck. A man who plays 17 musical instruments, and who has written every song he has put out himself. Beck has been around for over a decade now, and he’s clearly not slowing down. Beck has toured the world with many headlining tours, and once even toured with Johnny Cash. Beck wrote, produced, arranged, and recorded his entire album all inside his own home.

The Grammy’s are the biggest night of music every year. The Grammy’s are filled with class and high end people who gather together to celebrate one of the greatest gifts that we have in human life. Music brings people together in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine. Looking back into history we see that slaves used to use songs to communicate with each other. Music holds a special place in all of our hearts, and it’s something that deserves to be celebrated. When someone as talented as Beck comes along, he deserves to be appreciated for he is a true artist. Beyonce, on the other hand, has many other people write her songs for her, she doesn’t produce her albums herself, etc. Now I’m not saying that Beyonce isn’t talented by any means. If anyone loves Queen B, it would be this girl, but I also know when to recognize someone as a true artist when they deserve to be recognized.

It makes me so sad to see today’s society ripping true musicians apart, and giving glory to those like Kanye West, who literally view themselves as Gods. Someone who so clearly thinks he and his friends (Jay-Z, Beyonce, etc.) should be held higher than the others around them because they are so popular, but popularity does not define true artistry. We see that when we look at some of the people in Hollywood today like Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton, the Kardasian sisters, etc.

This is just something that has truly been weighing on my heart, and I needed to express it.