Since we Gloabons have a much more sensitive sense of hearing than humans, so as far as we’re concerned, music on Earth is very much a mixed bag. In some cases, it can be sublime, but then there’s Rod Stewart whose vocal stylings are, thankfully, banned under a slew of interplanetary treaties. And don’t get me started on the one they call Minogue.
The range of popular musical styles is huge, so to help you deal with this diversity, here’s a breakdown of a few of the prevailing styles.
Jazz musicians are, by common and consensual agreement, a breed apart. The practitioners of this style know each tune back-to-front and inside-out, and frequently, that’s the way they choose to play it. When playing together, jazz musicians prefer not to be constrained by the activities of the other members of the group, and it is not unknown for each person to be heartily engaged on different versions of the same song, or occasionally, a different song entirely. Occasionally, lost in confusion, the band fall silent except for one member who plays alone for a while. When the soloist completes his or her brief moment in the spotlight, the audience breaks into spontaneous applause, relieved that it looks like someone has finally taken charge. But their happiness is short-lived, and the rest of the band quickly barge in to continue the musical muddle.
For humans, jazz is habit-forming, but we Gloabons tend to find it chaotic. Please note that there is no connection between human jazz and Andelian dustbowl jazz which is grittier, sometimes literally.
Country and Western
The musicians who practice this form of music seem to have learned their songs from their grandparents but subsequently decided that the lyrics didn’t contain quite enough human misery. Sadness, despair, pain, and general unhappiness is laid on thickly with the aid of heart-wrenching harmonies. Particularly successful musicians in the field are those who can reduce the audience to floods of tears, so if you see the humans weeping at a country and western concert, there’s no need for concern; they’re having the time of their lives.
In many ways, this is the converse of country and western. While both have a rich heritage of music passed on from those who came before, funk musicians have apparently decided that the songs aren’t quite happy enough, so they throw in a few extra beats to make the music go right along. Funky music tends to induce odd muscular spasms in human beings, resulting in bouts of head nodding, toe tapping, and even rhythmic gyrations. During live performances, funk musicians aren’t satisfied unless the audience are jiggling about the place. If you’re thinking of joining in, I advise caution. The density of Gloabon bones, coupled with the length of our limbs, means that dancing with humans is a risky business, so take care lest your well-meaning twirl be interpreted as an act of violence.
Rock and Roll
When a group of humans get together to have a really good time, if enough of them have musical instruments, they will sometimes make music by accident. This results in the phenomenon known as rock and roll, a freewheeling expression of energy wrapped up in a repeated rhythmic pattern. Human friends tell me that it’s based on the blues (see below), but I maintain that rock and roll simply arises spontaneously thanks to ancient ancestral memories buried in the human psyche by generations of humans messing around as they gathered around the fire to cheer each other up.
According to some, this may have formed the basis for rock and roll (see above), but rather than a frenzy of good-natured rabble rousing, the emotions are harder for us Gloabons to interpret. Whether blues musicians are so happy that they’re sad, or so sad that they’re happy, I have been unable to untangle. My advice: don’t try to understand the blues because you will inevitably fail.
Rock and roll with one of the beats missing. Reggae’s distinctive rhythm is often enjoyed by Gloabons, although nobody knows why. If you see anyone carrying a strangely shaped cone of smoldering leaves at a reggae concert, you can gain friends by extinguishing the flaming object with a container of water. This is sure to endear you to all present, but to prevent misunderstandings, always carry your government ID.
If reggae is played at the wrong speed, it becomes ska. Many humans enjoy it, but to us, this frivolous kind of music seems neither necessary nor useful, so it is best avoided by all sensible Gloabons.
Humans can sometimes astonish us, and the production of soul music is one such pleasant surprise. Calling out to the collective unconscious, soul music transcends the barriers that separate us from humans. Hard to put into words, soul music has to be experienced to be believed.
The bastard child of any three of the above. No Gloabon would ever wear that much Lycra, so my researches have been limited, but that’s probably for the best.
That concludes my romp through the main flavors of popular music enjoyed by humans. There are other variants, but time is short and I have to go and practice playing my new guitar. You only need to know three chords for rock and roll apparently, so I expect to be a master by supper time.
Peace out and keep the faith my fellow rockers.
You may comment below, but any foolishness may well result in you receiving a visit from a member of the Earth Liaison Unit. You have been warned. Thank you.
Be More Gloabon!
Read these posts in a more efficient way
If you'd like to receive a monthly ebook of my collected writings, properly formatted for a more pleasant reading experience, along with selected short fiction from Mr. Campling, support my interplanetary efforts via Patreon.
Let Me Entertain You
When you join my readers' group, The Awkward Squad