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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Searching for Sublime Music (and not the crappy band)

In one of my classes at University, we're talking about "The Sublime" and what that means. For the longest time, I've always associated "sublime" with that terrible, terrible jock band from Cali. But it turns out that there's actually something more to it. I actually learned something at college, imagine that.

Here's some of what wikipedia says:

Sublime - Pleasure from perceiving objects that threaten to hurt or destroy observer. Pleasure from beholding very violent, destructive objects. Pleasure from knowledge of observer's nothingness and oneness with Nature.

The imagination is awed and instilled with a degree of horror by what is "dark, uncertain, and confused." While the relationship of the sublime and the beautiful is one of mutual exclusiveness, either one can produce pleasure.

So something beautiful isn't sublime and vice versa. The prof gave a few examples of sublime works of art:
Oedipus Rex
Beethoven's 5th Symphony
A Day in the Life - The Beatles
100 Years of Solitude - by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

These are overwhelming works about dark subjects; they are a pleasure to experience, but calling them "beautiful" doesn't convey their essence properly. I've been taught that a sublime thing also overwhelms our sense of reason, and we can't quite get our heads around it, so we keep going back to it.

So, all this is to say that I want to make a mix cd of sublime music, and I'm looking for suggestions. The qualities I'm looking for in these sublime songs are:
1. Dark/tragic subject matter (if there are lyrics)
2. Interesting/Overwhelming/Threatening/Enigmatic, musically
3. Preferably not a song that gets commercial radio play

My list so far:
1. A Day in the Life - Beatles
2. Paranoid Android or Kid A - Radiohead

That is all for now. I hope this makes sense to you and to me.
Now, let's get sublime!


Feaverish said...

Wolfnotes by the Fiery Furnaces, and the untitled instrumental track (with the bagpipes) from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, by Neutral Milk Hotel

Feaverish said...

Oh and don't forget Alcohol by Saturday Looks Good To Me

kazuhank said...

isn't date rape a sublime song?

Sloop said...

Feaverish - thanks for that, I'll check them out, if I can get ahold of them.

Kazuhank - AY! Dios Mio!

BethInPortland said...

So I guess your sarcistic wit is sublime--in the true sense of the word. That is, pleasure at destruction.
Or maybe it is sublime that you have not commented on my blog recently in an effort to get back at me...

BonikaStJames said...

I find myself fascinated by the Sublime.

I don't know if I can suggest songs that you would see as sublime but here are a couple that I feel are:

Lush Life - Sarah Vaughan
Hide and Seek - Imogene Heap
Carmel - Susan Vega
Down by the Water - PJ Harvey
Hurt - Johnny Cash
Lullaby - The Cure
Mac the Knife - Louis Armstrong
Me and a Gun - Tori Amos
Dad I'm in Jail - Was (Not Was)
Into the West - Annie Lennox
Nasty Habits - Oingo Boingo
Bob - Primus
Gloomy Sunday - Billie Holiday

MJAPA said...

Coming Right Along or Burn and Shine- The Posies :-)

Sloop said...

Bonika - I don't know 1/2 of those songs, thanks for the suggestions!

Michelle - Burn & Shine is on my list at home already. :)