I’m the type of person that’s pretty into music. The other day I was using Spotify and listening to the album Era Vulgaris (2007) by Queens of the Stone Age. The song “3’s and 7’s” started playing, and it just rocked my socks off. It’s the kind of song that doesn’t appeal to everyone, but for some reason I really like it. It’s got a rough edge, but it’s got a warm heart. Lead singer Josh Homme believes that his songs should be heavy enough for the boys and light enough for the girls. I still remember the first time I heard it. I was about eleven years old, and my friends and I were obsessed with the game Guitar Hero. “3’s and 7’s” was one of the hardest songs. As I was humming along to the intense guitar riff and my vague understanding of the lyrics that I still can’t quite understand, I had a huge moment of nostalgia. This song was still awesome and rocking, and it had been around since I was in the fifth grade! So much has happened since then. After the track played, a commercial came on for singer Adele’s new single, “Hello”. I hadn’t seen Adele in a while and became curious. I can’t say that I’ve listened to her music in the past three years though. Adele was only a hazy memory to me as I pressed play.
The results were a sensation! Listening to an incredible song for the first time is like tasting crisp water when you’re parched. It usually leads to listening to the song several times in a row. It mostly happens when I listen to a new song by artists that have hit me with a great sensation before. In the case of “Hello”, I listened to it, like, six times in a row. Although I would not consider Adele to be one of my favorite artists, this isn’t the first time this has happened for me with one of her songs. I listened to many of her best songs repeatedly: “Chasing Pavements”, “Set Fire to the Rain”, “Rolling in the Deep”. But for some reason, I still don’t consider Adele to be one of my favorite artists. It also came to mind that although everyone seems to really like Adele, nobody considers her to be one of their favorite artists. I wasn’t sure why this was. To try and figure out why, I revisited Adele’s older songs.
To this day, I still remember the hook of “Chasing Pavements.” I still sung along to the chorus: “SHOULD I give up or Should I just keep on chasin’ pavements, even if it leads NOwheerrrrrrrre.” As I listened to various Adele songs, I noticed that there’s a similar formula. Adele’s voice resonates quietly over the background of a simple melody and chord progression that leads to a crescendo which results in an emotional climax. Despite the emotional lyrics, it’s not complex music. The world does not mind hearing the song all over the place for a few months because we’re still into this sensation, but eventually it fades out. There’s nothing that keeps listeners engaged after the initial moment of bliss that listening to a new melody evokes. It’s typical for songs to fade out of our memories after a few months, but years later, a great song will still make you feel some type of way. Every time I listen to “No One Knows” by Queens of the Stone Age, it rocks hard, and I get super into it. Sadly, songs like “Someone Like You” and “Turning Tables” don’t rock as hard as they used to. The climax of reaching a new melody in these songs is like a one-night stand. It’s a universally loved sensation, but not much comes from it. Even though I didn’t listen to “3’s and 7’s” a ton the first time I heard it, for some reason it still inspires me. Music that sticks with us is the music we truly love; it has depth.
Music that sticks with us resonates in a chord. It’s true that Adele writes a lot about heartbreak, which can relate to a lot of people, but it’s more likely that somebody has a special song with more complex lyrics dealing with the same issues. There are songs out there that evoke emotion. Even though they might not resonate with a broad audience, they create a special connection with the listener that is much more valuable, creating a true bond. It’s like meeting that one weird friend that many not be appreciated by some, but for some reason you really enjoy being around them. Something weird sticks with us. “Single Ladies” is a song we remember because it had the greatest video of all time. (I have to agree with Kanye here. Do we even remember Taylor’s video? Trust me. You don’t.) The dance to that song is silly and not glorious. For some reason, humans love to love things that has some amount of imperfection — things that don’t stick to a formula. Josh Homme’s attempts at trying to make music heavy enough for the boys and light enough for the girls sometimes fail, but the results are always interesting. Imperfections can drive people away or captivate them. This captivation of imperfection is what leads to a true bond.
I’ll admit that there is a fine line between really, truly loving something and just simply loving something. I love Adele, but do I truly love it? Will I suffer if I live without it? Honestly, not really. I say the opposite for music that I truly love. I would be crushed if I could never to listen to records by Queens of the Stone Age ever again. I was also really sad when Carmichael Hall removed Cinnamon Toast Crunch out of their cereal cycle last month and when my girlfriend broke up with me last July. It was rough enough that Taylor Swift or Adele would’ve written a song about it.
Speaking of Adele, frankly, the world forgot about her during her hiatus. As sung in “3’s and 7’s”, “The truth hurts so bad, wouldn’t you say.” Despite the fact that I’ll forget about her again, I’m glad Adele is back because I’ll love her new album for a few months. Hopefully, this album offers a track that can resonate with generations. We need more music that sticks with us. We need a song that’ll make us call back a thousand times.