I’ve been on a Jacob Collier binge lately. His music is so complex that most of it honestly goes over my head, and I’m trying desperately to understand it. How one person so young can have this much mental bandwidth is beyond me.
Inevitably, you will come across some interviews with him where he talks about music theory in depth and some of the approaches he takes when arranging or composing. One topic particularly stuck out to me, and it’s about how he thinks about what he’s doing.
To summarize, he likes to find ways to create moments of tension then release. He also likes to subvert expectations by creating tension, then going somewhere completely unexpected, then ultimately coming back home. The moments of unexpectedness can stack on top of each other, and you’ll end up somewhere crazy. But he still returns home.
There’s no one epitome I can give that would show this, but all of his music has this to some degree.
Rick Beato briefly discussed some problems with the pop music industry in some of his videos. He pointed out that there are no moments of tension and release at all in pop music, and if there are, the buildups are so short that the effect is stunted.
These two dudes helped me understand what I like about the music I like, and why I don’t like what I don’t like. Many genres of music are cyclical, with the same four chords repeating endlessly. Simple melodies. Ideas condensed to get the job done quickly and cheaply, like a TV dinner.
I suppose comparing my own tastes to a lavish, gourmet meal would be pretentious of me, and I’d love to say that I have guilty pleasures, but I don’t really think I do. I like pop from the 80s and before, but those pleasures aren’t guilty. At least not yet.
So with these thoughts, I’m going to continue pseudo-composing / arranging things, following this formula I’ve found.
Here’s one track I really like, and it’s one huge moment of tension into one huge moment of release.
If ten minutes is too long for you, or if you’re having a hard time paying attention to the whole thing, it might just be because you’ve had too much junk food in your life. But give it a shot. It’s totally worth it.