Emotional Simplicity

Posted on November 22, 2009

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As adults we may be complicated, emotionally, but … all the same (‘deep inside’) we aspire to the condition of children.  Whether or not we can admit to this, the aspiration is for a simplicity.  In fact isn’t that what sentimentalist’s show us? (Even if the emotion they indulge in is divorced from any actual situation.)  Art too requires simplicity – and in art this can reveal a more generous impulse.  In any case I have noticed with their recent albums how some bands seem to fare better than others musically in instinctively lacking any interest in emotional sophistication.  Simple polarities are kept to: good versus bad for example.  Us against them.  Maybe this is part of the recipe for happiness, this ability to be simple? Perhaps emotion wont be intellectualised, whatever we might say. So for example, I think of intellectuals who I know who (sometimes) for all their mental alertness can get wrapped up into a grey rag: into an energy-starved state of frustration, not because life dictates this but because they can’t be simple enough to themselves. Muse’s strategy works better, in The Resistance; or again with The Killer’s album Day and Age; both are poppy emotionally simple records; whereas Franz Ferdinand’s Tonight tries for something more sophisticated and Radiohead’s In Rainbows aims for even higher ground. Neither of of the second two albums can be rated bad records but it may be that they both show signs of getting a bit ‘thin’ musically. Back to the emotional ground!  Where the energy is.

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