A Response To Our Blog, “Never Stop Discovering New Bands, Part Two”

This article originally appeared on rachelwhitbeck.wordpress.com


My sister runs a super cool blog called Hidden Jams. Her latest post discusses bands that she discovered in 2015. At 25, she is not ready to stop finding new music.

Amanda has always been the one more excited about the music scene between the two of us. If it weren’t for her, I don’t know where I would be musically. Sure, I’m the one who can actually play a musical instrument, but she is the one with the passion for music. Back when I was a wee 10-year-old, Amanda was delving into the music that came on mix CDs with our My Scene dolls (remember those?). She was the one who broke us out of the country prison our parents inexplicably created. (Seriously, they listened to Van Halen and Supertramp before they had us. What gives?)

Now, 13 years later, Amanda is still bringing new music to me. Her post lists 10 artists she picked up last year: Lana del Rey, Alice in Chains, Opeth, Devin Townsend Project, Between the Buried and Me, Charli XCX, Hozier, Elle King, Type O Negative, and Deep Purple. Now, 13 years later, Amanda and I have found real differences in our taste in music for the first time.

Amanda got married this year, and throughout her post she cites her husband over and over again as how she was introduced to these bands. Jaime and I just don’t always mesh with music taste, apparently.

I’ll admit that I haven’t heard all of her listed bands, and I certainly haven’t given a deep listen to most of them. What I can tell you is that the musicians Amanda discovered without Jaime’s help seem to be the ones I like best. Amanda talks about Lana del Rey’s version of “Once Upon a Dream” in Maleficent, which Amanda and I saw in theaters together. I like Lana’s sultry voice and surreal lyrics. Charli XCX is another singer Amanda found whom I really like.

But Alice in Chains and Type O Negative just do not do it for me. Amanda has pushed really hard for me to get into Alice in Chains, and there are certainly songs that I like. Still, there is just something about their brand of distortion and dissonance that reminds me of metal scraping on metal, which, by the way, is my absolute least favorite sound. Still, it seems to mean a lot to Amanda that I like them, so I guess I won’t delete their songs from my iTunes.

Type O Negative spurred an interesting argument. Amanda really thought I would like them because I love Evanescence and their “spooky, sexy thump.” Seriously, Ev’s songs like “Whisper” and “Lacrymosa” have a kind of scariness that I just adore. But when I listened to Type O Negative’s “Black No. 1” and “Christian Woman” at Amanda’s behest, I was unimpressed. I told her that Type O Negative was too campy for me to take seriously. Their spooky is unlike Evanescence’s spooky – it reads like a joke to me, but they never reach the punchline. Amanda was put out by my assessment. I can empathize. It really stings to show someone close to you something that you think they would love only for them to be underwhelmed.

I can empathize because Amanda did the same damn thing to me. In November, I got really into a K-Pop band called Big Bang, whom I have mentioned in three posts now. I honestly only really like their material since their 2012 album Alive, but all their music since 2012 is seriously on fire. From their anthems like “Bang Bang Bang” and “Fantastic Baby” to their moodier songs like “Blue” and “If You” and everything in between is just so wonderful to me. Yes, 95% of their lyrics are in Korean, which I do not speak or understand, but that doesn’t mean I can’t grasp onto the emotion they’re trying to convey. (Plus I read the translated lyrics, so that helps.)

I have been listening to Big Bang nonstop for two months, and I have no intention of slowing down. They lifted me up when I felt my depression coming back, so they have earned my lifelong loyalty.

Amanda and I have a super good relationship. We’ve been best friends since I was born. So, naturally, when I found a band that I would sell my soul to, I wanted to share it with my music-loving big sister. And guess what? She didn’t like them.

She couldn’t understand how I suddenly became interested in K-Pop, which is fair – there was really no lead up to this development. She complained that she couldn’t understand their lyrics (duh) and that they sounded like a ’90s boyband. First of all, there is nothing wrong with ’90s boybands. If I hadn’t been stuck listening to country music during the ’90s, I would have been all about *NSYNC. Secondly, Big Bang does not sound like a ’90s boy band, oh my god. They are so much more hardcore. Seriously. Watch the video for Bang Bang Bang:

So hardcore.

Through my obsession with everything Big Bang, especially Taeyang and GD, I discovered another Korean band, Hyukoh. Hyukoh were also featured on the Infinity Challenge 2015 Music Festival, along with Taeyang and GD, and they kind of rock. Amanda likes them better because they play guitars. (The music starts after about 12 seconds in the video.)

So far, 2016 is looking to be another great year for discovering music. Surely, Amanda will find more bands than me, but that’s okay. I’ll keep making my own way at my own pace, and I know I can count on Amanda to introduce me to the bands she’s found.



I am working towards a PhD in Sociology at the University of Limerick, and earned my Master's in Race, Ethnicity, and Conflict at Trinity College Dublin. I enjoy writing blogs, stories, and poems.

Rachel has 4 posts and counting. See all posts by Rachel

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