In search of ideologically sound rock music

(by Jennifer Moore)

A 7-year-old of my acquaintance is soon to receive the exciting present of an MP3 player, and I have been co-opted to the organisation of this great event.

I feel sure it would be a much more satisfactory present if it arrived with some music already on.

He loves rock music, so I’m looking for some. I’m thinking say 3 to 10 tracks, depending on what I find.

Here’s my spec:

  • Legitimate free versions available… or, at a pinch, very cheap. I don’t want to spend a small fortune on something he may not take to. (But if ever there were a situation fitting the profile of “win future fans by letting them hear the music”, this surely must be one 🙂 )
  • Lyrics encompassing a healthy world view. So none of ye olde “My woman done me wrong”, and preferably (though I know this is a tall order) none of the “You made me feel/do X”.
  • Rock music of some description. Can’t be much more descriptive here as I don’t know exactly where his tastes lie, but hey, why not expand them while we’re at it, anyway 🙂
  • Or orchestral music! as he likes that as well.

I tried looking on Bandcamp, but ran out of time/energy before finding anything within my parameters. There are some tags relating to ideology – like “feminist” or “queercore” – but can you search on “all of several tags/criteria” on their site, like you can on say a shopping site? I couldn’t figure out how. I wanted to ask it for the intersection of ideologically sound and free/cheap and rock. And the ones I did find with promising tags, most didn’t have the lyrics written down for me to quickly scope out… and I ended up quailing at the amount of music I’d apparently have to listen through to (if I could even make out all the words) to check out whether something really met my standards on the “acceptable messages for a 7 year old” front!

So I thought this was a case for consulting some actual humans (probably ones who listen to more new music than I do). Hence posting here 🙂

Any recommendations?

(of course feel free too to riff on the general nature of using words to search for music, etc…)

Published by Jennifer Moore

A.k.a. Single Bass. I have another blog on non-music or not-especially-music stuff at Uncharted Worlds.

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  1. Good question. Here’s a few thoughts. I’ve no idea on what’s available for free, these are all songs I’ve happily paid Actual Money for 🙂 I’ve deliberately chosen tracks from quite different-sounding bands.

    – Elliot Minor’s “Parallel Worlds”. Classically-influenced rock. Lyrical content is sci-fi/fantasy. No idea how that fits with your idea of “healthy world view” – but it is at least not obviously directly unhealthy!

    – Alter Bridge’s “Wonderful Life”. AB are one of the best new rock bands from the last few years, and this is a great track in the “rock ballad” idiom. Lyrics – an incredibly positive take on saying goodbye to a dying friend. If you like this I’d also suggest “Brand New Start” from the same band.

    – Black Stone Cherry: “Blind Man”. Best of the current crop of southern rock (think “Lynyrd Skynyrd for C21”). Lyrics: philosophical.

    – Led Zep: “Stairway to Heaven”. Got to get the lad started off with the classics… and no-one really knows what the lyrics mean 🙂

    – Bon Jovi “Dry County”. Argued by some to be the best Jovi track ever, but not from the early big-hair pop-rock era. Lyrics: coping when key industry (oil) fails.

    – Idlewild: “You held the world in your arms”. Indie-guitar rock. Lyrics: seize the day!

    I could go on and on (and if asked, will 🙂 ) but need to stop now. One more thought – if he likes orchestral music, how about some instrumental rock? No lyrics 🙂 Suggestions:
    – anything from Steve Morse’s “High Tension Wires” – the entire album is hugely varied and all excellent
    – Vinnie Moore’s “Lifeforce” – a track that always makes me feel _incredibly_ positive.

    Final thought… while I respect the idea of finding him “ideologically sound music”, I’m not sure that there are (m)any bands whose entire output fits that criteria, and if he likes the tracks you pick he’ll surely want to explore the rest of the repertoire of those bands?

  2. Looking back on what I wrote last night, you’ve got to add either Marillion’s “Forgotten Sons” or Magnum’s “Don’t Wake the Lion”, both excellent anti-war songs.

  3. If you are entertaining the thought of “paid for”, King’s X would be worth a look. Lyrical content ranges from positive to poignant and there’s plenty of grown-up thinking but in the proper sense, of deeply considered and mature.

    Free choices? I’m not sure, but you could hunt through the suggestions above and look for free offers and also similar artists. Anything free, you can easily download and listen to yourself before deciding whether or not to include it.

  4. Thanks people! I have a tax return to grapple with so might not manage to reply properly till next week, but I’ve had a bit of a listen already to some of the recommended music. (Liked that Black Stone Cherry track.)

    more later…

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