The Grateful Dead

In: Film and Music

Submitted By louisdelajudie
Words 354
Pages 2
I shall start this essay with a confession: when it comes to rock music, I am the perfect layperson. For me, the name “Grateful Dead” didn’t ring a bell: I guess that I would have pictured them as scary dudes playing black metal, and definitely not as a band of light-hearted stoned hippies. For a layman, there are many reasons to find the Dead deceitful.

First of all, which genre could I associate them with? After listening to a couple of song in class, I looked for their most popular songs on deezer: “Truckin’” recalled country music, while “Dark Star” ’s guitar sound was dirty, raw and enigmatic. This was to be added to “Franklin’s Tower” ‘s form of joyful and childish simplicity. So there I was, trying to label a music that seemed so diverse, looking for a form of logic amongst all these influences. This is probably when I began thinking that maybe my approach was a bit absurd: why was I putting so much effort into reducing the Dead’s sound to one unambiguous genre, into finding an illusory unity? Perhaps I needed to reassure myself, but it lead me nowhere, even when I listened to the whole Europe 72 album. After more than an hour of listening to the Dead, I had entirely forgotten about my essay and I realized that maybe I had been looking in the wrong direction.

For me, the Dead’s music was all about energy and the transmission of these positive vibes to the listener. But it wasn’t the kind of existential shout some artists need to express: here, everything seemed effortless, there was no plan to follow, they were following where their own sound would take them as much as they would create it. In this regard, their music as well as their showmanship could be better understood: it seems that for them, inspiration was just about feeling in harmony with themselves. And this is maybe why their music is so powerful: in a way, listening to the Dead is about a…...

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