My name is Jake and this my first official post as a member of the Linescratchers team and I could not be more thrilled about it. To start off I would like to pose a simple question: what is poetry? Is it flowery words? Or fourteen lines about love with a specific rhyme scheme? Maybe even deep thought smashed into a simple text?
Well, if you ask Roman Jakobson, a Russian linguist born in 1896, it is none of these. Poetry, or the poetic function, is simply communicating in a form different then the standard norm or language. For example, if we spoke in rhyme all the time then rhyming sentences would become the norm or standard. Any deviation from this norm, or not rhyming, would be using the poetic function. Poetry is noticed and memorable because it stands out among the background of everyday speaking. I bring this up to point out that poetry is made simply by being different, pushing your way outside the box in order to be seen, and if applied to music, to be heard.
I harbor the idea that in the heavily saturated modern music world, being different is as (and maybe more) important as being good or talented. Granted, that talent and hard work make your craft presentable and polished but creating contrast between you and the norm is crucial when wanting to get heard. The poetic function is just as important in music as it is in our language and communication.
I recently read a book for one of my classes called Insensatez which included some Mayan translations in the text. The translations were always interesting and well worded, poetic even, but I soon learned that it is simple because that was how the Mayans spoke on a day to day basis. Their norm was poetic to me because it was different. Well, LDS musicians are different. We might be playing the club but using our bar tab on a Coke. We might be working (or trying to) as a rock star but not necessarily living like one. And on the other hand, we might be religious but do not singing blatantly religious songs. When it comes down to it, that poetic function happens just like how it did for the Mayans, and this is by simply being us.
I am excited to share my musical thoughts and tastes with you and gladly welcome your thoughts in return. If you would like to hear some of the music I play, go to http://www.thesweaterfriends.com/. As readers of Linescratchers, and really just for making it this far into my ramblings, use the code “amigos” under the music tab to get 15% off any of our releases. There is also a free single there if interested. Thanks!