This is Third Listen, a writing project where I explore great pieces of music in detail to figure out what makes them effective in whatever it is they are trying to do.
New content every Thursday.
What are the articles?
I like to think of the articles as like tasting notes for alcohol, but for music: notes to help point out what to listen for and appreciate. Each article breaks down the instrumentals, lyrics, vocal delivery, cultural context and anything else relevant to understanding how the artist has achieved the vibe and message of the song.
There are also helpful icons to play the song from that point so you can listen along conveniently.
WHY ARE YOU WRITING IT?
My main passion is examining culture and ethics by way of art, particularly music. Modern society often looks at art consumption as simple entertainment: a perfectly valid use of your time, but not one that could be described as productive. Conversely, I’ve come to think that if consumed in the right way, art can be as powerful a tool for understanding the world as science can be. Of course, artists do not describe the world as precisely, accurately or reliably as scientists do. But art’s subject matter is the perspectives, perceptions and relationships of others — things that don’t lend themselves easily to structured scientific description.
Pieces of art represent opportunities to explore the inner lives of others in order to better understand the way the world works and how its different elements interact. Approached sensitively and critically, art can make you a more compassionate, intelligent and effective person.
WHAT’S WITH THE NAME?
The first time you listen to a song, everything is new and little is familiar; all you can generally get from a single play is the overarching vibe and message of the song. The second time through, you know where the song is going so can focus a little more on the lyrics and the structure of the instrumental. But the third listen is when the real magic begins to happen, when you can really tune into the details that make the song work and appreciate the depth of the artistry.
WHO IS IT FOR?
The pieces are written for anyone interested in the details of a piece of music. Maybe you’re a music nerd interested in someone’s else’s perspective; maybe you’re a novice to the genre being discussed and want to see what all the fuss is about; maybe you just really like seeing someone strain to find appropriate adjectives for the inscrutable landscape of sound. Whatever your interest, I hope the pieces are accessible and helpful.
AND WHO ARE YOU?
I’m Simon Camp. I studied Philosophy at UCL (University College London), which solidified my fascination with the intersection of art and ethics.
I love listening to smart people and talking to open people. I like pink and yellow because they seem to be the only colours making a real effort to be interesting.
HOW CAN I CONTACT YOU?
Twitter is awesome, so please do chat to me there: @SimonCamp. If you want to get in touch with me for more businesslike stuff, you can email me at email@example.com - plz no spam, thx.