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Home / Fitness and Health / Malcolm Gladwell on his new podcast & # 39; Broken Record & # 39; and why music makes him cry

Malcolm Gladwell on his new podcast & # 39; Broken Record & # 39; and why music makes him cry



While most of us enjoy the good pendulum music Malcolm Gladwell, the longtime New York Personal Writer and The New York Times bestselling author of works such as ] The Tipping Point and Outliers, asks something else in his music: bring me to tears. Gladwell's latest podcast series, Broken Record explores the emotional power of the earwig, using the curious curiosity he became famous for – his details of the unexpected influence of minutiae (exceptions, anomalies, buried news, unsung features of the genius or the observation bites) – this time with a view to the history of music.

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We've teamed up with Gladwell to discuss his new project, his long-standing obsession with the country, the challenges of hip-hop, and why crying causes laughter.

MH: Over the years you've picked up on a number of different topics, and from the outside, it seems that Broken Record is one of your more recent projects. What about music that you think you need a series to explore?

Malcolm Gladwell: I grew up listening to music, but it was college when I really jumped seriously into music (pop music). We sat around and played music and talked about it, and the conversation was as important as listening. The idea that music is best heard when it is played and spoken remains with me. What we love (Bruce [Headlam] Rick [Rubin] and me) is the idea that you can sit down with someone and play a bit of something, and then they can explain it or make a riff, react and play on it You then a little bit more. That was the most natural way to familiarize people with music. So the idea for the show really comes.

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You said some of your favorite episodes of the Revisionist History were centered on musical themes Why is that?

I do not know! I was surprised by that first season of Revisionist History I thought, "Oh, I'm going to make a music episode," because I had the idea to do something with Elvis Costello. […] And I just thought of another story And then I thought, "You know, that was really fun. […] Music and musicians are so natural, it's just so much fun to conduct an interview, because they are much more interesting than you can imagine on their chosen topic.

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Why Do you think this is so? Are they interesting [than other interviews]?

Funny – and I think everyone is interesting – but I do not know why; it just seemed Maybe it 's because you are involved with their art and they also see themselves as part of a community.There is an incredible generosity about musicians that is not for writers.When you talk to a writer, they go back and forth But they will almost never say, "I had the idea of ​​doing what I wrote about this other author" – never happens .Musicians do it for granted "I stole this reef from this person." And then I talk to that person about it and we all laugh together. Or [I talk to that person and he/she says]: "We threatened to complain and then settled it!" They are very aware of the fact that they belong to a community – a creative community – and they all share and build on each other. […] My father (who is a mathematician) has talked about how to do this Mathematician . They'll tell you this is inspired by this guy, and then it all goes back to Gauss, or to whoever. You have worked out the intellectual pedigree.

The saddest song ever written: "Bobby Braddocks" He has her love today, "of course"

One of the most intriguing things at the end of a listener is the idea of ​​how music is – what makes it so emotional and sad. How did it get curious to find sad music (or the sadness in the music)? If you listen to a mix tape I made, then 85 percent are sad songs. I do not hear happy music. I have no idea why. I want my music to bring me down, and I want to wallow in my suffering and pain. The idea of ​​making an episode about perhaps the saddest song of all time was natural. Of course I do. If you knew me, you would know that this episode of the revisionist story was nothing surprising. The only shocking thing is that this was not the first episode of 19459003 that I did.

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Bobby Braddock, of whom Gladwell says he sings the saddest song all the time,

Getty Images Taylor Hill

Do you think that Sadness is perhaps a motor for creativity, or is it just that you like more downtempo songs?

I have something of crying It's much more interesting than laughing Everyone – even a baby – can help you [Laughter] […] If I said to you, "Make me laugh," you could make me laugh, but if I said to you now, "You have five minutes, let me cry," You can not do it "I'm not crying." Screaming is harder than laughing Who's crying is a lot harder. " as s make someone laugh. A song that can make you cry seems to me an extraordinary achievement. The difficulty level of tears has always fascinated me. It is a challenge; you have to work on it. I think that's part of it. And then the consequences. I can make you laugh now, but you'll get over it and maybe 30 seconds later you might forget that you laughed. But if I made you cry now, you would go home and talk to a friend or girlfriend and you would say, "Oh my God, in the midst of this random interview with Malcolm Gladwell, I began to cry. "It would be an event in your life that you would share with your friends – with a degree of surprise and horror.

"The difficulty level of tears has always fascinated me."

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Is music particularly good at making you cry?

Sure. Well, I think that ears are good. The way to make someone cry is not what you show them. That's what you let her hear – that's really the key to tears. You can make someone with a photo cry, but it's very hard. It's much easier to make someone cry with a song or poem or something they say to him. Image "title =" image "class =" lazyimage lazyload "data-src =" https: //hips.hearstapps. com / hmg-prod.s3.amazonaws.com / images / 1386-41841418-1544822353.jpg? crop = 1xw: 1xh; center, top & resize = 480:

Getty Images Robin Hill

] What makes music so sad? What about this medium?

I tried it in this episode of Revisionist History titled "The King of Tears" – I tried to answer that question I know if I have responded satisfactorily, but I put it first the question of why country music makes you cry especially well, and I said it was because of its peculiarity. For crying you need an emotional theme, but you too I need details, you have to hang experience on certain details when you're moved to tears, and that's quite natural for country musicians.

You might normally think o f country music (at least that cowboy hat country music) rather than hyper-masculine. And yet, with the songs you have made, we see that country music has a rich history in which you should actually cry or at least show people in pain.

We've made an episode [of Broken Record ] with these three great Nashville songwriters [Bobby Braddock, Don Schlitz, and Don Henry]. They were truly part of that revolution in Nashville in the 1970s, when they made a more complete picture of human emotions and human experience in music. And they started telling a different kind of story, a more emotionally complex story. And I think you see it in country music now. It went beyond pick-ups. It's not the same country music of the 50s and 60s. You know, one of my favorite songs is Mary Gauthier's "Drag Queens and Limousines". It is incredibly refined. She talks about growing up and all the emotional and personal compromises you have to make if you want to assert your identity. It's a super super complicated, sophisticated song. This is not the country music they wrote in 1965. This new, richer music really appeals to me, and I think it's so irresistible.

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Have Did you learn about creativity when interviewing singer-songwriters? Does creativity flourish there differently?

Huh. I dont know! I mean, the most interesting thing for me on land is, for example, that there is a system. In Nashville, there is a world of songwriters who know each other, work together, come together, all living within a 20-minute drive of each other, hanging out in the same bars; There is a place where it happens . It's like writing code in Silicon Valley. And I think that's really fascinating. However, if you are (and I might be wrong) in the rock & roll world (and you are probably in Los Angeles), there is not the same concentration or cultural structure that will help you craft. And I think that structure makes a big difference. If this structure exists, it is much easier for people to create and be rewarded for their creations – and to be recognized. I could be wrong, but I have a feeling for Nashville: If you write a great record, somebody will do it; If you write a really good song, somebody makes a record or sings it in a public forum. […]

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Gladwell on stage at OZY Fest 2018 in July 2018 in New York City.

Getty Images Matthew Eisman

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I recently heard a show about what it means to break into the world of hip-hop – and it's hard. A lot of competition. If you are an unknown child living with your parents in Boise, Idaho, and you have some beats or something you want to show the world, it is not obvious, while in Country this is a more obvious system.

There's a System […] It's like writing code in Silicon Valley.

They have already mentioned similarities as the peculiarity of country music (their community, their vocabulary) is ry) is very similar to hip hop and rap.

Yes, demographics and geography of Rap and country music are very similar, I just looked at the top country songs and top hip-hop songs of all time, and found that the authors of all the most popular songs, unlike rock and roll, are geographically concentrated well-known songwriters in Nashville not only come from the South, but are a very specific part of the South – basically Appalachia: Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia – and Hip-Hop remains a coastal phenomenon Metro Zone of LA (There are also bags in Atlanta and Chicago.) If you look at a card with great hip hop, it looks like a card with great country music: it's very specific in its origin. In which Rock and Roll is omnipresent. And the argument that I put forward was that geographic concentration makes it easier to speak in a specific way because you know who your audience is. They know they share a lot with you. And so you rappel for people in your neighborhood. They write country songs for other people who are very similar to the way you grew up. And that makes it easier for you to communicate complicated ideas in a sophisticated way.

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			<span class= Getty Images Natasha Mustache [19659024] That's so fascinating: Can you almost find a political border between music and music – the specific vocabulary, the in-group mentality, talking to yourself – that could describe American politics.

Others may have more thought about it, but I have the meaning: I do not think so. […] When it comes to music, I think people's thoughts are pretty much open Many reasons people in certain parts of the country listen to country music, not hip -Hop, in my opinion, have little to do with race or ideology, you just do not listen Not much hip-hop. The access is huge. If you think that the new Janelle Monae album is amazing (like me), the next question is: who hears it? And if you're a white mother of three children living in rural Georgia, what's your chance to hear Janelle Monae? The stations you hear may not play. Are you on Spotify looking for new things? If you live in Long Beach and are a big hip-hop fan, who will play the new Avett Brothers album? Nobody is. But maybe you would love it! I think you would! I think this woman in rural Georgia would love Janelle Monae! If she heard it. But she never hears it. Back then, when there was a lot less music and where there were a few outlets that could reach anyone, they all liked that stuff; Everyone liked the Beatles. I think it's a function of how fragmented our different ways of accessing music have become. I do not think it means more.

"The last song called Elvis Costello's" Indoor Fireworks. "The older I get, the more painful the song becomes."

Do you think it might work the other way round? As if you had a greater spread of genres, you could actually make people relate to each other a bit more.

It's interesting. I would be much more convinced of causality in than than the other. I think with music and music taste you are disarmed if you hear a song. You have no reason not to like a song. They are like: convince me. And you also have the opportunity to listen to music more than once. And nobody ever let you be ashamed because you changed your mind about a song. If I told you that I changed my mind about abortion, you might say "WHY? WHAT DO YOU DO?" But if I told you, "I really like Chris Stapleton now and I have not liked him for years," you would say, "fantastic!" (You might think so). So there is something wonderful about music; Maybe it could be some kind of goodwill ambassador.

In one of Broken Records episodes, Nile Rodgers speaks of music as this type of salvation. And music always has that religiosity. We are all religious in the sense that we worship something. What is Malcolm Gladwell worshiping?

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Well, I do not know if I worship music. Worship is very much a hierarchical thing. It's a fidelity to something bigger than you. And I do not think that music 19459004 is bigger than us. What excites me so much is that it is part of of us. I know that I can not write the music of my favorite musicians, but when I hear their music, it does not feel like much. it feels like part of my identity. And that is the opposite of worship. I adore things that are much bigger. I find it much easier to worship – and maybe "worship" is the wrong word; I would have a " awe" for – Steph Curry. But I have no awe, oddly enough, for a singer. I feel like another kind of relationship. I'm not even sure my position is rational, but that's how I always thought about music – as something very personal and recognizable. While I know I can not even dribble a basketball . So I have no choice but to be in awe of Steph Curry.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.


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