Light and shade

I've been listening to the awesome new album Psychotic Symphony by Sons of Apollo. There's a lot of discussion comparing them to Portnoys (and Sherinians) ex-band Dream Theater, who have recorded three albums with new drummer Mike Mangini. I respect the music that the new DT are making, but I don't like it. It feels damp and soulless to me, where SoA is

We get so focused on 'being happy', that we're afraid to be sad. There's a great comic How to be perfectly unhappy by The Oatmeal. Happiness isn't some ground truth that's the same for us all. Happiness to a person who lives in constant pain could be a day where the pain isn't crippling. Unhappiness to a person with everything might be a day where someone invents something completely new.

To live in constant happiness would soon dull. Without darkness light fades. Music is a brilliant reflection of this. Music plays loud loses all impact; it's just loud music. But to interleave both piano and forte into a song is a wonderful, then to add different tempos into that can make a piece beautiful. Portnoy gets all of this, but beyond that, he can interleave his pieces into the rest of the groups (and they're fantastic artists; Bumblefoot, Soto, Sheenan and Sherinian).

Some of the best musicians out there just get this. It's easy to see this in classical music, just listen to In the Hall of the Mountain King, that's a simple gradient from piano to forte and slow to fast and it's a wonderful crescendo.

We should heed this, art reflects reality, so reality too needs this light and shade to work. For without sadness, happiness wouldn't be anything special.