Saturday, December 24, 2011

Facebook ads and music I don't understand

Generally I try to ignore facebook ads, but I'm actually not that good at ignoring things. I don't click them, but I definitely notice them.

From them I have learned that, apparently, the standard uniform for traveling around Europe is a bikini, and fixing cars either involves making a car have four front wheels or replacing all it's wheels with massive metal wagon wheels. I've also learned that the most popular game on facebook appears to have gotten that way not through word of mouth or quality or anything like that, but instead by constantly advertizing on facebook. For that matter “the best game on facebook” seems to be operating on the same premise.

Until yesterday the only time it showed an ad for a person was when that person was a politician. Usually Obama or Elizabeth Warren, presumably because I'm following them and thus it would seem a reasonable bet that I'd be receptive to giving them money. Certainly I would be if I had money. To Warren I would donate enthusiastically, to Obama it would be in a more subdued, “You've disappointed me in myriad ways but you have done some good things and it was nice to have health insurance for a few months, and the alternatives to you are all disaster so take the money and try to do a better job,” sort of way, but had I money I would share with both of them.

When it did have an ad for another person that person was always a politician and, so far, one whose polices I would largely agree with. Thus when I've seen an ad about a person, it was always a person I should probably be aware of. It was the one place where facebook ads actually managed to be relevant, even if they still didn't make me click them.

So last night it showed an add for someone I'd never heard of. I think my eye was drawn to it in part by the fact that the picture was taken from a weird angle, but I didn't really pay attention to that.  Mostly I looked at it, saw a name I'd never heard of, and put the person's name into google to see why they might be relevant.  (I did this without reading what the ad said.)

She is Polish, I have some Polish ancestry, but facebook doesn't know that, so that wasn't it. She was born in the same year as I was, at first I thought she was born on the same day as I was, but that's because I was expecting the date to be day-month-year (isn't that how it's done in places not here?) when it was actually shown as month-day-year. That we were born in the same year is something facebook would know, somehow I don't think that was it. She seems to like, or at least like wearing, the color orange. Orange is my favorite color. Facebook doesn't know that.

She's a singer, which we'll come back to, but that's not why facebook thought I'd be interested in her. Amoung various other things I've never listened to a Polish musician before and facebook certainly doesn't have reason to think I'd like Polish music. After looking around the internet, and looking back to see what the ad actually said it became pretty clear that the reason for the ad was how she looks. She's got a pretty face, but most pictures of her don't really capture that because they're distracted by something else: She has large breasts.

I'm guessing that the reason the picture in the ad was taken from a weird angle was that that angle emphasized the size of her breasts.

The reasoning behind showing me the ad seems to be very simple: I'm male, she has large breasts, therefore I will be interested.

I do in fact think she is a beautiful woman (though I don't think the size of her breasts has a lot to do with it), and I am certainly attracted to beautiful women, but there's no money to be made off of me thinking that because I'm not in the habit of getting invested in a random beautiful women I don't know who I happen to learn about on the internet just because they're beautiful.  Not even enough to "like" them on facebook.

I'm definitely not the actual intended audience for the ad.

When I took the name and punched it into google without reading the ad I found stuff that does seem interesting to me, which I've already mentioned: she's a Polish singer my age, she might even like my favorite color. That's all much more interesting to me than what the ad actually said.  All it had to say was that she was an “all natural photomodel.” So, unless the "natural" is there to assure us she doesn't use false eyelashes, her most defining feature according to her own ad is apparently that her breasts are both large and real.  That's not exactly a happy commentary on the world.

Anyway, I've never heard Polish music before, some of her songs are on youtube, I listened to one. Not my kind of thing.

I don't really like using “pop” as a genre because pop just means popular and surely that’s more a function of time and place than anything intrinsic to the music. One imagines an exchange of:
“I heard Bach will be playing harpsichord tonight, did you want to come?”
“No way, I don't like pop.”
taking place some time in the 18th century.

(It wouldn't actually happen because the term pop only dates back to the 1920s and the speakers in such a conversation probably would have been German anyway.)

Unfortunately, I don't know enough about music to be more specific. It has a sound that I have only ever heard described as pop which is quite catchy in a way that gets stuck in your head but is not my sort of thing at all. Perhaps it can be narrowed to modern pop or recent pop or something, because the Beatles and the Stones are considered pop and they didn't make music like that. (Something listed it as "dance pop", perhaps that's how one should describe it. I honestly have no idea.)

Anyway, listening to it has not left me with a desire to hear more of her music, but it has left me with a strange urge to listen to more Polish music. Just not in that style. What's the Polish equivalent of the Beatles, or CCR, or Crosby, Stills and Nash (Polish Young can tag along too, I suppose, but I'm not interested in him as a solo artist) or Simon and Garfunkel?

That's what I find myself wanting to hear: music which is in a style I like, but in Polish. It's a strange desire since I don't understand the Polish language and thus wouldn't know what I was hearing. Then again, if it had a nice CCRish sound I probably wouldn't mind not knowing what the words meant.

Of course the truth is that I wouldn't recognize Polish anyway* so probably almost any Slavic language would satisfy the urge, and if someone has, say, Hungarian music to recommend I'm not going to reject it for not being Slavic.  So basically I guess what it comes down to is not-English.

So, now that I have a strange urge to hear music sung in a language I don't actually understand, I'm asking anyone who read this far if they have any recommendations for such music.

So, does anyone have any recommendations?


* In fact, apparently my most recent Polish speaking ancestor, a great grandfather on my mother's side whom I never met, spoke a Polish so heavily influenced by and interspersed with Russian that when my mother heard actual Polish for the first time she didn't realize it was the same language he spoke until she was told it was Polish.


  1. To rock fans, "pop" is "any modern music that I don't like" - as opposed to "rock", which is "any modern music that I like". This simplifies the world wonderfully.

    I fear I can't help much with the music; finding similar artists is hard. (Though my girlfriend, who knew the Beatles the first time round, thought the first time she heard "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?" through someone's wall that it was an undiscovered Beatles album...)

    I quite enjoy European heavy metal - much of it sounds like the stuff I enjoyed growing up in the 1980s, whereas modern metal tends to my perception to go off in strange and uninteresting-to-me directions...

  2. So, does anyone have any recommendations?

    Not exactly.

    Prisencolinensinainciusol is more the opposite: for people who don't understand English but want something Englishy. (For people who do understand English, the gibberish is interestingly pareidolic. Part of me always insists that if I just listened a little harder it would all make perfect sense.)

    I have a few bilingual songs in English and ASL (the first I think was always intended to be bilingual, the latter two were originally just English and then translated), but those don't fit either.

    *shrug* That's the closest I can give you.

  3. I'm not sure this is a style you'd be interested in, but Mediæval Bæbes have some stuff that's not in English, mostly Latin, but I'm aware of at least one song in French. Also, some of their songs are in archaic English which might as well be a different language if it's archaic enough (I'm thinking Middle English here; Old English is a different language.)

  4. You'd like Demjén Ferenc:

    You might like Máté Péter. Here are two by him:

    I like the Vad Fruttik. Maybe you will too.