Music quizzes are back in the spotlight
Have you ever noticed the excitement of variety in bars and nightclubs? It is a fact, our affection for music is growing, to the point that listening to music is part of those activities that we would find it difficult to do without.
This interest in music is naturally accompanied by a real impetus for French-speaking culture, and even more so for French music, throughout the world. France has now taken on its musical style and regained its artistic independence while differentiating its approach, the main example being the way in which French rappers have conquered an ever-wider audience and developed a whole range of sensibilities, able to please both insiders and neophytes.
That's where we are, we consume music, we attach to it and identify with it. Moreover, we find in classical authors the taste of their identity, the interest of their culture, and the solidity of the landmarks built up to then by those who, through their disappearance, remind a civilization of what it is.
Nothing better to understand this momentum for music in general than to take an interest in musical quizzes: what are the ingredients of a good musical quiz? Of course, you will need good speakers, good friends and, why not, good bottles of wine, but beyond the form, you will have to ensure the quality of the content, namely the music you will play. Then follow us in this playlist building guide for a successful blindtest evening!
The golden rule is this: there is no optimal playlist, the important thing is that your guests should all feel involved in the evening, should find their tastes in the musical composition of your playlists. This leads us to the first proposal.
A good playlist is inspired by your friends!
The multiplication of streaming platforms is extremely positive in that it allows you to have instant access to your friends' musical tastes. If Pierre listens to a lot of English rock from the 1960s and Marine is a fan of French variety, make sure you represent both of them in your playlist! This will have the great advantage of engaging everyone in the game and leaving no one on the side of the road and away from their sensitivities. The must: everyone will discover new music and, as the blind test experience repeats itself, the competition will become even more intense! So don't hesitate to take a look at your guests' Spotify, Apple Music or Deezer accounts!
In addition to everyone's musical tastes, there are everyone's musical tastes.....
Use the collective unconscious : musics from movies
It is undeniable: some music has been listened to by everyone. Who has never heard a friend say, "That sounds familiar! "I have it on the tip of my tongue! " or " But yes, it's the music of that movie there... with that actor! » ? Music inhabits our collective unconscious, has become part of our cultural landscape with such depth that some of them appear familiar to us from the very first notes.
This is the case for many film scores but also for some commercials: the credits of Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Nightcall by Kavinsky in Nicolas Winding Refn's film Drive or, for the most advanced among us, the music of Fight Club by Pixies, "Where is my mind?
To make up your playlist, make sure you mix the films well: take films from all eras, nationalities and directors. The goal is as much to satisfy the less alert of your guests as the most knowledgeable. In addition to bringing rhythm to the competition, this will provide immense satisfaction to those who will put their finger on the music they have always been looking for.
Dopamine's good, rock and roll's better.
A little Rock in crazy world!
It is a style that cannot be ignored, the one through which all generations have passed and will pass again. Rocknroll appeared in the United States in the post-war years and seemed, at the time, to catalyse all the accumulated tensions of the world conflict. Flowing from rhythm and Blues, influenced by American country and rural music, it has, since those years, accompanied the ardent youth of many students.
You can make Rock the central theme of your music quiz or you can simply spread anthology music here and there, which you can pick from Nirvana ("Smells Like Teen Spirit"), Guns N' Roses ("Sweet Child O' Mine"), Queen ("Bohemian Rhapsody"), AC-DC ("Highway to Hell") or Led Zeppelin ("Whole Lotta love") to name just some of the most famous artists. Of course, have fun varying the songs, incorporating well-known and less popular songs into your playlist. You can also vary the rules and earn one point for the person who finds the name or title alone and two points for the person who finds the name/title pair.
Rock has become, a contrario to what it was originally, almost conventional. Electro is less so by definition, especially among the older generations.
Open up the perspectives and try electro!
Still stigmatized today, electro is not only reserved for big partygoers and nightclub fans. This musical style has a very atypical history, which we will have the opportunity to discuss in a future article. So of course everyone knows the French DJ David Guetta or Martijn Garritsen, alias Martin Garrix, a young Dutch electro prodigy, but few people actually know the real pope of electro: the French Jean-Michel Jarre.
This unsuspected artistic depth, this musical research beyond what one can imagine, this methodical construction of electronic music pieces are all elements that bring exoticism to your musical quizzes. Therefore, it would not be uninteresting to feed your playlists with a few nuggets of the same Jean-Michel Jarre, Flume, a famous Australian DJ with very industrial sounds, or the late Avicii. This will surprise your guests who, with a few glasses of wine, will get up to let go of a few dancing steps in the middle of your living room.
Electro is therefore one of these little-known modern genres and, because of the relatively similar rhythm of the music, it is difficult to distinguish it from the very first notes. Another modern genre is shaking up habits in terms of musical quizzes: rap
A unique style, that of crooners
From Bing Crosby to Frank Sinatra to Michael Bublé, you will have enough to do with American crooners. The arrival of American crooners in the world of records and entertainment in America and elsewhere, and their dazzling success, we must return to America at the end of the 1920s, the arrival of radio in homes.
With the microphone, the voice of the speaker and the singer becomes softer. The first "Crooners", from Bing Crosby to Russ Colombo, seduce young listeners, like an intimate, personal and sung conversation. The next generation (from Sinatra to Dean Martin) will learn the lessons of the voice that arises on swing and this classy way of singing will become the sign of talent for all the great Crooners, from the world of jazz, soul or variety. Today the "Neo-Crooners" are named after Harry Connick Junior, Michael Bublé, Jamie Cullum. So from Frank Sinatra's Fly Me To The Moon to Ella Fitzgerald's Desafinado, don't put aside any references. The quiz must be representative of the diversity of this style!
A musical genre that could not be more modern: rap
A cultural and musical movement rooted in hip-hop, which emerged in the early 1970s in the ghettos of the United States. Rap is characterized by its very rhythmic diction (especially beat, scratching, sampling). Today we are witnessing a very peculiar situation: a generation of rappers who have their own very particular and assumed codes alongside artists whose reputation has been established for years now. This young generation is part of a context of good thinking and a renewal of puritanism with a deeply non-consensual, provocative and free style. Like it or not, it's not our business.
What matters to us is how we can exploit this effusion of styles and sensibilities to the benefit of the diversity of your blind tests. And the recipe is simple: mix the times! From the roots of Rap (Last Poets) to the famous East Coast and West Coast confrontations (Tupac vs. Notorious B.I.G, Nas, Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, Ice Cube), to modern artists (The Excellent J. Cole, the prolific Drake, the committed Kendrick Lamar, the late Mac Miller, the great Eminem) or even ultra-modern (XXX Tentacion, Action Bronson, Meek Mill), mix all genres to create a complete overview of American rap. You will discover a diversity of commitments, words (Rap West Coast being more biting, less perky, than Rap East Coast), styles.
And of course, don't hesitate to take a look at the Raps of other countries, it's a style that's really exploding across the Atlantic!
The primacy of instruments: classical music
We have discussed many themes and all of them have one thing in common: they are lyrical texts. This means that they are easier to recognize, that beyond the melody, that it is possible not to recognize, the lyrics give us additional clues that lead us a little further towards the discovery of the song in question.
Classical music is therefore an elitist theme for musical quizzes, in the complexity of their recognition, realization and composition. Let me explain: it is not enough to recognize the composer, or sometimes even the opera. In this field, the acts of some operas and their directors are expected to be performed. Let me explain: it will not be enough to recognize "Swan Lake by Piotr Illitch Tchaikovsky", which is already a great tour de force, but to recognize "Opera 20, Act IV: Small Swan Dances of the Gstaad Festival Orchestra" to get the point in front of your friends. So of course, don't hesitate to sip cognac or Armagnac to immerse yourself together in the atmosphere of a beautiful opera and become a little less attentive to the answers given, this will prevent the game from dragging on at 0-0...
Apart from the different styles whose outlines we have just defined, it is possible to create musical quizzes centred on an artist!
The single-group musical quiz: the example of the beatles
So of course, not all artists lend themselves to this exercise: you have to choose a group with a very rich discography, whose albums respond to several periods of their musical sensitivity and follow their personal evolution. The typical example that fits perfectly into this game mode would be The Beatles.
Indeed, this group has broken many popularity records. Let us not forget the polemical phrase of John Lennon, the group leader, on this subject in 1966: "Today, we are more popular than Jesus! “. The Beatles have indeed produced more than 200 pieces of music, some of which have beaten records of popularity either by their musical construction ("Something"), by their historical context ("Imagine" by John Lennon) or by the anecdote from which they came ("Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds").
You will therefore have enough to challenge your friends and take advantage of these moments to deepen your knowledge of this group of legends which, let us remember, was dissolved in 1970.The single artist musical quiz: the example of Kanye West
The single artist musical quiz: the example of Kanye West
In August 2018, Kanye West announced the release of Yandhi, an album supposed to follow his 8th solo album, Ye. Finally postponed, the disc will never see the light of day. In October 2019, Jesus Is King, Kanye West's new album, was finally released. Kanye West seems to be doing everything he can to make our year his year. This prolific artist has been in the spotlight for nearly 15 years. Graduation, released in 2017, contains many songs that have become cult: Stronger, Can't Tell Me Nothing popularized by the film The Hangover, Homecoming or the excellent Flashing Lights, whose clip has marked a whole generation.
Then Kanye West went on to be successful with 808s and Heartbreak (2008), My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010), Yeezus (2013), Ye (2018). Since Late Registration (2005), Kanye West has come a long way, her style has evolved and the awareness of her influence has helped her to shape a character that is not unanimously accepted. But one can only admire the artist's diversity of music, from which we can take advantage to create a dedicated musical quiz. Do not hesitate to mix the albums in order to detect the musical and behavioural evolutions of the artist. You have nothing to be bored with!
So you already have a lot of elements to make great music quizzes with the people you love. No matter how sensitive you are, almost all types of music are suitable for exercise, to our great delight.
We will return to each of these themes in future articles. In the meantime, don't hesitate to try the Song Trivia application, soon available on Messenger, to challenge an entire community to dozens of styles and thousands of songs!