I want to like Megas. I really do. When someone is a seminal musician in a culture, you feel like you should be able to appreciate them.
But I can’t quite get there.
Now, let me be clear. I don’t dislike Megas. Not at all. It’s not like his songs are in any way musically bad, and his voice, while distinctive, is hardly grating or annoying. It’s just that without understanding the words (which are all in Icelandic), there isn’t enough in the way his songs sound to make them compelling based on that alone. I’ve been racking my brain to try to come up with an American parallel, and the only thing I can think of is playing someone like Son House to someone who doesn’t speak English and has no real understanding of what Blues music is about. If you were just listening to the sound of it with absolutely zero context, you could recognize the emotion there, but otherwise might be left scratching your head. Probably a crappy example, but it’s the best I can do. Maybe Neil Young or Lou Reed? Can their music be appreciated without understanding their words? Bob Dylan is a name that comes up a lot, and certainly Megas gets compared to him. While Dylan doesn’t have a good singing voice, he does have a certain cadence that seems to go along with his music, whereas sometimes it sounds like Megas is singing to some song that is totally different than what his band is playing.
Í Góðri Trú is fine, but not something I’m like to play a lot, at least not until I learn Icelandic. Which is incredibly hard to do, I hear. So… we’ll have to wait and see.