5 things to know : Music edition
1. The first record I owned was a .45 (yes, vinyl) of Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You”, given to me as a birthday gift from a school pal. From this point on I realized I could shape my own musical tastes instead of listening only to what my parents enjoyed. I still don’t count it as a good day if I don’t hear the Bee Gees at least once. For the record, I played my little discs on a .45 turntable housed in a latching box with pictures of Donny and Marie Osmond on the cover. Very cool at the time!
2. I go through phases when it comes to music, but I still love the songs of my youth. I grew up on country music, disco and 70s pop, and I was a total New Wave freak in high school. Duran Duran and INXS defined my adolescence, and West Coast alternative rock put words to my personal angst. In college I was consumed by R&B and early forms of hip hop, and I’ve always loved the Beatles and British artists from the 60s. But these days I find very little to enjoy on the radio, outside new music from old favorites. I’ve reached the stage that I always felt defined my parents: there’s just nothing as good as the oldies.
3. I’m a total radio flipper. When I hear artists or songs that irritate me or don’t sound like music, I automatically reach for the presets and start clicking through them until I find something remotely enjoyable. And I’m finding it harder and harder to land on something decent. These days I instinctively skip away from the likes of Taylor Swift, Colbie Caillat, Lady Gaga, and any American Idol or Disney-engineered [ahem] “artist”. I can’t understand how this drivel even makes it to the radio, so I’m thinking payola is still alive and well in popular music.
4. Despite my love of “modern” music, I’m still a sucker for the big band sound and the crooners. A day with Diana Krall, Harry Connick Jr, Michael Bublé and their contemporaries is time well spent, and it feels more modern than anything else I hear on a radio.
5. Perhaps my greatest musical love of all is a movie/show soundtrack. If I love a film in its entirety, if that film brings an emotional connnection so that I will want to revisit it again and again, I will always obtain the soundtrack. The music is sufficient to transport me back to that film’s world (especially when I’m unable to take time to view the imagery), and I am able to experience again all the emotions that surfaced during that first viewing. To this day, my list of all-time favorite music contains mostly soundtracks: Saturday Night Fever; Urban Cowboy; The Man From Snowy River; Xanadu; Pretty In Pink; The Breakfast Club; Say Anything; Reality Bites; Hope Floats; Almost Famous; Gladiator; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; The Lord of the Rings; and most recently, the original Broadway cast recording of Wicked. This collection of music is not for everyone, but it makes me happy and reminds me just how important films and music are to my life. I will never apologize for my taste, for one could never control the feeling that bubbles up from deep in the soul. Music, like so much else that is good in the world, is completely a visceral experience. And that is what makes it art.