i like what i like
May 23, 2008
Let me be up front–I am completely non-musical. The only instrument I play is my iPod. I don’t play piano, guitar, violin, flute, nuthin. I don’t sing, I don’t even hum in key.
But I do enjoy me some music. And lately I’ve been listening to stuff I didn’t used to listen to. I’ve really gotten into stuff that sounds (to ME at least) odd, different, but at the same time, lyrical and moving.
I grew up listening to the Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, and then once I got over my brief junior high Styx phase (how embarrassing is that?), I moved into my eclectic, I like almost anything phase. Not Loverboy, never Loverboy. Or 38 Special. Or Cinderella. Or Whitesnake.
But REM, U2, then Oingo Boingo, the Cure, can’t get enough Bruce Springsteen, even electronic goofy music, like Erasure, Depeche Mode, Joy Division, XTC, I love Nirvana, Pearl Jam, all that. I like punk stuff, like the Dead Kennedy’s, Black Flag, stuff like that. Rage Against the Machine. All over the map. A friend lent me a box set, Left of the Dial, Dispatches From the 80s Underground, and it’s the best, I want to play it for my kids while they’re sleeping, so they’ll wake up loving it.
I tend to listen to the last thing I bought until Kim goes crazy. If I like it, I’ll listen to it over and over again until, sometimes, I don’t like it anymore, or other times, it becomes part of me.
I don’t find any of my own music, I don’t go to clubs or anything, and I rarely listen to the radio, but when I hear someone recommend stuff I haven’t heard of, I check it out. In my quest to “freshen up the iPod” I bought a book of playlists some famous club DJ put together. Now I listen to Gorillaz, Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, Snow Patrol, Modest Mouse. She had a rap list that got me into NWA, Snoop, Public Enemy. None of this is cutting edge or anything, I’m not saying I’m some kind of musical explorer.
And while I still like all that stuff, if its presence on my iPod is any indication, I’ve started liking odder stuff, like Cocteau Twins, Portishead, Sigur Ros, Bjork. And some stuff that isn’t odd at all, but a little different. I love Elliot Smith and Jeff Buckley (once, after a long bike ride down at Fish Lake, we listened to a playlist of Elliot Smith and Jeff Buckley, and Elden said “great, now I want to kill myself.”) I once walked into a music store and said “what do you have that’s depressing?” I walked out with Cowboy Junkies, although, it’s more mellow than depressing. Mellow. I don’t want to talk about me being Mellow.
I like stuff that doesn’t sound like what I listened to as a kid. I love all Bruce Springsteen, but my favorite Bruce is his song from the movie Limbo, called Lift Me Up, where he sings in a crazy falsetto. I love Neil Young, not in spite of his voice, but BECAUSE of his voice. I prefer the Bob Dylan where he’s incomprehensible. I love Radiohead and the Arcade Fire and Beck, and I like them best when they’re weird.
I love covers. Back in the Napster days I made a cd of nothing but covers of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.” Dick Dale does a fantastic Ring of Fire. My current favorite cover is Cat Power’s “Satisfaction.” A cover should evoke, but not mimic the original. Barely recognizable should be the rule, rather than the exception.
Kim doesn’t share my taste. She prefers I listen to MY stuff when I’m alone in the car, or when I’m riding my bike. Thus I get a little protective of the iPod in the car. I don’t like the kids messing with it, Maddy putting on her Beyonce, Ian his Dragonforce, Holden his, um, his Whatever. In the car, either I want to hear what I just bought, or I want total random, Shuffle Songs, the rule being No Searching, but you can skip. I like to follow up Rage’s People of the Sun with George Winston, then some House music, then Sinead O’Conner, then Prefab Sprout, then Carmina Burana.
This morning I was listening to something new I just got, Bon Iver, and I LOVE IT. Mellow, melancholy, meandering.
Kim said “What’s wrong with him, is somebody stepping on his balls?”
Okay, she didn’t actually SAY that, but her eyes did, I swear.
Do we all listen alone?