A break in the day brings a quiet moment. A pause to breathe, reflect and explore. Never enough of these moments for most, so you really appreciate them when they happen. Experience is a friend and enemy. Do you use the moment for the repetition of habits or do you break the mold and move into some new territory? Like most, the known often overwhelms the unknown.
I’ve been listening to music my whole life. It isn’t something you can avoid, nor should you want to. That said, for the most part, age brings a static. At 47, almost everyone I know is still stuck in 1985. Or 1975. Or 1965. I saw it in my parent’s generation. I’m sure people in 1830 were still listening to Mozart instead of getting hip with Beethoven or George Pinto.
I’ve never understood the need to stick to your 20’s. Is it just a romanticism for your youth? Do so many really give up that early? I try and explain what they missed but they still never learn. They might love a song but next time I’m in their car, there’s that song I’ve heard a billion times, again.
I’m not saying that all that music is bad. I just don’t get the need to stay there. There’s been so much new. So much innovation. So much risk. And why is that so easy to ignore?
And U2 fans? They seem to live in a different vein. Because of the band’s love for constantly new music? In some part, for some, that is true. I’ve always followed the less beaten path in my musical quests, even before U2. But I listened to U2 long before they hit the mainstream here. As much as I try and follow the roots, I expect I’ve forgotten more music then I remember.
Recently I had a one week trial for the online version of XM Satellite Radio. Between the 5 alternative stations and a little mix in of jazz, I was in heaven. And I ran across a few songs I’d forgotten about. Black’s It’s a Wonderful Life, Stabbing Westward’s Save Yourself. The suicide of a local dj at my favourite radio station after he was suddenly let go brought tributes and some of his favourites which reminded me of some more songs I’d forgotten. Portishead’s Roads, Soundgarden’ s Jesus Christ Pose, Dead Can Dance’s The Ubiquitous Mr.Lovegrove, Faith No More’s Last Cup of Sorrow.
So I reminisce. And then what? I just downloaded Elbow’s cd The Seldom Seen Kid. Halfway through and I’m stunned by what is one of the best albums I’ve heard in ages. Truly (thanks Mark). So why live in the past? I’ll never know. Sadly, my favourite radio station is rapidly deteriorating into the comically sad version of others. The music is still good (though I was perplexed to hear Guns n Roses – which they didn’t play when it was new) but they’ve replaced the intelligent, thoughtful and amusing DJs who knew their music, their politics and the real meaning of things with a morning show that still giggles at the word dick and a new afternoon drive guy who thinks college party mentality is a life goal.
Society get dumber by the day. Reality tv is drivel. And shows like House get harder to find. The masses slink into a morbid funk where belief in death panels is real and people really believe that Tila Tequila (oh the IQ took a hit there!) will find love this time. I struggle with my kids who keep trying to think Paris will find her BFF both here and in Britain. They watch Family Guy but I have to explain the jokes they don’t get…at least there is intelligence in that inanity.
So when I get that very odd moment of solace, moment without need, the soundtrack better be good. Elbow accompanies my need to write this today and I’m thankful. As I am to hear the Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker’s new song Anti-Venom, Jet’s She’s a Genius (they don’t all have to be deep!), Imogen Heap’s First Train Home, Arctic Monkey’s Crying Lightning, Pearl Jam’s The Fixer and Radiohead’s tribute Harry Patch (in memory of).
Don’t stop. Don’t settle. Don’t give in. Regrets are an easy drug. Sorrow is an easy landing. The real challenge is joy in the face of this life. The work is worth the experience. And the experience is worth the work.