I spend a lot of time doing a lot of things. Working. House and home stuff. Blogging. Twittering.
I work at home. I spend all day on my phone and computer. I sit. To the average working joe, I would look a bit of a lazy fuck. Overweight. Sitting in my chair all day. The perception of me could quite easily be taken that way. I can’t say it’s right nor completely wrong. I am sitting on my ass all day.
When I look at music, I am paying particular attention to the motivations and perceptions around my choices. Why do I like one song and hate another. Why does Nickelback piss me off so much? I am a U2 fan without question but I routinely attack the fans for their blind following. Am I really choosing my music or is much of what I like ‘influenced’?
When I was much younger, 15, my one sister got Talking Heads 77 for Christmas. It was the strangest thing I had ever heard. Now was it just that it was strange and interesting that attracted me to it or was part of it that my older sister was listening to ‘cool’ music? I think a bit of both. Of course I could say I had exceptional taste in music at a very young age! And you may laugh as hard as you like at that!
I can examine all the absolutely embarrassing moments in my musical journey. I cannot honestly say if they are all moments of pure insanity or simply moments of mob mentality. Did I really like Saturday Night by The Bay City Rollers? Was I hiding in my room listening to some disco songs? We all have those painful musical moments.
My older brother and older sister introduced me to much of the 60’s and early 70’s music that would influence what I liked and what I was willing to explore. The need to give time to music, repeated plays to really understand the bad from the good to the great was started by my brother who had an amazing reel-to-reel tape system which had me, his 10 years younger brother, enthralled (along with his extensive ‘adult’ magazine and comic book collections!).
Finding Pink Floyd and Genesis in those early 70’s made me willing to examine and allow for the strange and different to invade my consciousness. He also showed me the FM stations of the day that played anything but Top 40. Album sides and deeper tracks. As Punk came up along with New Wave and all brought me on the road I remain on to this day.
A trip to Holland with my parents when I was 12 introduced me to the modern European, and particularly English, music. On my grandmother’s couch, watching Top of the Pops did much to direct my musical tastes. Guerilla radio stations like Radio Veronica, operating on a ship off the Dutch coast also opened my eyes to what was possible.
I then came home and started seeing what college radio stations I could pick up on my transistor radio. Eventually I heard about this radio station operating out of a house in Brampton. CFNY (102.1FM) became the mainstay of music for many, many years. From Punk to New Wave, Electronic to Alternative, the willingness of this station to push the envelope made it a well-known and highly respected music source. Sadly it has become a corporate lackey in recent years.
So these days with the internet and availability of so much, I have become an indie fanatic. I can barely listen to regular radio. With so much choice and so much availability, I will never understand the stagnation of so many people in each generation.
And even now, I ask myself why, when I hear a song, do I like that? Is it JUST the music? Is it where I found it? is it the person who recommended it? Is the site telling me to respect it more? Is the internet station I listen to influencing my choices? Is a YouTube video more or less likely to pull me in or push me away? If someone I respect like Alan Cross (www.alancross.ca) says ‘I Like This’, will I, automatically like it?
The answer to all those questions is YES and NO! All these things influence me. All these things provide opportunity. I may give a song a few extra listens because of where I hear about it. I try not to blast through a song for five seconds and love it or hate it. I like to evaluate what I listen to. At the end of the day our history defines the road to how we got here. And everything in our lives influences us. Sometimes it is subtle shifts in our perceptions. Sometimes it is an earthquake. The final word goes to each of us.
Unless we are sheep who only follow the crowd mentality, each of us has individual tastes, likes and dislikes, that define us. Music is a very personal experience. For many of us, its priority is something akin to religion. Like faith for some, music becomes one definition of meaning in our lives. Songs help us deal with everything from joys to sorrows, love, death, pain, fear. Sometimes it is the escape that removes stress. Sometimes it is accompaniment to our anger and lets us express it. Sometimes it is soundtrack to our passion.
Every place on earth has their own styles and meanings. The influences are as varied as the music. And as our connections grow and distances disappear, we will all have an impact on each other. Aside from the most basic necessities, the one common element across everything is music. Reach out and let your senses grow.
I heard this in Holland 4 years before it was played on North American radio…
Oh Talking Heads…
OMD – omg!
Alice in Chains
Best title ever Ariel vs Lotus