Every morning I faithfully take part in rush hour traffic & queue up for my day in Corporate America. After I come home from work, I’m too tired to do anything that requires my brain working. This includes stuff I’m really passionate about, like writing in this ol’ thing. But every day as I get to enjoy Atlanta’s nice pothole-covered road and the even nicer drivers driving on those roads, I also get to listen to and muse about music. Lately I’ve been feelin’ bummed about how I used to be so passionate about writing and music. Those feelings got me thinking about how it all started. So, here’s a short history of the various epochs in my personal musical development:
1. 2002-2004: listening to Weezer on the bus in middle school- Before I really fell in love with music and before I met The Strokes, I met Weezer and I liked them. It wasn’t love, not yet. Listening to “In the Garage” made me feel so empowered. As empowered as an awkward 8th grader can feel on a yellow school bus. I was so awkward; I had braces and I wore like these bright blue suede Sketchers (wtf mom and dad). At least I had been introduced to eyeliner. Listening to Weezer made me feel like it was cool to be misunderstood, cool to be weird and unknown. I liked Green better than Blue, but it was during middle school I made the slow transition, accompanied by the even slower transition through puberty. I was a late bloomer. But I bloomed, eventually. Somewhere on that bus route, riding in the back of an elongated yellow vehicle, I understood that Blue album went beyond the surface of feelings that Green album glossed over. Blue album possessed those qualities of awkward sincerity and honesty found in the hearts of misfits everywhere. As you can see, Weezer has extreme sentimental value for me. Now you understand why I shed tears when I first heard “Beverly Hills.”
2. Exact Time Unknown, Somewhere around 2003: FALLING IN LOVE WITH THE STROKES- You guys knew this was coming. I can’t really pinpoint when I fell in love with this fab quintet, but I can tell you it was like a love I will never, ever have again. I spent endless, countless hours crawling on their message board. I google imaged them a million times, not per day, but per minute. How is that possible? I don’t even know. I bought converse. I was too scared to start smoking, but it did cross my mind (I was like 13 okay?). I memorized every single lyric and etched them on the front of my chemistry notebook. To fully describe the extent of my love for them is simply put, impossible. I listened to Is This It over, and over, and over again, marveling at how music could sound so… perfect. To this day, whenever I put them on again, I feel the same way. It was “Someday” that really got me. It really got me. The era of The Strokes is probably (as you might have guessed) the most important pocket of time in my life. Though The Stokes reigned, Franz Ferdinand, Interpol (my first concert!), Bloc Party, and Arcade Fire were all part of the royal court.
3. Exact Time Unknown; Discovering a realm outside of Indie Alternative AKA The Discovery and Rule of Girl Talk- I was introduced to Girl Talk by my brother. It was his ringtone, which he had changed to the Trina and Fleetwood Mac sample, featured in “Let Me See You” at 1:30. Brilliance. Pure brilliance, pure magic, pure musical genius. I didn’t believe that music outside of The Strokes & company, could actually be good/enjoyable/intelligible. I remember ranking Gregg Gillis right next to Shostakovich and Mendelssohn on my mental scale of musical geniuses. Each song was so wondrously crafted and each song changed me forever. Literally; I can never sing “Jessie’s Girl” without bellowing the obscene after thought in “Here’s The Thing.” From here on out, my musical aperture widened and I became more open to trying new things.
4. Exact Time Unknown; Realizing that “I Want You Back” by Jackson 5 was the best song on earth- If you think about it, “I Want You Back” encompasses all the elements a perfect pop song should have. Fun, but not purposeless. But my courtship with this song was a long one. I put it on a mix CD (which I still have in my car right now) on a whim, and it ended up being my favorite song on the CD. Now it’s my most favorite song period. It’s laid back without being lazy- what I mean by that is that it still carries meaning, a hint of regret. You can dance to it, you can sing to it, and if you’ve had enough wine, you can also cry to it. I remember one day I found the aforementioned mix CD and I popped it in. As soon as Jackson reached those pre-puberty high notes I realized that “I Want You Back” should be the scholarly definition of a classic hit song; almost none match it in musical perfection but all should study it in hopes of attaining a piece of its perfection.
5. 2009-2013; Cultivating a deep appreciation for soft, quiet, and sad music- This makes sense right? 2009 was when I started college and let me tell you freshman year was ROUGH. Actually all of college was really rough but freshman year I had only made 1 friend (but my GPA that year was friggin awesome). Plus, I gained like 25 pounds……………….. So yeah I started to see the beauty of music that could soundtrack your tears. During sophomore year I had this phase where I did stuff and acted in a manner that got people talking mean things ‘bout me and that was really difficult to handle. I got it together by junior year, but junior year was (academic) torture. I think I cried after class every day and group meetings/projects made me lose any modicum of hope I had in humanity. Senior year was a lot better in academic terms, but worsened in heart terms. Thus, college was the era of Lykke Li, Bon Iver, The xx, James Blake, The National, Feist.
So… if you made it to the end of this long-winded post you’re probs wondering, what about now? Well, I’m wondering the same thing. Like I said, I’m boring now. I don’t creep message boards, I don’t absorb every word of Pitchfork and Stereogum, and I don’t go out searching for music. Is it about age? Life stage? Who you hang out with? Maybe a combination of those things. But, hopefully this isn’t a definitive era. I think this is just a lull. I’m tryin’ to rekindle that spark, y’know?