In Which I Attempt to Explain Myself... Musically.

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5 mars 2012, 8h12m

I just realized that I've been using last.fm for nearly 6 years without ever truly engaging. I've scrobbled over 200k songs and only have a handful of loves, friends, groups or lasting impression that I've ever been here. I suppose it's time to change that and touch upon who I am as a music listener for anyone who cares to know.

I have loved music for as long as I can rightly recall. From a very early age, I was being inundated with the music of my parents; my mom with her and and my Dad with his incessant radio. I spent so many hours as a kid, working in my Dad's shop listening to The Beach Boys and The Beatles and Chuck Berry and The Temptations that there is scarcely a pop song from the 50's or 60's that I don't have a good working familiarity with. Time spent with Mom helped flesh out the cannon onto the 70's and early 80's, as well as Country with artists like Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, The Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama and Eddie Rabbit, of all things. While none of it became the focus of where I'd go later in life, the music I inherited from my parents laid the foundation of who I am today.

Naturally, as time went on, I began to develop my own identity. The First 3 records I remember consciously purchasing were Led Zeppelin 4, Look What the Cat Dragged In & Back in Black. That would have been in the later half of the 80's when I was barely in my teens. and were my bread and butter. Bands like The Who and The Doors blew my mind. Then, one day in high school English, a friend made me listen to "And Justice For All...". I became a full fledged Metalhead overnight, going so far as to trade in most of my Classic Rock cd collection (a move I deeply regretted for a long time, but at the time it was worth it). My entire wardrobe consisted of Anthrax, Megadeth, Iron Maiden & Sepultura.

Then came the early 90's. In what was to be the first of a lifelong series of reinventing my musical identity every 3 to 5 years; one day I was singing Slayer and Pantera tunes in a high school cover band, and the next I was playing the part of Krist Noveselic (I know I didn't spell that right) in another. I was a junior in high school when broke, so it made perfect sense to embrace that movement while it lasted. Once I got into college, though, things got a bit more muddled. I struggled to find a connection within the pantheon of mid 90's "", made a lot of poor choices and and did some things I'd rather not talk about. I still followed the careers of the grunge guys who helped me come of age and I found myself ultimately gravitating back towards the pantheon of Classic Rock.

By the time the 90's drew to a close, my tastes had already begun to grow more eclectic. I began to look back at the 90's and cherrypick some of the bands I hadn't bothered getting into for no other reason than ignorance and let go of some of my staples for the latter half of the decade. Great, personally unexplored bands like Radiohead, The Flaming Lips and Wilco put out landmark albums at that time that demanded my attention and easily displaced the waning appeal of a Counting Crows or Live. Innovative bands like The White Stripes were blowing up and new doors were opening for me in a way that I hadn't experienced in a long time.

The combination of the that had always stuck with me and sounds I was enjoying at that time served as the slippery slope I rode into the bulk of the early 00's. I fell back in with a group of friends who were of a certain lifestyle and embraced the catalog of stoner rock legends like Ween, Modest Mouse and Beck. 2005 is when I joined Last.fm, and the time of my most prolific scrobbling sessions to date. I had an absurd amount of music in my iTunes library, and I would play that shit non-stop for days, pumping it throughout my house like a personal radio station. This is how I came to have Ween as one of my top artist here with 7500 some odd plays, yet haven't listened to them in years.

Around 2006, I made yet another fundamental shift and began listening almost exclusively to . Top three hands down for a year and a half were Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky and M83 (EDIT: I meant to say Mogwai, although I do enjoy M83 as well). I could not get enough. I rode those bands like the death spiral towards the end of my "lost years". It was the perfect soundtrack to my own personal apocalypse, and I fucking loved it. I feel like a person can only stay in that place for so long, though, and as another decade closed, I found myself once again looking backwards to the various genres of my musical history and rebuilding.

I got heavy into bands like Wilco and the Decemberists and Death Cab for Cutie at that time. I followed that style of heart felt songwriting and storytelling towards the promised land of and dove in with a furious vigor. Unfortunately, I hadn't been scrobbling for most of this transitional period, but I found gems upon gems, pulling me deeper and deeper towards and and eventually . Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird and Iron & Wine led me to The Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show and countless others.

Most recently, I've been plowing deeper into the fresher material of the americana//indie folk arena (Brown Bird, of Monsters & Men, Langhorne Slim) while delving deeper into the specifics of (Flatts & Scruggs, Del McCoury) and hanging on to most of what I've been all along. I even have to admit a keener interest in country music, recently taking a liking to the Zac Brown Band and renewing in interest in Johnny Cash and Hank Williams and the rest of the greats.

See, I've stayed a musician through this long and sordid journey, but only in recent years have I finally swallowed the bitter pill of becoming a the guy in the pub playing covers all night. While it isn't where I expected to be, it has forced me to stay in touch with most of the varied branches of my musical tree. Sure, I don't see myself going back to thrash metal anytime soon and i can't see Post-Rock playing well in the bar, but there's a touch of everything else in every song I play.

The Bottom line is that I can't see myself ever ending this journey of discovery. I lost my taste for going to live shows a while back, so I don't really have to fear becoming an aging hipster out in public, but as I cross the threshold of my mid-thirties I can proudly say that I love the new as much as the old... well, certain slices of it anyways.

EDIT:
Whoa, whoa, whoa... I forgot to work the significance of They Might Be Giants into all that. I got turned onto them early on in high school and They (pun intended) have just always stuck with me... to this day... through everything. I've seen them nearly 20 times for Jeebus sake! I lerarned how to write a song and how to harmonize listening to those guys. They Might Be Giants may be my all time most significant musical influence... and I nearly forgot them. For shame.

There's plenty of others who've worked against the grain of my prevailing tastes throughout this journey, and therefore didn't have a spot to mention above. For example, Bob Dylan could have been mentioned in the Oldies section because songs like "Lay, Lady Lay" and "Quinn The Eskimo" were certainly played there, but I didn't learn to appreciate him until much later on.

I'm sure I'll have a couple more sleepless nights agonizing over artists and milestones I've left out here, but a line needs to be drawn somewhere. Thanks for reading.

Commentaires

  • Fenix_7

    Really liked reading this, made me wish I had a similar experience. Unfortunately, my parents never exposed me to music so my journey into music started really late. I seem to have had "phases" like what you describe too, a couple of years back alt. rock was most of what I listened to with stuff like Muse and The Killers being some of my most listened bands, but now I just listen to a bit of everything I like and rarely stop listening to some band altogether. I find your experience with post-rock amusing, because I got into it in the exact opposite personal situation as you. It was in a rare period of mental clarity and where I "found" myself (as opposed to your "lost years" haha) that I started listening to Explosions in the Sky. From there, the other big names in post-rock followed and before I knew it I was a huge fan. Good luck in your music career.

    16 mars 2012, 3h16m
  • opusinfinity

    I'd have to clarify that, while I did come to Post-Rock during the lost years, it was the wave I rode to clarity. Sigur Ros and the like really helped me find myself again.

    25 mars 2012, 14h58m
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