soul to all. There's nothing going on here at work. Nada. So I'm gonna tell a little story bout myself and I hope to get some responses of similar fashion. Sometime, whenever, just write about your experience in reference to:
Music. Bryan's post got me thinking about music and how people come upon their musical identity. Why do some people listen to purely country music and think that hip hop can't even be considered music? What influences a person to start listening to their type of music. How do people know what "everything" is when they say they listen to "everything"?
Here's my back ground. I grew up with my mom playing piano for me and my two brothers. That was great entertainment. We'd dance around while she would play Gershwin, Bach, Chopin, and many others that I can't remember now. That tied in well with Bugs Bunny cartoons since the background music was usually played by orchestras and sounded like classical music. Then when I got old enough, 2nd grade, I started taking piano lessons. About the same time, my big brother, who's older than me by 3 years, started listening to pop music. This is me bearing my soul just so everyone know's where I'm coming from. My early favorite songs were all the hits from the early 80s: from Pink Cadillac, by Natalie Cole, to Duran Duran. 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade were all pop hits for me, courtesy of me blindly following my older brother. My first tape was Michael Jackson's Bad. So yes, it was that bad.
In 5th grade, my friends changed a little. I started hanging out with kids who had long hair. I, myself started to grow a flop since that is what skaters did, and I was now officially a skateboarder.
I started listening to early Metallica, Megadeath, and found my new TV love: Headbangers Ball. Every Saturday night I was up till all hours of the night just reveling in the massive sounding aggressive music. At first I hated the glam-rock, but after seeing how many women loved their music, which at that time of life started to become really important, I changed my mind. So that was 5th through 7th grade. My tastes in rock did eventually morph to a more funky sound. Primus, Suicidal Tendencies, and other bass guitar heavy rock started to mold my listening preferences. I started playing bass in orchestra in 6th grade along with my piano lessons, so I wanted to hear music that had lots of bass in it. Anthrax had some great bass lines and had some decent messages in their music. It wasn't dark like the death metal, but it wasn't glitz and glam of the hair bands. They eventually did "Bring the Noise" with Public Enemy. That was pretty much it afterwards.
In Jr. High, my school was pretty ghetto. So since most of the girls liked hip hop and RnB, guess what I started liking? Yes ganster rap was in full effect at that time and being that I came from the extreme of rock with speed metal, I had to go to the extreme with rap. It's fun to, every now and then, break out the old Spice 1, Comptons Most Wanted, or South Central Cartel cds. Yes, they were all real rappers. I grew tired of the severely modified songs they put out on the radio though. I guess playing just beeps every other word isn't great music, huh? Eventually my tastes grew up a little and I wanted to find hip hop that was fun, not gangster. That was a challenge, but when I found great artists, I bought everything I could from them. A Tribe Called Quest is probably my favorite group ever. Most people will never know of College Boys, Masta Ace, Rahzel, or any of the other positive hip hop acts that were once out there. Luckily, people like Common (who, when I first heard him in '94, was Common Sense), Wyclef Jean, Digital Underground, Outkast, and a few others could break into the limelight and show that hip hop doesn't all have to be about guns and money.
So hip hop and RnB was my music of choice until college. I went to school in Kearney, NE and was deftly afraid that my roommate was going to be some Country loving, rap hating hick. My first conversation with my freshman year roommate was funny because this very topic came up. He was just like me!! He hated country and loved rap. Granted it was only West coast stuff for him. Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and others like that. So we shared our versions of good hip hop and grew from it. He learned about Wu-Tang Clan from me, and I learned that Ice-Cube became somewhat of a militant version of Public Enemy. It was great.
Also at that time I decided I was going to major in music. This meant I could link all those years of playing classical music on the piano and bass in orchestra to the theory behind music. This made pop and rock music really boring to me. I began to recognize when rock musicians really knew music or if they were just playing power chords and getting rich off of catchy choruses. I started really getting into "modern" classical music. Stuff from the Romantic era to this century (1815 - 2000) . Later Beethoven had some great angsty sounds, Prokofiev and Shostakovich had been through the world wars so their music was heavily influenced by pain. The sound of classical became more and more strident until things became experimental. Listen: Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima by Krzysztof Penderecki Some of the really modern stuff is just random like Cage's 4'33" which is a guy sitting at a piano for 4 minutes and 33 seconds. The idea is that the "music" is all the ambient noise of the theater and that there is really no true silence until death. In other classes I learned about world music and found that there's a lot of different sounds out there to experience. So when people say, "Oh I listen to everything," I feel like asking, "So what is your favorite Gamelan orchestra?"
Nowadays, good music is hard to find for me. And it's not because my favorite band grew up and got old, it's because I'm looking for something totally new to me. Not another rock band that sounds something like blank, mixed with a little blank. Just something completely different. Good hip hop to me has to use different sounds and beats to catch my interest. Missy Elliot with Timbaland is a good example of this. Every couple years, Timbaland reinvents his sound and others play catch up. Pharrell with Star Trak music had a whole new soundscape that many pop artists paid him to create for them. Most of the new stuff is just bland. I understand how people like new rap, which all sounds the same to me, because I went through that when I was first discovering hip hop.
On the rock side of things, Coheed and Cambria was the last band that I really got excited about and they're kind of underground. They have real musical talent and I had never heard of a story going throughout entire albums, sometimes called Progressive Rock. I understand now that Pink Floyd did this and so did a few others. I've tried and tried to get into most classic rock and I just can't do it. That includes heavier rock, hippie rock, folksy stuff, etc. The lead singers voice has a big part in this. If I don't like the singers voice, I'm never going to get into their music. Most of the major players of classic rock just don't work for me. The Beatles, The Who, AC/DC, Bob Dylan (so yes Bryan, when you did play Dylan, I was offended...(just kidding)), Led Zeppelin, etc. are all ingrained in the musical fabric of rock, but it's just not something I like to hear. I say this about country, mariachi music, and many other kinds of music: I respect the musicians and what they can do, it just doesn't sound good to me. I'm sure this is the same way most people feel about hip hop and pop music. Except about the being musically talented part.
Most new stuff I find interesting is usually electronic. Postal Service, Dntel, Royksopp, Sigur Roos, Eberhard Weber, Gary Burton, and all kinds of weird ambient music is just "new" music to my ears. I like variation. Something could have a wailing guitar, violins in the background, and a crazy phat bass beat and I'd be a happy camper. Especially if I liked the lead singers voice and the lyrics made sense or told a story. Or even if there wasn't a singer, music can be just as good. A classical bassist named Edgar Meyer created his own sound. He was influenced by jazz and bluegrass so he wrote his own music that is just different. I love stuff like that.
So now you know what I listen to. I have 400 cds of classical, rock, techno, pop, hip hop, RnB, world, showtunes, videogame music, anime soundtrack music, movie soundtrack music, etc. If I had all kinds of money, I'd need many terabytes of hard-drive space to download music from the internets. That's what was so great about the hayday of Napster. You could easily find new music for free. Not just sample it, but have it. It was always fun to look at peoples playlists when you found a song you wanted to download from them. Needless to say, I usually found a few people like me who had similar random tastes in music like I do.
So....that's all I gotta say bout that. Let me know either a short or long version of your musical history on a reply here, or on your own blog. Expose yourself. It feels good.