Thursday, January 21, 2010

Really Hearing the Music

I am not sure how you feel about music.....

To be truthful, I am not entirely sure how I feel about music. I used to live, breathe and eat music. It easily matched and flowed with my moods. Music told me a lot about things around me and I couldn't go anywhere without a carefully planned soundtrack. I heard Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, Dr. Dre and Digital Underground and could get my head wrapped around a school day. I listened to the Eagles religiously, especially in my friend Kevin's Car. Tom Petty's Wildflowers album still floods me with memories of a tumultuous and very exciting year. The Doors and Jimi Hendrix remind me of my bedroom in my first house and the huge sound system I had set up; I remember kissing a girl as the music drowned out the party upstairs. Music was essential to get through my day and the fact that I couldn't listen to them at school or work kind of offended me. My cohort in crime and I have a lot of memories related to concerts, blaring car music and my home sound system. When we get started talking about music you get a lot of random life stories tangled amidst the songs, albums and musicians we love.

And yet....

I find that music is not the same for me anymore. I like an ever widening variety of music but it does not connect as well as it used to. I don't come home and have to put on an album. I don't feel the need to dance and sing along. I hardly ever catch myself playing the air guitar....

People always talk about phases in life. I remember being told that a lot of my extreme interest in music would fade as I got older. I remember laughing at all the old people who listened to talk radio. Now I find myself having one play list of podcasts on my iPod (some from talk radio stations I used to fake snore to). Actually I have 2 small shuffle iPods, one is usually talk and the other music. Long gone are the hours and hours of simply listening to music and writing.

Giving up music was not a conscious decision. Some of my apathy came from having so many albums to choose from. I do not hear an entire album from start to finish like I used to. I stopped listening to 20 minute long songs from the 60's because they were so darn long.

The other side of having such a large collection is that I seem to always be looking for something new that will fit my mood. Of course part of it might be because my emotions are not as intense and wild as they were when I was a teenager or in my early 20's. I still think rock from the late 60's and early 70's fits well into those crazy youthful years but rocking out to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida seems a little silly these days.

I am not saying I have given up on music all together. I still listen to music everyday; just not usually as my sole activity and not nearly as carefully selected. I no longer spend hours crafting a play list or creating a new mix tape (or mix cd as I have made both). I just pick a few artists, load them up and listen to whatever plays.

My interest in music is still high; I am more than willing to give a listen to anything anyone might recommend to me. Whether they are aged 98 or just turned 2 (deinitely not any younger or older then that). I am an open book and seem to have been on a search for new music and new artists to try out. In the last couple years a few new (to me) favorites have included Ben Harper, A Fine Frenzy, Raconteurs, Holly Brook, Flight of the Conchords (always makes me chuckle), Common, and many others. I still listen to and purchase music but I do not connect as much as I used to.

Of course that was until I watched It Might Get Loud.

It Might Get Loud changed everything for me....

It Might Get Loud is a documentary about 3 musicians getting together telling their stories and playing some music. The musicians included Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame, The Edge of U2 fame and Jack White from the White Stripes (and the Raconteurs). I am a fan of all 3 men and their various music endeavors. They make great music that I consider very essential to my collection. In fact, as I type away I am listening to War by U2 and plan to switch over to one of the other bands afterward.

This documentary is fabulous and is a must see for music fans of any stripe. It helped remind me of the passion behind the songs and to pay attention to the feeling of the music and the words; to vibe with the music and to stop treating it like a background highlight. My connection to music had become tenuous because I forgot to really listen to the music and allow it to transport me.

I plan to pay more attention when I listen to music from here on out. I will make sure to listen to more whole albums again; especially when it is a new artist or a new album by an old favorite artist. Another step I will take is to look more into these bands histories. I used to know a lot about the musicians I called my favorites and it enriched the auditory experience for me. Finally I plan to get more live music DVD's, see more concerts and spend more time listening.

Ps.... I also plan to get my own copy of It Might Get Loud.


Mom said...

Hey Michael, I just put Holly Brook on my I-Pod and the party list. I listened and thoroughly enjoyed.Thanks you Mom

na'ilerej said...

I remember hanging out in your room one day, and we started going through your Dad's old records, playing one after the other. Hendrix, The Doors, Led Zeppelin. I don't think I have lost that passion for music, just the time to listen. luckily I have a job where I can listen to my mp3 player (aka my phone) but other than that it is a rare occurrence that I get to listen to music for hours on end like we use to. I still pick up my guitar sometimes but that is just as rare. I think unless your in the music business, the music takes a back seat.