There are people whose lives almost seem to revolve around music. It’s the backdrop of their lives. They know the songs they loved in sixth grade, they remember what was playing when the most important moments of their lives occurred. I think it’s beautiful to have music as your anchor points in your memory – maybe because that’s not the way my mind works.
Don’t get me wrong – I listened to music growing up. But I listened to the music that my parents enjoyed. There were no fights over the radio station in the car. If Mom was driving, it was Oldies and I was cool with that. I can probably still belt out a fairly decent rendition of Rockin’ Robin for ya. If Dad was driving, it was Classic Rock type stuff – ZZ Top, Huey Lewis & the News, etc, and I was cool with that, too. When I heard La Grange come on when I finally got to that level on Guitar Hero III, I loved it. It just never really went farther than that. In high school, people were into Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and the like, and I was perfectly OK with that. It just never touched me the way it touched others, and I’ll tell you why. Music wasn’t my backdrop – nothing rested upon it. It was just background noise to me. Any appreciation I had for it was mostly as context for something else… jazz and swing music for a certain period… Jimmi Hendrix and his appeal to Hippies…
…and it’s a damn shame. I never even realized that I was missing so much until I had the good fortune to start seeing my current boyfriend. Within his genres of interest, he’s got a deep knowledge of music that I have no hope of ever matching. I’ve had something of a retro-active musical education – I’ve learned to really appreciate the music that my peers loved when it came out as well as the music of current and emerging artists. It took a couple years, but I think I’ve finally built a reasonably decent base of knowledge. The thing is, I frankly depend on my boyfriend for music. If he doesn’t have it or know about it, there’s no way in hell I’ve heard about it (note: the mere fact that he’s got a band in his collection is FAR from a guarantee that I know about it, and even farther from a guarantee that I can identify it – my music identification skills are mediocre at the very best). While I do have a much better appreciation for music, I don’t have the interest or the energy to expend on hunting down new stuff. If left to my own devices on that matter, I strongly suspect I’d be back to square one in no time.
I’ve got to say, I’m loving this site – and I’m not even using it to it’s full potential. You can download the Last.fm tool from the site for free, enter in the name of an artist or band you know you like, and it’ll crank out a whole station full of music that is similar. As you listen to the music, you can click a button to either “Love” the track or “Ban” it. You can also tag music (this is one of the features I haven’t really used yet) and make friends with people who like similar stuff. The beauty of the Last.fm is that it lets the musically disadvantaged like me find music they like, but never would have heard of before. It also helps you figure out what sort of stuff you really like.
Recently, I thought I should try to expand my music exposure a bit. I tried Jazz. I had heard of people like Coltrane and Miles Davis but I didn’t know much about their music. I listened to it for a couple of days and eventually found that I’m much more drawn to the Blues. BB King and Stevie Ray Vaughan…that sort of thing. I never would have guessed!
Now, Last.fm has been around for quite a while. If you haven’t already given it a shot, and you’re interested in expanding a bit in your musical interests, I’d highly recommend Last.fm. Heck, even if you have given it a shot, maybe it’s time to try it again! You never know what you’ll find.