After an intense period of insomniac self-reflection last night, I came to the following realization:
I just really, really like music.
With the exception of a lot of ballady R&B, most rap, and the harder end of metal (my tastes in the metal arena generally tend towards the prog end of the spectrum, although a good power ballad or rockin’ arena anthem are not ever something I’ll turn down, and I enjoy hip hop than straight-up rap), plus most of modern country music, I’m pretty okay with listening to most things. As in, I could have music going in the background of my entire life, and it bums me out that I don’t play a musical instrument better than I do. Or sing more proficiently. I think I probably fall into the analog group to art critics, which is to say that I’m the sort of person who consumes music and has deep thoughts about it, but isn’t really a creator in that way. My medium has always been visual, be it dance or les artes plastiques (to be totally pretentious, there’s not really an equivalent genre term in English that encompasses all the visual-type arts in such a nice way as that French term).
I’ve been diving into modern Korean music (both indie and pop) and have come to the realization that I’m picking and choosing artists/songs much the same way as I do all the other music I listen to. I’m not into bro rock, but I do like Dave Matthews Band. I don’t really do country, but I like old-timey Western, especially if there’s a steel or slide guitar in the mix somewhere (actually, that rule applies to all music, because the steel and slide guitar are like strange aural magnets for me; I’m looking at you, Chris Isaac). Electronic sound turns my ear in a way that nothing else does. I like classical music, but not Baroque, opera, or a lot of Chinese, Korean, or Japanese traditional vocals. Oddly, South Asian classical vocal pieces are something I love, probably because much of that classical vocal tradition has been incorporated into modern Bollywood/South Asian pop music and, to some extent, South Asian indie music.
See? Those who can’t make talk about things a lot and try to sound smart. I’m talking about what I like here, and am always open to listening to new things, even if I don’t end up listening to them a second time. I also really don’t like easy listening, much of the pop music of the 1990s (ugh) and the psychedelic/fuzz rock genre, which WH listens to all the time and really digs. We do not listen to music together terribly often, with the exception of Queen. Queen is, in our mutual opinion, the greatest musical group of all time ever. Better than the Beatles. Yeah. I said it. Freddie Mercury est mort. Vivre Freddie Mercury.
Perhaps this is all because when I was growing up, music was a constant in our house. My parents have an old, reliable, and very good stereo system, which my dad later augmented with a few professional disc changers (like the sort they used to use in radio stations before everyone started transitioning to digital). They also had a pretty massive record collection, mostly consisting of classical and 1960s/1970s hippie music. My mom had her own private little collection of Native American protest groups, which I still really enjoy listening to (No Exit, anyone? Good stuff.). So there was a lot of encouragement from my parents to be a consumer of music. We went to the symphony once every couple of months, which then eventually became me going to shows pretty regularly in college. I can’t imagine music not being part of my life.
(No, really. And I may also be the last person to have listened to the Shins’ Port of Morrow? Well, anyway, I just did, and if you are also in the group of folks who likes that sort of music but hasn’t listened, you really ought to. It falls under the slide/steel guitar rule. As you might have guessed.)