All about that music

I seem to be in a bit of a contemplative mood today. I think that there are desires of my heart that I’ve neglected for a while. I’m proud of myself for finally making the decision to begin to play video games again. That may sound like a dumb thing to say, but I believe each of us has certain things that at one point or another we get away from for whatever reason. I’ve been having a quiet desire to learn how to play an instrument. The only instrument I know how to play is the trumpet, and I had two years of violin lessons when I was much younger.

Music, to me, is one of the greatest art forms that has ever existed. I think it’s one of God’s greatest gifts to man. I’ll never forget the first time I felt like I was hearing what I would call “real music”. I use that term because I grew up in a very sheltered and religious environment. I’m not saying that it was a bad environment, but most of what my parents listened to was southern gospel and oldies. By oldies, I mean that we had a radio station called oldies 106.9, and if they weren’t listening to gospel, they were listening to that station. Actually, I’m probably not being completely fair because my dad did enjoy listening to Elvis Presley. My brother had quite an obsession with Elvis growing up. We even got to visit Graceland, which I was far too young to appreciate at the time. There were also a few other occasions where something different would be playing.

Specifically I remember being somewhere with my dad and they had a jukebox. I really enjoyed the song ‘Kokomo’ by The Beach Boys. An even greater memory for me was sitting in the car outside of a library, although I’m not entirely sure where we were. I do remember hearing ‘In My Room’ by The Beach Boys and really enjoying the song. Outside of that though, I didn’t have much exposure to various kinds of music. I laugh because one of the first cd’s I remember having was the “Back to the Future” soundtrack. It had ‘The Power of Love’ by Huey Lewis and The News, a song I still enjoy to this day.

I shamefully admit that I listened to the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC back when they started getting popular. Every now and then I’ll listen to one of their songs for nostalgia sake. I really just had no outlet to listen to other stuff that was out there, and of course I still had a certain mindset about different genres due to the environment I was raised in. Occasionally I would hear a song by Metallica, Pearl Jam, or Creed from being around my friend Joey. I remember when he got Metallica S&M on vhs for one of his birthdays. We both watched it, but I can’t remember being very interested in it at the time. I must have been about 12 or 13 when I remember watching those late night MTV things where all they would do was play music videos all night. I vaguely remember the video for Dave Matthews Band’s ‘I did it’. If I’m not mistaken, I remember thinking, what kind of song is this? Then came the single and video for ‘The Space Between’. Yes, I know, one of their more “poppy” songs, but it sounded good to me.

I think I downloaded it on Napster along with maybe one or two other songs, and then I just went all in. I got the dvd “Listener Supported”. I remember some of my favorite songs from the very beginning were “Pantala Naga Pampa>Rapunzel. I wore that dvd out. During this whole period I was really into online forums and message boards. There was a forum called “nancies.org”, the name coming from the song “Dancing Nancies”. There we would post messages and start threads about which songs were the best and discuss the different albums. So I spent a while on those message boards learning about different songs and “The Lillywhite Sessions”. By the time I had finally gone through every DMB song that I could, I started wanting to find out what other bands were out there.

I remember asking people on the boards what they would recommend listening to next. While I got several different recommendations, one of the first ones I decided to listen to was a band called U2. Someone said some good songs were “Bullet the Blue Sky”, “Where the Streets Have No Name”, and a few others. So of course I hopped on winmx or whatever P2P software I was using at that time and promptly downloaded “Bullet the Blue Sky”. I remember thinking, “I’ve never heard anything that sounded like this”. I must have played the song a dozen times over and over again. Of course I proceeded to download Streets and was just as blown away by the sounds I was hearing. That was the first Christmas that I asked for music albums. I got the Joshua Tree and the newly released Live in Boston dvd. Of course, I eventually went through everything that U2 had to offer and was back on the forums looking for more. I’m really thankful to the nancies.org community because that was where I was really exposed to so many different bands.

There was also this guy that worked at Best Buy. He was a friendly dude and I remember every time I would come in there and he would point me to different albums that he thought I would enjoy. Sometimes I wouldn’t dig it, but a lot of times he was right on. Anyway, nancies eventually shut down and I moved over to antsmarching.org. I’ve not really posted over there in a very long time, mainly because I’m not as obsessed about Dave Matthews Band as I was during those years. I’ve since gone on to discover all types of genres of music. Some genres I found myself declaring I would never like, but I’ve found songs in them as well that I enjoy. Dave Matthews Band and U2 will always stay special to me because of those particular times of my life. Both bands have changed a lot and are getting a lot older. I’m not as into their latest stuff, but there are a few songs I’ll put on.

There’s still something magical about seeing or hearing bands and singers when they are completely in their element. I feel like an artist or band can take me to the place where they are, whether that is peaceful and happy, or whether they are completely devastated. It’s almost like traveling to different worlds, each with it’s own landscape and colors. I’ve spent a lot of time recently listening to Coldplay. I realize they are a divisive band and you could easily right off a lot of their music as pop. I don’t enjoy everything that they do, and their sound has changed tremendously from their first three albums, but I just really like Chris Martin. I’ve watched several interviews with him and he seems very down to earth and is also vulnerably honest. When he went to record “Ghost Stories” he and Gwyneth Paltrow had split up and it’s obvious that the album is an expression of his thoughts and emotions during that time. The story behind the song O is very interesting. I don’t know, he just seems very genuine in his interviews and in most of his songs.

Sometimes I wonder what a singer or musician goes through when they write a song pertaining to a particular subject matter that is sensitive for them. Actually, I wonder how they feel when playing that same song years later. Does it stir up any old memories or does it just become another song on the setlist? I know that for myself, there are certain songs that when I listen to them they remind me of a person, place, or particular time in my life. That’s the bittersweet thing I suppose. You’ve got to be careful which songs you let your emotions get attached to because it’s very hard to dissociate them from a song once they’re attached.

Anywho, I realize now that just like a lot of my other entries that this one is very long. At least it stayed on pretty much the same subject matter the whole time. Again if you are a reader, thanks for hanging around. Till next time.

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