Sunday, May 30, 2010

Evolution of Musical Taste

Alright, I haven't being working on my blog on a regular basis for two reasons: 1) I'm incredibly lazy, 2)whenever I start a post I get writer's block and don't know how to continue. So far I've started four different posts all unfinished. They involve my time with Wartville Wizard, my favorite Elvis Costello songs, how I feel often out of place in terms of my age and who I hang out with, and how giving a friend a sword made him so happy he looked like a kid at Christmas. But at some point with all those posts I hit a block and I can never seem to get past it. It just stops and I can never find a way to finish. So I've decided to combine these posts in some ways and take a look back on the evolution of my musical taste.

To my earliest days, my musical taste relied heavily on what my parents and my sister had. From my parent's taste, the first three CDs I listened to were Into the Woods British original cast, The Producers original Broadway cast, and Alan Parson's Project Tales of Mystery and Imagination. With the addition of my sister's collection of Weird Al Yankovic and Japanese pop music, one can say that I was on the outer most fringe in late elementary school, early junior high.

Going into junior high, I had very little understanding of modern music culture. Instead of a regular music CD, on the bus to school I listened to Bob and Tom in the Morning. This got me a lot of odd looks considering the fact that I was laughing out loud on a bus at 7 in the morning. Yeah, junior high was not a good time for me whatsoever. This is also where my musical tastes began to evolve with two notable artists. My sister had recently got a copy of the three disc edition of Queen's Greatest Hits. My love for the theatrical connected well with the bombastic operatic style of Queen. Many people who went to Andros with me may remember my air guitaring to "Killer Queen" while standing on the deck of the boat in the middle of the ocean...or not. Like most white junior high kids, I jumped on the Green Day bandwagon and rocked out to American Idiot. I generally liked the music even when it does overreach in its "political message." I think what did the most to stretch my musical taste was the introduction of Guitar Hero into my video game collection. From there I was introduced to Bowie, ZZ Top, Franz Ferdinand, Sum 41, and made me add so many songs to my PSP. I had a PSP at the time instead of my current Ipod.

I think my second great expansion came with the 2008 election. Up until then, most of my musical taste was with musicals: Avenue Q, Assassins, and Wicked. Where the 2008 election comes into play was that I was a HUGE political junkie. I watched all the shows I could about the election including live streams of Obama rallies. This is where I heard two songs: Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising" and U2's "City of Blinding Lights." From here I pulled copies of Springsteen's The Rising, Magic, and Working on a Dream. The first two I highly recommend, the third...not so much. Around this time I also traded in my broken PSP for an 8G Ipod Nano. Thanks to my friend Greg, who I worked with in Over the Tavern, I also picked up Born to Run and The Innocent, the Wild, and the E-Street Shuffle.

Springsteen was another jumping off point. All while I was increasing my Springsteen collection, I watched A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!, which included along with originally written pieces included the song "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love, and Understanding." At the time, I thought this was written for the special, until I looked it up and found that it was written by Nick Lowe and then covered by Elvis Costello. I run across Costello again when I found No Retreat, No Surrender on Jams Bio where I found best sophomore album efforts where I found Elvis Costello's This Year's Model. This is when I ordered This Year's Model from my library along with Costello's other albums in his original trilogy of My Aim is True, This Year's Model, and Armed Forces. From here I pretty much got all the albums from his discography and he has become one of my favorite artists.

From Costello, I discovered Pandora and from there my musical tastes expanded even further. I found R.E.M., The Clash, Joe Jackson. So with Pandora, I found a lot of the "new wave/punk" artists of the time, though I still haven't been caught up into Talking Heads. With Costello, through his show Spectacle, which you should definitely look up on Youtube, I also found out about Jenny Lewis, She and Him, and Rilo Kiley. Now where things get interesting is after I have an Itunes account and I see this contest to get $100,000 on Itunes if I'm like the 100 millionth person to buy a song. So I decide to look at their best selling songs on Itunes and I buy, are you ready for this?...Lady Gaga's "Poker Face." I really enjoy "Poker Face," don't ask me why, I just do. From there, I got her debut album, The Fame, from the library, and I like it, again don't ask me why, I just do.

So, this is how my taste in music has evolved over six years, from musicals and Alan Parson's Project to Elvis Costello and Lady Gaga. So where does this leave me? Am I finally entering the modern music age with Gaga or am I stuck in the past with Costello, Dylan, Springsteen? I think I'm just developing an appreciation for a broad spectrum of music, but that's just me stroking my ego. Right now at the library I'm waiting for my albums of She and Him, Blondie, and Cobra Starship to come in, I think that says a lot by itself. Right now, my Ipod has about a gig left of space All I know is that if I begin listening to Ke$ha, please kill me.

My top ten favorite albums currently
1. This Year's Model -Elvis Costello
2. Look Sharp! - Joe Jackson
3. The Innocent, the Wild, and the E-Street Shuffle - Bruce Springsteen
4. Under the Blacklight - Rilo Kiley
5. Highway 61 Revisted - Bob Dylan
6. King of America - Elvis Costello
7. Rabbit Fur Coat - Jenny Lewis
8. Platinum Collection - Queen
9. Assassins - 2004 Broadway Revival
10. The Fame - Lady Gaga