Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sound bite

If you were to pick up a persons iPod you could probably get a good idea of what type of person they are simply by looking at the songs that they are listening to. I mean we assume certain things about a person who has playlists that are mostly country music vs someone who is listening to German death metal. You would not expect a person who has mostly opera and classical music to be much like someone who is listening primarily to hip hop or rap. These assumptions could very well be wrong, but they are assumptions we make none the less. People are by nature judgmental.

The summer between my 6th and 7th grade my mother remarried and relocated us to Austin with our new family. My older brother was cool. Actually I think he fell outside the realm of cool and lived in that strange land where he fit in with every group and no one really judged him for that. Still he was going to be the new guy in school and he was not about to be judged on his little sister.

We were close enough in age, only a year apart in school, that he knew well that having a sister in certain social groups could be troublesome to him. I can remember him sitting me down in his room and looking at me quite seriously and saying "I will not have a sister who is a kicker.*". Considering I listened primarily to country music it was a valid concern I suppose.

He started me off on Aerosmith. This was right about the time that songs like Living on the Edge, Crying, Crazy, and Amazing were becoming incredibly popular. He had me listening to their classic stuff along with their newer stuff. He felt it was a good beginning to my education. He also was feeding me a lot of Blind Mellon (first music video I ever saw was No Rain), Nirvana, Soul Asylum, and pretty much anything that was coming out of Seattle at the time.

He was determined to make me like what he thought of as acceptable music. In this he was successful. I liked all the music he was giving me, but it didn't change the fact that I loved country music still. He was simply expanding my musical world.

My best friend in high school was the person who turned me onto the Beatles, the Doors, Janice Joplin, and continued to foster my love for the music that was more popular like Green Day, Everclear and Marilyn Manson. In college I would start being introduced to bands like Cake, Dave Matthews Band and Ben Folds Five. Faire brought on a love of folk music, bagpipes, and drinking songs.

I just never stopped exploring music after that summer day so many years ago. My brother might have been trying to preemptively save his social life, but he did so much more for me than I think he knows. He saved me from blindly being loyal to one music and miss out on so much amazing art.

So if you were to pick up my iPod today and hit shuffle you would find that the only word to describe me would probably be eclectic. Right now just hitting shuffle I get George Straight, Cherry Poppping Daddies, Everclear, Jewel, The Corsairs, Kenny Loggins, Queen, The Four Seasons, Kate Nash, Violent Femmes, Dean Martin, Justin Timberlake, Puccini, Mumford and Sons, Beatles, Seal, Eminem, The Clash, Cake, the original cast of Rent, Pantera, Willie Nelson, Alan Jackson, Jimmy Buffet, Steve Miller Band, Squirrel Nut Zipper, Prince, White Snake, En Vogue, Fall Out Boy, Imagine Dragons, Queen Annes Lace, Michael Buble, Chris Ledoux, Dixie Chicks, The Four Tops, Madonna, Billie Holiday, Elton John, Weezer, Lord of the Rings soundtrack, Norah Jones, the Knack, Katy Perry, Anna Kendrick, and the list goes on and on.

If you can make a generalization about me off of that list I would be surprised. What can I say, I like music. I may not love or even like everything I hear, but I am willing to give anything a chance. You never know where you will find a new love.

*Kicker, if you are unfamiliar with the term, would be used to describe someone who listens to country music and tends toward that general stereotype; tight jeans, boots, cowboy hats, pickup trucks, and rodeos. It is a thing.

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