09 May 2011

musical footpaths...

At the beginning of each summer, I'm subconsciously urged to limit the music I listen to two decades. I'll give you a hint: I wasn't alive during either of them. I think this stems from my youth. When school was out, I would have as much time as I wanted to tear through my dad's CD collection (which, much to my dismay, replaced his vast vinyl collection as soon as CD's were reported to be a lasting format). Before my discovery of new pop music (Janet, Paula, Mariah and the like), all I knew about were these albums of yesteryear. I listened to the White Album and Sgt. Peppers over and over again. I really had a thing for Genesis. My friends and I made up dances to Beach Boys classics, like Barbara Ann and Help Me Rhonda. On my own, I listened to songs like Sloop John B, which made me feel uneasy, but in a really great way. Like I didn't like the way the grandson felt, but on some level I understood it and it spoke to me. This is how my musical self-discovery went. I'd skip over songs that weren't obvious to listen to the ones that were. Eventually, I stopped skipping. I confronted the songs inspired by heartbreak, ennui, and evil. While my babysitters were supervising my little sister's coloring outside the lines, I was learning to listen outside the lines. I'd listen to a random song from a random album and never be able to find it again. My dad had hundreds of CD's. This was my first understanding of "needle in a haystack". Years later, I'd recognize melodies and harmonies that resided deep in my memory, associating itself with another song with which I was familiar. This is how I rediscovered bands in my late teens and early twenties. Groups like The Sonics, The Move, The Zombies, and T Rex.  My musical education has been very organic. I don't try too hard to discover new music. I feel like my life will lead me to artists I'm supposed to discover (and re-discover) when I'm ready to really love and get them.

So now it's May. Windows and doors are being left open for longer periods of time. I'm back at home, where nostalgia completely overwhelms me on a daily basis, with loads of time to explore my musical past. I feel myself gravitating towards the sounds and voices that have nestled themselves deep within my psyche's soil. Like fossils waiting to be discovered and connect the dots. Due to the fact that almost every single person I know is involved in some musical project or another, I tend to ease back into the present as the summer wanes on. But for now, I will revel in my musical archaeological dig and let my psyche make the playlists.

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