Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thoughts On... Musical Tastes...

As I stated in a previous post, music has been, is, and will always be and integral part of my life. Although my tastes in music tend to be a bit strange, according to anyone who listens to my music, or even sees my music collection. It's not any one artist that is weird, but all of them taken as a whole that gets bizarre.

Seriously, check out this list of artists that I like: Gloria Estefan, Will Smith, Huey Lewis & The News, Evanescence, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Godsmack, Mozart, Queen, Tommy Dorsey, The Temptations, The Crystal Method, Boa, Johnny Ventura, Benny Goodman, Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, George Michael, Madonna, Franz Lizt, Elvis Crespo, Soluna, Aerosmith, and the list goes on...

It's a strange mix, right? The question then becomes: why would I have such an eclectic mix of music tastes? Personally, I don't know for sure, but I do have an operating theory. It starts with my relationship with music as I grew up. I went over my music history in the previous post. Suffice it to say, that I've had a slightly erratic & eclectic experience with music and that has colored my perceptions of what is classified as good music. For any given piece of music to be considered good in my estimation it would have to fall into one of the following categories.

Emotionally Touching:
This is where a piece of music resonates with an emotion within me. Usually this happens instantaneously. An example of this is Eminem's album "The Eminem show". I wasn't really into Eminem's music until the time I heard this album. I don't remember why, but I was insanely angry at the time and this album seemed to be able to tap into that rage and allow me to channel it. Every time I hear this album it's a cathartic experience. Afterwards, I really started enjoying Eminem's music.

Exceptional Performance:
This is where a piece of music is performed in such a way that it just commands attention. Don't get me wrong, it's not that the song isn't good, but the material gets enhanced by the performance. The first time I watched the Blues Brothers movie, the scene with Cab Calloway singing "Minnie The Moocher" captivated me from the first trumpet solo all the way through to the last notes.

Desired Performance:
In this category, the music make ME want to join in and play. People will see me "conducting" music, playing air instruments (guitar or drums mostly), or actually singing along to the music. Then they point & laugh. My friends join in and sing with me! :-)

Memory Link:
This category is for a song that is linked to an intense personal memory. A good example of this is Charlie Dore's "Pilot Of The Airwaves". When I was little, my mother made a recording of me singing the song. I couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 years old. While I can barely remember actually singing it, I do remember hearing my voice over my stereo when I found the tape at age 14 or 15 and played it. It was... a strange experience. I've never forgotten what that felt like, and I've had a soft spot for that song ever since.

Interesting Music:
To be in this category, the only part of the piece that I'd find interesting would be the music, not the lyrics or the performance. For example, Lil Jon's "Snap Yo Fingers". Despite all the artists in that tune, the only worthwhile part of it is the beat.

Interesting Lyrics:
The opposite of the above category. To be here, the only worthwhile part of the song has to be the lyrics. For example, "Stutter" by Joe feat Mystikal. The lyrics were actually pretty good, but I was unimpressed by the music.

The last category for me is entertaining. Here the song is just fun to listen to. No real lasting merit of any kind, just a fun tune to pass the time listening to. An example of this would be "We Like To Party" by the VengaBoys.

On any given CD, mix, or play list, my musical choices jump from category to category like a Kangaroo on the Australian outback. But it does get a bit lonely when the bulk of the people around me tend to not appreciate my music. But, I have songs to listen to for that. :-)

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