Saturday, April 28, 2007

Become a Rock Star

Last week I was exiting a restaurant and heading to my car when I heard a girl walking past me. She was singing as she walked. Singing, not in an MDT-major-my-voice-is-so-good-you-have-to-hear-it-can-anyone-play-On-My-Own-for-me-on-the-piano but in a My-iPod-is-playing-a-great-song-and-I-have-to-sing-along-with-it-because-I-Love-Life kind of way.

I liked that.

My friend Melanee used to say, “Never trust anyone who doesn’t become a rock star when they get in a car.” That’s me, I’m a rock star in my car.
Well, I used to be before I got a critic in the corner car seat. El Guille will give me a stern look, “Stop singing, mama!”
That’s usually code for change the station to another song because it can’t be my singing that’s bothering him, oh no.
He has definite opinions.
Don’t know where he gets that from.

At what point do people give up listening to new music?

I have been obsessed with this question for years: why do people just stop at a particular place and time and their music just reflects it? I’m not saying that you can’t still like REM, but I am saying that if the last new album you bought had Shiny Happy People on it AND you’re still calling it an album, then what’s the hold up?

We all know this phenomemnon. It’s your parents that stopped at big band, or doo-wop, your neighbor who stopped at .38 Special, or you who stopped at Under The Table and Dreaming.

I’m not talking about anachronistic kids, the young people that are obsessed with say, The Beatles, or Elvis, that to me means they are just on a music journey and found something to be happy about. I’m talking about the married mother of five for whom The Carpenters is it; nothing in her collection dates past 1983.

Did life just get too busy?
Does she want to remember only that time in her life?
Does she just want to feel like she did then?
Is she afraid to make new memories to new music?

Have you stopped someplace?

Did you stop and now you wish you could find something new?


Lindsey said...

I stopped with the Indigo Girls and Sarah McLachlan back in high school. I did not buy a new CD for YEARS until one day I thought about how I was becoming one of those people you were talking about (OUCH). And I also go an iPod, which I still don't utilize to the fullest. And my friend took me to a Death Cab concert in NYC(!), and I didn't know who they were. (Don't throw rocks at me!) That's when I really realized that if I didn't so something quick, I was doomed. Now I'm on my way. Or at least I hope I am. I just bought the Regina Spektor CD last month and I felt like a new woman.

But, I think it's safe to say that the TMBG we listen to (as a family) will never be out of style.

BowlerGirl said...

There is just no reason anymore not to listen to new music. There is so much out there. The best thing of all? Little commitment. Gone are the days of being forced to buy an entire CD. You just liked one or two tracks? Awesome, go to ITunes or whatever you like and down load it. I'm not totally on top of it all. Hubby is the music aficionado in the family, but I'm glad that there are all the possibilities. And I'm a diva rock star in the car.

sarah k. said...

Oh Phew! I just bought a whole bunch of music cause I got tired of the soundtrack to Footloose.

Don't laugh, but I'm an opera star in the car (totally NOT mdt style). Sometimes with the windows rolled down.

Kiki said...

No. I don't think I will ever be one of those people. I'm constantly buying new stuff. It's my one addiction, the one thing that eats up my money.

Emily said...

There's just no excuse for being musically stuck in a past era, not with b.'s new "Thursday Thong."

La Yen said...

I realized that I was getting my music from Noggin. But it turned out OK! Because Andrew Bird was on Jack's Big Music Show. So I downloaded him. And he is freaking smooth. And that led me to a bunch of faboo new things, and I felt better.

Wodin said...

My Dad stopped his music appreciation with 1975 because that was the year he left on his mission. When he came back, he almost immediately married my mom, and he just didn't get back into music. It cracks me up how he always reverts to classic Santana and The Who whenever he chooses the music. And it's all still on vinyl.
On the upside, I have awesome memories of my dad dancing with me to the Woodstock album in the living room.
Relurking... (a la Shrute)

Azúcar said...

Linds- yes, it's true, you were too young to stop. I'm glad you branched out and a little Spektor is a great way to diversify.

BG- It's true, I feel like we're in a music heyday right now. There are so many new artists and emerging artists. The Internet has just revolutionized the way we can market and consume music.

SK- I respect you even more for having the windows rolled down.

Kiki- I do not fear this awful fate for you.


La Yen- it doesn't matter how we found the new stuff. Who hasn't heard a song on TV that made them want to seek the artist out and listen to their stuff?

Wodin- Welcome! That's exactly what I'm talking about. How do they do it? I'd get so sick of listening to the same thing all the time.

For anyone reading who is saying to themselves, "Fine, but how do I find something new?" May I point out to you two links from my side bar? Villains Always Blink and Pitchfork Media. You don't have to read them thoroughly, but those blogs often have songs by new artists that you can download for free.

And for those of you wondering HOW you download, right-click your mouse on the song link and then "save target-as..."

Emily said...

I think you're talking about me. I used to know new music because my brothers who know everything would buy me many many CDs for Christmas. But CDs are passe, so I only hear about new bands now from my husband who hears about them from friends or from watching Austin City Limits. Oh yeah, and I also really genuinely didn't like the new music that the late 90s put out, so I stopped paying attention. Don't hate me because I stopped. I'm not beneath getting current with the music scene again. It could happen. Ditto the NBA.

Emily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Azúcar said...

Also, my friend Metamorphose writes a great blog over at Anything Fun is Wrong that reviews music and books. Go dig through her archives as she has notoriously great musical taste.

Queen Scarlett said...

I still love driving with the windows down and the music PUMPING. I have no shame.

I am currently liking Regina Spektor brother is my source of new music. And while I can rock out to the wheels on the bus... my daughter loves all MUSIC... anything with a beat... even if it's a basketball bouncing will make her start dancing.

ps. Kalea also will protest my singing to a song she's singing with grunting, and loud protestations in a decibel fit for dogs. There are also times that she does exactly the same thing if I'm not singing with her.

b. said...

How did you know I was listening to REM today? I've always kept on music. There's definitely stuff I appreciate more. I took a little break when my kids were little, it's not really nice when little one sings Closer by Nine Inch Nails. Then when the kids started to form their own opinions about what they want to listen to, I renewed my interest and I actually like a lot of stuff they listen to. I've found many good songs reading you younguns' blogs-thank you.
ps. I'm always humming, whistling, or singing in public, I get funny looks but whatever. I LOVE when I'm driving next to someone who is rockstarring it and playing steering wheel drums-I usually give 'em a beep and a thumbs up!

Julie said...

Spooky. I was just thinking about this very thing today.

Sadly, I am one of those who got stuck in music time. I've tried to listen to some of the new stuff, but I don't often like the lyrics or the "melodies," if you can call some of them that. Maybe someday if I ever get an iPod I'll call on you to convert me to some rockin' new tunes. I'm not averse to branching out as long as I have guidance.

compulsive writer said...

Oh I hope I never do. I know this is so last week, but I just found a new love and a single verse that seems to sum up my raison d'être:

No, this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again

What if I'd never listened?

Emmie said...

I had stopped at Paul Simon, The Indigo Girls, '80s, and Bach until I got married. Luckily, Stu and I share a love of classical music (especially opera), but that's about it. Just recently I decided that all my favorite music has too many memories attached to it for daily listening, and I needed some new music for new memories. Enter Moby, Dead Can Dance, Loreena McKennitt, Regina Spektor, and a little Alison Krause. (Did you know my middle name is Eclectic?)

sara said...

I love this topic and have spent very much time thinking about it; I managed a used CD store for a few years until I was 7 months preg with my firstborn & consequently felt like I was pretty on top of things, music-wise. Despite my bambino's arrival and 3 more to follow, at first I was determined to keep up with the music scene. For several years my very cool little brother, when in his late teens & early 20's, would still call me to ask about a song he heard on the radio or who was coming in concert, and that made me feel so cool & important! My decent into oblivion was gradual, and as it stands now, I feel like I'm vaguely aware of what the cool kids are listening to these days... but as for my collection, I keep up with bands who started in the mid-late 90's and are still making music (my hubs & I went to see Air tonight!) but it is rare that we add a brand-new artist to the collection. Coincidentally I posted a similar theme today on my blog. Yes I'm a rock star in the car. :) Emmie - is Dead Can Dance still making music? Amazing!

metamorphose said...

Ah thanks for the shout out for Anything Fun Is Wrong. I need to post some new stuff up there stat!

I have to say, the one thing that makes me cringe at the thought of having kids, is the likely disintegration of my rock star abilities in my car. My poor sister -her boys HATE it when she sings along in the car, and they forbid her from doing so.

Recently I found an old high school friend on myspace. She had listed the music she liked and my jaw dropped in utter horror and disgust because it was the. exact. same. crap. she. used. to. listen. to. And I used to think she was so cool. (That's what you get when you stop being my friend -your taste in music declines rapidly. And I'm so not even kidding.)

The worst thing of all -to all of you who are "stuck" and fine with being dates you. It really really does. And if you don't care about having your age exactly pinpointed by how you believe it doesn't get any better than the Counting Crows, let me tell you this: there is so so MUCH good stuff out there, it hurts me sometimes.

At the same time, I must admit, I've become something of a music snob, and I get all pouty and put out when someone (*coughReginaSpektorcough*) gets huge all of a sudden, and suddenly everyone's listening to her...bleh...and I'm so happy I went and saw her last year right on the brink before she got super super huge, because if she starts playing huge arenas and starts charging more than $15 a ticket, I will be oh so sad.

~j. said...

Meta - fear not. Train up a child in the way they should go. Back when I used to listen to a radio station in Salt Lake that now Shall Not Be Named, there was a lunch-hour feature where you call the dj, and if you want her to play your song, you had to sing it. I called and had my (then) three-year-old sing "Please, please, please don't pass me by...". Yee-haw. Her first radio appearance.

I was just thinking last night how grateful I am to have my iPod be a shuffle rather than a nano, so I don't have to choose what I'm listening to. The music just comes on and I enjoy (though I'm going to have to erase the Coldplay for now, because I'm not into it today).

Also, while I was in NY last week, I was visiting with a friend from there who currently lives in LA (we both happened to be visiting the same weekend, Praise Be). A truck drove by, and we heard something from what has been dubbed The Jamestown Soundtrack. (I think it may have been "Heard It In A Love Song".) The stale songs match the stuck-in-high-school mentality. Don't get me wrong, I have my own personal "classic" favorites (which you'll read about when I write the answers to the questions you gave me). But they're not for All The Time (like this truck's driver, who drove by us three times in a two-hour time frame, same song blasting).

(I still call it an album.)

metamorphose said...

Good to know, ~J.

I still say album too, sometimes. Or record.

I also buy vinyl. But it's a collection kind of thing. Most of the albums I buy on vinyl, I already have the actual CD of.

b. said...

Last night after work I stopped at Macey's and John Canaan was there promoting something (since when do they have promo's at a grocery store?)Anyway, I walked right up to him and said, "What if I loved you, isn't that okay?" He looked at me and smiled. That song, What if I loved you, totally dates me and probably pre-dates all of you...but it was a good one in HS.

Rachel said...

I was pondering this question just the other day when I realized I have little to interest in listening to the radio, preferring instead to listen to the old standbys: The Smiths, Erasure, Morrissey, etc. I used to think my mom was a sqaure because she always listened to the oldies station--my kids will think I'm a square because I don't really listen to anything that came out after 2000.

compulsive writer said...

Oh no meta--kids are good. Most likely--at least until they are about 13--they will sing along with you!

The other reason kids are good is because then you can tell people who question your musical taste that the reason you listen to the same stuff your kids listen to is so you can be aware of what they're listening to be able to discuss with them the messages they are getting through the media. Something like that anyway.

And so you can laugh out loud in their faces when what you listened to in high school becomes cool again and your kids ask you how come you know the words to their new favorite song. (If you can tell them you've seen the artist it concert it really impresses them.)

Anyway I just turned a mini-van full of 15-16-year-old boys onto Regina Spektor last night and I consider it all in a good day's work.

La Yen said...

Does the Jamestown Soundtrack include "Bing Bong The Rosing Hong?" Because I want that sondtrack.

Tori :) said...

I haven't exactly "stopped"- there are still new songs I like. I just have become more cautious of what I listen too because my sweet, sensitive spirit can't handle a lot of the crap it could handle, say, 10 years ago.

metamorphose said...

Speaking of Regina -for all you fans, you can find videos of her performances from this last weekend at Coachella on youtube.

mander said...

I found myself getting stuck in the 'old music' rut -- luckily I have a cool little sister that routinely sends me data cd's loaded with good music. Peter Bjorn & John is my newest fave. Oh, and I 100% agree with the rock star comment. When we first started dating, I was afraid my now-husband wouldn't be a car singer. Thankfully he is. I think that might have been a deal-breaker ...

April said...

This seems post seems to come at an excellent time! I'm working on a mix cd to giveaway on my blog, and it's mostly new artists! :)

Tiffany said...

I love music so much it's ridiculous.

I need to do better at finding my own new favs and not rely upon musical guru acquaintances for musical satisfaction.

Emily said...

I am completely thinking about you right now as I listen to Milli Vanilli, Dr. Hook and Beaches soundtrack. YES! Don't even try to tell me that's not cool.