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Friday, January 20, 2006
Contemporary Music*
I love music, but I find myself getting more detached from it . . . specifically what’s “current” and “hip.” Even though I write music and derive a lot of enjoyment (and exorcise a lot of demons) playing music. I must be turning into an adult. At 34.

When I was a fair, gentle teenager, I was pretty obsessive about my music-listening. Like getting Duran Duran’s Seven and the Ragged Tiger in middle school and listening to that cassette repeatedly. Before I had a “jam box” with the auto-reverse function. I actually had to take the cassette out, flip it over, rewind as necessary, and press Play. Over and over. I’d get the new LP / cassette / CD by a favorite band and listen to it constantly. And never got sick of it.

Flash forward a couple decades, when I have more resources to purchase and experience new music, and I’m lost in it. Behind the times. For instance, I have a CD-rotation system in place, so that I’m currently “listening to” about 30 CDs. So it’ll take me a few months to fully evaluate the dozen CDs I got for Christmas. Continuing with the “instance,” I got the newest Death Cab for Cutie CD for/around my birthday in September and was pretty let down (initially). Only now, almost four months later, have I listened to it enough to have it “grow on me.” We’re talking six or eight times through. Over four months.

See, I like variety more now than I did. Not types of music, but bands. This is probably why I do so many mix CDs; I get sick of hearing the same songs and bands over and over and over again. So I’ll listen to a CD once (including mixes) and then rotate it out of my car. CDs in “high” rotation get listened to once, maybe twice, a month. If it’s weekly, we’re talking “very, extremely high” rotation.

What slows things down even further is driving Mia around, which I do a lot. I got pretty spoiled when Michelle was taking her to preschool and I was picking her up. Lots of time to listen to what I wanted as loud as I wanted. This temporary reverting back to daycare (which is, literally, across the highway from my office) has me squeezing in very little prime-listening time. I’ll put on the local adult-contemporary station because it’s not too offensive to Mia. (Although, it can be really offensive to me. Seriously, I’m sick and fucking tired of “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia; didn’t that song hit in, like, 1997? And what’s this bullshit with Carlos Santana dubbing guitar wankery over every other song on the radio? That and anything by Blues Traveler makes me wanna turn off the entire fucking airwaves. All of them. Dear God.)

Sigh. Hey, y’know what band Mia really likes? The Bravery.

UPDATE: One of the things that inspired this post was hearing Alanis Morrissette's uninspired version of Seal's "Crazy." I mean, really, why bother? When I first heard it, I thought, "Man who is this sad Alanis wannabe doing the rote walk-through of this not-even-classic song?" Anyway, I heard it again this morning. I'll probably hear it again on the way home. Right after "Torn."

* This is gaybo to the power of 10, but there’s that episode of Friends where Ross is going to China and Joey tells him, “Make sure you eat some Chinese food while you’re there.” And Chandler enlightens him with (something like), “I think in China, they just call it food.” Anyway, likewise, “adult-contemporary music” becomes just “contemporary” when you’re an adult. Among other things.