Monday, October 10, 2016

The evolution of my musical taste (part 1)

I've had this idea for a series of blog posts for a long time and I've had some small mentions, but I want to get the whole thing done.
What I want to do is cover the major evolutionary moments of my musical taste.  This is going to be the punctuated equilibrium version.  By that I mean that I will not review every single band I ever listened to liked, and some of these bands or songs might not even end up being ones I still listen to or even liked very much, but they are the ones that moved the course of my musical taste the most.  Where did I start, where do I end up?  What were the turning points?

I think an appropriate place to start would be around age 12, when I got my first walkman.  (technically that is cassette player, as walkman is trademarked by sony, but whatever).  Until then, all the music I ever really listened to was what was on mainstream radio.  I really liked a lot of this stuff, at the time it was grunge and early adult alternative (which was grunge for people who were afraid of loud music).  But before the walkman, I had no real control over what music I was listening to.  It's hard to have real tentpole musical tastes when you are just getting whatever is coming over the radio.

I had only a few tapes, so I listened to them a lot.  But that just bred familiarity a lot of those songs never really grabbed me even though I enjoyed them.  I think the one tape that really was a first tentpole worth mentioning on this list was some recordings I made from a Simon and Garfunkle CD.  One of the first songs I ever loved was the Sounds of Silence.

What did I like about this song?  Hmm, it's a minor key song, starts with some simple triads. It sounds sad and mysterious, but somehow warm.  It's a song that's going to make you sad but it's going to be ok.

Then the first lyric, "Hello Darkness my old friend"  What a great opening line!  You are drawn into the song right away.  As the song builds, strains of major keys come into the bridge, but never quite make it.  It has a great repetition structure.

Where this song put me on the musical plane.  It's a mature song. It's not in a major key.  It isn't the sappy stuff you usually hear in pop music.  It isn't about love or being in love, or wanting to party.  Considering where I ended up musically, I think those were big factors.

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