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.