I was thinking about how musical tastes change as we get older. Driving in to work this morning, Nine Inch Nails' Closer came on. I used to love that song, but it was, as I discovered, something I only loved in a particular context. I'm not a 20-something malcontent in fishnets anymore, for better or worse, and NIN no longer applies. I still think the music is genius, but I can't imagine a place for it in my life anymore. Same goes for most of the Gothier music I used to listen to; it was stuff I enjoyed at a particular time in my life, but very little of it stuck.
One can only listen to so much Joy Division.
I find that the music I still listen to tends to be more upbeat and warm-blankety, if that makes any sense?
Did you have a favorite band when you were growing up? Of course you did.
My first favorite... The Monkees.
I LOVED me some Davy Jones.
I would scour garage sales for their albums, listen to Pisces, Capricorn, Aquarius and Jones, Ltd. over and over (I LOVED Pleasant Valley Sunday), and fantasize about what I'd say if I ever got to meet them.
Would I ask for Micky's autograph? Scream and cry and wail at Davey? Crack jokes with Peter?
Ask to touch Mike's toque?
Imagine my surprise when I found out that the shows I'd been watching had been filmed before I was even born, and that in fact they'd been broken up for ages.
What!? I was like TEN. What concept of time periods did I have yet?
Time marched onward, though, and a love of one British cutie turned in a love of 5.
I'm not sure what it was (besides John Taylor, second from the left there, who is still as cute as ever - I suspect dealings with the Devil), but I loved them to pieces. They were the first band whose images I cut from magazines, taping them to walls in my room, whose clothing style I wished to mimic (the cuffs were pushed up BELOW THE ELBOW, thanks very much). I had all their albums, and of course listened to them incessantly. I still love them... The Chauffeur and Save A Prayer still show up regularly on personal playlists.
I even "choreographed" a really bad dance routine with a friend for a sixth-grade gym assignment. It didn't go well, and it haunts me still!
Next up, just in time for junior high, was INXS. I went through a huge Australia phase, starting with Crocodile Dundee (don't mock me!) and Big Pig, who did one of my favorite nobody-knows-about-it albums ever. (Sidebar - TR does. This is one of many reasons I like him.) Somebody introduced me to Michael Hutchence's curly locks and Aussie accent, and there was no going back.
I obsessively collected all their tapes, all the way back to the very first one which nobody had but me. I had to get it imported, and that was BEFORE the internet...it took doing!
After Michael Hutchence died - my first experience with humanity in an idol - I threw all my tapes out. I regretted it later, but at the time I was sure I could never listen to them again. Fans of The Beatles might understand this, though I'm in no way comparing the two, merely the sentiment. I can enjoy their music again now, but then? Not so much.
During the wane of my INXS obsession came the advent of the band whose continued presence in my life has irritated some, amused others, but always given me comfort.
Not too long before high school, I had foot surgery. It was done on both feet, and I was laid up for a solid 6 weeks, watching Santa Barbara and hobbling around with a walker. To ease my pain, my mom brought me a couple tapes of music... I don't remember the others, but one was The Cure's Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, which remains one of my favorites.
True FANDOM set in with The Cure. There weren't just posters and concerts and tshirts and stickers, there was identification with and memorization of lyrics. Many Cure songs made it onto horrible mix tapes. I could assign a Cure song to any situation. I even used one song, How Beautiful You Are, as my public speaking assignment in my Freshman year drama class.
I drew fan art - some of it pretty good - and even showed some early Kraft Krazy by using fabric paints to make my *own* fan shirt. It got lots of compliments, and then it got stolen - a true testament to not only the cool art but also to the fact that I was not alone in my obsession.
The Cure was the first band where I found and participated in a community. Cure concerts are fun places to people-watch because of the diversity of that community! Young Goth kids who appear to have raided my 17-year-old self's closet, 60-year-olds in Hawaiian shirts who probably went to their first shows way back when the band first started, and my generation who find ourselves somewhere in between. We still want to pull off the raccoon eyed look, but we're becoming more and more aware that Hawaiian shirts and sneakers are just so much more comfortable than PVC and leather on a hot July day.
Those groups give each other the eye, the young kids wondering what the hell Grampa is doing there, the old folks wondering if the be-leathered whippersnappers have any concept of The Cure before Disintegration. All that goes away once they take the stage, though, and when everyone collectively freaks out and yells the lyrics to this song or that, we're all together and on the same page.
Overstating it a bit? Perhaps. But it's the truth.
I've experienced other concerts and music venues in much the same way, but The Cure will always be the first one, because I've been 2/3 of that crowd so far, and I'm well on my way to the last bit. The last show I went to, I brought The Kid. And I wore Crocs. And my back was hurting so I used my handi-tag.
I don't listen to The Cure very often these days, although sometimes I feel the need to bust out The Head on the Door or one of the other myriad bits of memory-filled music I own - and I have a LOT. Their music is so ingrained in me, it's almost like I don't have to listen anymore to hear them.
These days my musical tastes are all over the place. I mentioned the warm-blanket feeling, and that's really what drives my choices now. If I'm feeling content with the world, I gravitate toward mellow stuff like Dave Mathews, or some Beck if I want to drive a little faster than ol' Dave will take me. If I'm feeling blue, I try not to listen to the Smiths, but sometimes I want to wallow and only Morrissey will do. If I'm feeling the need to relax, I throw on TR's Black Rock City mix from last year and lose myself in there for awhile. If I need to be a badass for awhile, Garbage works almost every time - nothing like channeling Shirley Manson to really get that "don't mess with me" look on your face.
So what are you listening to these days?
What bands did you LIVE for way back when that you almost never put on anymore, but which still hold a place in your heart?
(Thanks go out to Wikipedia today...they provided all my links, and made my life easier.)