I’ve been listening to music all day.
Actually, I’ve been listening to music nearly nonstop for the past week. My iPod is getting a serious workout. This all started the Sunday before my trip to Ely, when I broke down and bought a new car stereo from Best Buy. I’d wanted one for ages – the one that came with the Hyundai had a CD player and a cassette deck, for crying out loud. I’d grown tired of lugging CDs around and craved the convenience of simply plugging my iPod (with its 4500+ songs) in whenever I went anywhere. Fumbling around with compact discs was an irritating constant on my road trip this past summer. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that car stereos have dramatically dropped in price these past few years, so with a couple of reward discounts to cash in, I picked one up for quite the steal. This made my long drive to Nevada and back much easier. At this point, I may never buy another CD again…I’m not sure where I’d even play it anymore. In fact, I just pre-ordered Coldplay’s new album off iTunes. If everything is going onto the iPod anyway, why not? My favorite feature, by the way, is Shuffle mode. I heard music during my drive that I hadn’t heard in years – songs that never would have made it onto a CD but which, despite that, I still love. They come up randomly and are often a cool surprise.
The music I’ve been listening to wasn’t just confined to the drive there and back. Tara had music playing at her house, too. And when we drove to Great Basin…or around town…either my iPod or her Sanza were constantly going. Driving to the movies yesterday, taking the kids to school – cue the music. Today, I’ve had a very productive day job-searching, and for the past six hours that has been accompanied by…guess. Oh, did you say music? That would be correct!
Music has always played an important role in my life. I’ll hear a certain song and it will magically transport me back to a particular time and place where it was playing. It’s impossible for me to hear Cat Stevens or Paul Simon without remembering road trips from Ohio to New Jersey in the 70s. “Lightning Crashes” always takes me back to the day Rusty was born; “Smells Like Teen Spirit” reminds me of late nights working in Sharper Image; “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” makes me think of my high school graduation; and the Sleigh Bells “Rill Rill” takes me back exactly one week. And on and on. Those associations are more enduring than many other more tangible memories.
I remember my very first record album (Elvis Presley). The first time I discovered rock ‘n roll (Journey’s “Any Way You Want It” playing over my tiny blue plastic transistor radio). Gorging myself on The Beatles’ back catalog after John Lennon was assassinated. Calling radio stations to request songs and then recording them on tape once they finally played (I was annoyed as hell whenever the DJ would talk over the opening). Faithfully listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 every Sunday, no matter where I was or what I was doing. I used to bring along a notebook and keep track of the top hits. Seems silly now…but it’s all because of my love for music.
I’ve often said that if I were forced to choose one single entertainment option for the rest of my life, I would pick music over television, movies, and even the internet. (I’d hate to give up books, though)! Those other things I could easily live without. Music? Not so much. I need it in my life. What kind of music? Rock ‘n roll, primarily. I’m a sucker for alternative, grunge, and (especially these past few years) obscure indie rock. 90% of my iPod is rock ‘n roll, baby. But I do enjoy other stuff. I have weaknesses for 70s pop, Frank Sinatra, Hawaiian music, disco, and cheesy synth-driven 80s songs. I draw the line at country, although I don’t mind Miranda Lambert or Johnny Cash. Hip-hop hooray? More like hip-hop no way! (Although even here there are rare exceptions. Outkast and the Black Eyed Peas occasionally pop up on my iPod). I guess I’m sort of eclectic, but definitely play favorites.
Which is why I’m so excited for next month. When Tara comes up on October 19th, we’re heading to Seattle for a three-day music festival called City Arts Festival. We’re most excited to see Built To Spill, The Long Winters, Helio Sequence and The Hold Steady – plus check out a lot of up-and-coming acts, like Seapony. It’s going to be a blast! That’s one thing she and I have always shared in common: a love and appreciation for music that most other people have never heard of. I remember the first mix CD she ever gave me, a year or two ago. Once “A.M. 180” by Grandaddy started playing, I knew this girl was special. Seattle will be awesome. It’s 35 days away!
I can’t wait to hear all the good music that’ll be playing on the three-hour drive north.
And for the record, Tara and I are giving this relationship thing a go. It’s Facebook official now and everything. I am happy and excited despite the obstacles. I think we have a lot of potential, and the fact that she’s willing to see where this all leads?
Well, that is sweet music to my ears.