Thursday, February 16, 2006

Back in the Day

Thinking about eighties music brings back a lot of memories. I was kind of a late bloomer when it came to music (or it seemed that way to me). My best friend got into music a little ahead of me at a time (13 and 14) when I was still into comic books and action figures. I was an imaginative kid.

At a certain point, however, I got it in my head that this wasn't the sort of thing a grown up did. And I wanted to be a grown up (for reasons that are complex and simple at the same time (one factor - other kids picking on me (other kids sucked))). So I figured I could talk like an older kid people would see me that way.

So I looked at what other older kids (pretty much older boys, I must admit (wait, nobodies holding a gun to my head. I DON'T admit it)) were into - and I quickly came up with three possibilities. Cars, Sports, and the Opposite Sex. I didn't care about cars. I barely cared about sports. And I had, at best, a vague awareness that the opposite sex existed. So my goal of self-improvement through conversation seemed doomed to failure. Then I noticed my best friend seemed to be into music. Hmmmm.

So I got into music. And after a few false starts (two of my earliest albums were Huey Louis and the New's "Sports" and Hall and Oates "Big Bam Boom" (Still have a fondness for the "Method of Modern Love")), I got into Depeche Mode, Erasure, Yaz, OMD, Thompson Twins, and so on. After a remarkably short time I became a bit of a music snob, reading Rolling Stone (for free, as I worked at at a library) and Spin (occasionally) to see what music was hot, and, to a certain extent, getting into that music. Obviously my beloved synth-pop didn't get in the limelight all that much - so I got other albums here and there - Talking Heads, R.E.M., U2, The Cure.

I got Talking Heads "Naked" right after it came out and played it incessantly trying to convince myself that my initial impression was wrong (three good tracks on the first side, nothing on the second side (yeah, it was a cassette)), and it was brilliant all the way through. Had numerous arguments with my brother, who's music tastes at the time could be summed up in one word. Rush.

Of course now that I'm a bit older and a bit more exposed to music I can enjoy 9 out of 11 tracks (still find Facts of Life and Bill a little weak. Cool Waters, on the other hand, and Ruby Dear have grown in my estimation quite a bit).

Being a Music Snob did not in fact turn out to be the route to acceptance. It turns most people find Music Snobs annoying (particularly other Music Snobs). So I dropped the part about looking down on people for liking Tiffany (well, at least publicly) and the part about looking in magazines for validation of my music tastes. I kept the part about being adventurous and seeking out all kinds of different music. So now I am a Music Enthusiast. Which, now that you mention it, is a lot like being a Music Snob. But hopefully less annoying to other people.

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