Growing up, whenever we were in the car, there was always music playing. Ma and I would sing along – her in perfect pitch and me all over the place. Thinking about that period in my life always makes me smile, as I do every time Kenny Rogers or Mama and Papas come on the radio now.
As I got older, like a normal teenager, I started exploring music on my own. The first record I ever bought, and yes, it was vinyl, was Beauty and the Beat.
Yes, I am definitely a child of the 80s! But, while I did start choosing my own music, I was far from a musical rebel. Some of my friends did introduce me to more out there artists – The Smiths, XTC, The Cure. I listened to that so I would have things to say to the cool kids. It really wasn’t my thing. Top 40 was my mainstay.
While I continued listening to music in college and afterwards, which is when I started going to concerts, to me it felt that in order to find music that really talked to me, I had to look back.
When I worked at SANYO, I was part of a carpool, and we drove the half hour each way without the radio on. It really got me used to silence.
This is going to sound crazy, but now I don’t find listening to music that enjoyable. Okay maybe that statement on its own doesn’t sound crazy, but when you add in the fact that I felt that way even when I was dancing, the jackets that fasten in the back are on their way to me. For five years I moved to the beat (more or less) but was not moved by what I heard. Actually on the rare occasion that a song came on that I REALLY liked, I actually danced worse, and those songs magically disappeared from Kurt‘s play list. When I practiced at home, I did it without music.
Once dancing ended, I went on a music boycott and loved every moment of it! No more having to listen to what dance I could do to it, no more counting the beat, no more having to realize time signature changes (okay, I always sucked at that). In a nutshell, no more noise!
I emerge now and then from my muted cocoon and love going to my friends’ concerts. I’m still looking for a new musical home.
So what brought on this anti-music musing? In my internet surfing, I recently rediscovered a quote from Dick Clark: Music is the soundtrack to our lives. Right now my soundtrack is silent … or stuck a few decades back. Even as I’m typing this, with the exception of the sound of a fan, it is quiet. I miss the draw to music I had in adolescence and back when I went to tons of concerts in my twenties. (Then again, I might be the only person on the planet that can say they fell asleep in a Green Day concert. But it was late … on a work night!)
What was your first album? or Does anyone else have gaps in their personal soundtracks? or What bands do people recommend?
16 thoughts on “Music and the Mirror”
First album – which was a cassette tape – was Air Supply’s Greatest Hits. I think I listened to it every day. I do love music – all kinds. I don’t always want to hear it, though. Mostly that is because of my ADHD – sometimes my brain just has to have absolute silence for a while. As for recommendations – ha. I like too many different styles and genres to even start. But I’ll always recommend my husband’s stuff! 🙂
I had that cassette!!!!! I loved it.
I understand your need for silence. When I go on my walks, I’m amazed at the number of people listening to music. I go outside to get away from man made noise. I want to be in the silence. I must admit though, that I probably would move much quicker if I had the solid quick beat of an 80s favorite.
My friend once fell asleep at a Chris Isaak concert, but to be fair she was a writer for a music magazine and she went to a concert every single night of her life for years.
My first music purchases were in the 70s, and I know the first album was Elton John, although I can’t remember which one.
When I listen to music now I just turn the satellite channel to the 70s or 80s, once in a while the 90s. But I’m not one who can work or read while listening to music, so there are long periods, sometimes days, where I have no music on except when I’m working out.
When I first bought my car, I had a three-month subscription to satellite radio. What did I listen to? The exact channels you described: mainly 70s and 80s with a little 90s thrown in for variety!
I also can’t read or concentrate enough to write with most music on. I can still work with classical, which is what I would use as white noise. My problem is if I hear words I concentrate on them instead of what I am looking at.
I remember listening to vinyls too. Although mine were kids music like soundtracks to Disney cartoon movies. I had a simple record player and I would pop those things on and just listen. Seems so simple now, but it was a lot of fun.
I can’t remember the first non-kid album I ever owned. It was either Bon Jovi, Styx or INXS. I didn’t start really getting into music a lot until CDs became popular.
It’s interesting how you say that your music is a few decades back. I think that applies to most people. Music we listen to when we were growing up is the kinds we like best, isn’t it?
I remember what a hoot it was as a little kid to listen to records. My mom sacrificed a record for my sister and I to play in our rooms. We listened to “Yellow Rose of Texas” until we wore the grooves off!
It sounds like we have similar tastes in 80s music.
While I know it is common for people to revert back to the music of their youth, I wanted to be unique … just like everybody else. 🙂
Tamster! Thanks for the shout-out for John and the Time Traveling Bicycle! We always love having you in the audience and appreciate that you’d spend your silent soundtrack years with us! What if we wrote a song about you? It would go something like “Tammy, she’s a Tamster…a really super duper wamster!” 🙂 Hugs!
I’m thinking the Tamster song might have to be for a private performance otherwise the audience might start to think everyone will get a personalized experience!
Mine was a BeeGees album – and then an Elton John album – or maybe by then it was an 8-track tape. Big ole clunky things. I love concerts – still go to them – a special venue is red rocks ampitheater in the Rocky Mountain Foothills in Colorado. Any thing sounds better under the stars.
I remember 8 track tapes. They were HUGE! I still know all the words to most BeeGees songs, although as a little girl I swore it was women singing until my mom finally was able to show me a picture of them.
How many months of the year are they able to have outdoor concerts in Colorado? In my SoCal mind, it seems an unusual place, especially since I have to pack up a jacket and several blankets for our summer movies in the park!
Before kids we went to lots of concerts and I had a CD habit that verged on being an addiction. Then I had a small gap in my personal soundtrack. It has taken sometime, but I now listen to more and I love introducing a wide range of music to the kids. One of the first records that I can remember buying with my own money was a 45 of the Bangles singing a cover of Hazy Shade of Winter.
Thanks for the ear worm! At least I like that version of Hazy Shade. I’ve got their guitar riff stuck in my head!
Have you been able to convert your CD collection to audio files? You must have an incredible library on itunes!
I think it’s great that you are expanding your kids minds to all sorts of music. My mom did that and I still have a fondness for all sorts of music that was popular before I was born.
We definitely moved everything over to Itunes. 🙂 So much more manageable now! My favorite thing to do is to wake the kids up to something new every morning. Today was Domino. I can’t imagine anyone trying to request songs on the radio now when YouTube is right at your fingertips for that song you can’t wait to hear.
How wonderful that you now have all this music at your fingertips.
Now it seems that most radio stations earn more money for playing certain songs than advertising, so djs really have little choice in music selection. No such thing as requests any more.
My first cassette tape was Culture Club. My first record was Thriller by Michael Jackson. I remember buying that record at Fedco and trying to decide between Thriller and Men at Work. Thriller won out because it was cheaper!
I’m so glad that your frugal nature ended up in you bringing home a better album! What a wonderful dilemma to look back on.
Now I have to go to Pandora and create a Culture Club channel. I think you might have just the 80s monster within.