Monday, June 19, 2006

Music (the minority report)

I have a dysfunctional relationship with music. I like it for the most part, I own a hefty volume of albums and CDs (which are gathering dust) and I've been to my share of concerts. What I don't get, is what feels to me like a societal obsession with it. Most everyone I know is fanatical about music. And probably most everyone I don't know. A local band can play the same venue every single week and not bore their fan base. Hundreds of new releases can hit the market monthly and music fans keep scrambling to sort the wheat from the chaff; to claim a new artist as their "latest discovery". Americans are kookoo for American Idol.

Most public places pipe in music for atmosphere. I get my hair cut to european techno (cause with this new doo, I'll be able to pull off clubbing with Paris and Lindsay), I buy groceries to Vivaldi (because I'm so damned cultured for choosing 2% milk), and I watch baseball to Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks (cause I love freedom dammit). A road trip comes up short without an exhaustively planned mix of tunes. And now with MP3 players, there doesn't seem to be a minute of the day that isn't accompanied by a soundtrack.

My co-worker is one of the aforementioned obsessives. He pulls up to work listening to something new he just burned on CD, walks in the door humming whatever he had just been listening to (the humming and soft-singing continues off an on all day), furtively checks several music related websites on his lunch break, including researching whatever bands are playing that night. At the end of the day, he immediately heads over to the local music store to plug in and sample some new releases and then it's off to see a band at a local club til' 2:00am.
I really just don't get it.

What is it about music that keeps people of all ages so continually enthusiastic and engaged? It seems as if people just can't own enough of it. I'm amazed that there's a huge market for a portable device that will hold 5000 songs. I'd be hard-pressed to put together 100.
My experience of the music scene is like having over 1000 channels of cable television, of which most are over-hyped crap, and the thought of sorting through them all to find one good show is simply exhausting.
I know there are countless bands and albums out there that I would adore, but I just don't have any interest in doing the research. And I probably wouldn't make the time to listen them much if I did own them.

Ok, I know I'm a freak. I like silence actually. A lot. I won't wear jewelry, handbags or shoes that have jangly parts, because I hate to hear the rhythmic noise they create when I walk.
I rarely play music at home. I have a really hard time thinking clearly when too much outside noise interferes. I can't even sleep when any music is playing; my brain just refuses to disengage from it. So maybe it's the way I'm wired.

I appreciate good music, but I just don't necessarily feel the need to own it. I kind of enjoy randomly stumbling upon a song I haven't heard in years, but I'm more like the kind of fisherman who removes the hook and throws it back. Maybe I'll catch it again, maybe I won't.

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