Join Our Mailing List
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved music. I’m the grandchild of a concert pianist and violinist, so my exposure to classical music began early and has lasted my entire life. My dad introduced me to the stuff he loved, which ranged from Faust to the Big Bopper, so my early exposure to all sorts of sounds was fairly profound.
I’m also a child of the ’60s, so I spent my entire adolescence with a transistor radio firmly planted next to my ear. I can still remember how thrilled I was when I got a baby blue model for my 12th birthday. It wasn’t uncommon for me to fall asleep listening to the local rock and roll station.
For years people have marveled at my ability to recite the words to just about any song performed during my formative years. I’m convinced it’s because of my nighttime ritual. I’m also convinced if I had spent that time listening to something like math problems, or scientific data, I might be a successful doctor or scientist. Unfortunately, just knowing the words to a bunch of songs does not make you a rock star – or I’d be rich and famous for sure!
What I love about music is its ability to transport you to another place and time. I have had moments when a new song has come on the radio where I actually had to pull my car over, turn up the volume and sit transfixed until the song was over. Many a fellow motorist has probably thought I was having some sort of medical emergency because sometimes simply listening isn’t enough, which means I HAVE to dance in my seat. Since my dancing skills are right up there with my math and science abilities, doing the hokey pokey while seated is about as groovy as I get. But you know what? I don’t care.
And that’s another thing about music, at least for me. I don’t care if anyone else likes it, although I have been known to make someone listen to the same song repeatedly until they finally give in with a sort of sick look on their faces saying: yeah, yeah, I see what you mean. (Note to you, dear reader: You may want to make sure you are never trapped in a car with me for any length of time.)
For many years I worried that at some point I would ‘grow up’ and stop loving contemporary music. I will admit I no longer have much tolerance for head banging heavy metal, but then, I never was that big a fan. And I can’t say I really get hip hop, but I don’t mind that other people do. I am, however, still in love with Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, need to take a cold shower when I hear Ray Davies sing You Really Got Me, and have been known to feel weak in the knees remembering the poster of Roger Daltrey I once had hanging in my office at KTYD radio.
What is a bit troubling is the fact that I am still in love with today’s music. Actually, it’s not the music that’s the problem, it’s the fact that I continue to get crushes on the lead singers, the majority of whom have only recently begun to shave. There does seem to be a trend towards lead singers who weigh about 98 pounds soaking wet, which helps a bit, because I’ve never been too attracted to men I could pick up and carry – but I can tell you this – if the lead singer for Kings of Leon happens to be thin as a stick I may have to rethink my position on this matter.
When I was dealing with cancer and my trips to and from chemo, radiation, blood work – what have you – music got me through. I could listen to fierce songs about survival and feel my spirits lift. I could sit bundled up in a blanket and cry my eyes out lost in the lyrics of a love song or ballad. I could marvel at the beauty of someone’s voice, or their ability to play an instrument as though it was a part of their very being. Perhaps best of all, I could forget about being afraid, feeling sick, sometimes even what I was going through – all because of music. Maybe when they say music has the power to soothe the savage beast they are also talking about beasts like cancer!
So I’m glad I love groups like The XX, The Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys, Band of Skulls, Vampire Weekend, Broken Bells, The Killers, The Shins or The Hives. (My mother has kiddingly said The Shins give her The Hives, but she’s been knocking my taste in music since I was, well, 12!)
I like that much of what I’m hearing reminds me of songs and groups I loved as a young woman. A young woman, I might add, who had absolutely no worries about the future, who believed anything is possible and who danced with abandon whenever she got a chance. I loved that young woman. I wish I could have protected her from some of the harsh realities of life, but then, it’s those harsh realities that make us stronger, wiser, and focused on what really matters – really cute guys who can sing!