The title of this article is something I’ve said in jest for many years, yet recent soul searching has revealed it to be at least somewhat true. For example, if I dislike 98% of all Mexican food (which I assure you is not the case), then one could logically – and safely conclude that I dislike Mexican food. Well, I hate more than 98% of all music, so logically I hate music. There are many reasons I hate music, but the biggest reason is because I actually love music. After all, I am (and have been for most of my life) a musician.
For me, music listening isn’t some half-assed passive thing I do. It isn’t background noise. It isn’t to set the mood for a party or gathering. It isn’t something I do to make a drive more pleasant (though it does help). It isn’t any of the things to me that it typically is to many other people. As a matter of fact, I prefer not to listen to music at times when most people find it to be vital to the situation: I don’t like music when I am working out. I don’t like music when I’m talking with someone, and above all, I absolutely can’t sleep when music is playing.
I believe that last point may serve to illustrate my relationship with music adequately. If I try to sleep with music playing, I will not go to sleep. I will instead, listen to every note, every beat, and every word, analyzing how it is put together. That is what I do. When I listen to music, I almost prefer to not be doing anything else. I want that time to be about the music. I like it to be loud. I like it to be at the forefront, and in order for it to do something for me in that moment, it has to be interesting.
For me, music needs to be either very skillfully executed or aesthetically very unique. It also needs to be hard and driving. My musical tastes require the music to offer something to me on those terms every single time I listen – it needs to be interesting to me every time I listen. As such, the music that meets that criteria for me gets listened to over and over and over and over again, causing me to have a very narrow focus when it comes to music. Most of the stuff that gets played on the radio does not meet that criteria.
I traditionally have found most popular music to be over produced attempts to sell records to people, and that the people who like it simply don’t know any better. Lately, though, I’ve begun to feel as though there may be something wrong with me. Maybe I’m the one who is messed up. Maybe I don’t actually know any better than to be weird for the sake of being weird. When I hear someone say of a particular song, “oh man, that’s such a good song!”, I want to know why. Why is it good? My instinct is to turn my snobby musical nose up and immediately proclaim the song as rubbish. Perhaps it isn’t rubbish.
I’ve found my attitude to be a point of contention with people very consistently throughout my life. I’ve had many unresolved futile arguments with my wife over my attitude toward music. I’ve worn my friends out on the music I love to the point that they hate it. Just today I shared a playlist I made highlighting the music I’ve loved over the years with a gathering of people. It wasn’t long before someone proclaimed in a very disgusted manner, “what is this music? put on some Taylor Swift “. I felt so foolish and embarrassed. I just wanted to crawl under a rock.
I have a saying: If variety is the spice of life, the monotony is the rice of life. I like rice. Perhaps it’s time to put some Tony’s on the rice. I am not going to go as far as to listen to top 40 pop hits on the radio – I’ll kill myself. Below, I’m going to list the bands that have meant something to me over the years with a very brief description of why. Then I’ll have a favor to ask the three of you who are reading this.
Vanilla Ice – First music I truly liked on my own. First songs I memorized.
3Rd Bass- They hated Vanilla Ice. Their rap was top notch.
Nirvana – got me into rock, and showed me how to drum heavy.
Pearl Jam – also helped get me into rock.
Smashing Pumpkins – Showed me what real musicianship looked like for the first time.
Primus – Also great musicians that showed me how to be weird.
Rush – The best band ever. Period. If you disagree, I’ll fight you.
Depeche Mode – not a good musician one in the group, but cool sound, and able to re-invent themselves while still being themselves.
VNV Nation – excellent electronic music. Dark. Hard. Well put together. Showed me how electronic music is done live.
Mind.In.A.Box – Skillfully executed electronic music that weaves a tale throughout the band’s discography.
Rotersand – Dark, hard electronic that is still approachable. Driving.
The Police – Good musicians all around – interesting blend of sounds. Good drumming from Stewart Copeland.
Babymetal – Three cute Japanese girls singing over perfectly executed metal. So weird and beautiful it made me cry the first time I heard it.
Savlonic – A YouTube musician who makes funny silly songs invented a fictional synthpop band. Great electronic music.
Scandroid – If the 80’s synth aesthetic carried on, this is where it would be today. Top notch 80’s-esque music with modern power.
Now, it’s your turn. What is your favorite band? Tell me either here or on Facebook. Tell me why you like it. I’ll give it a listen. It has to be actual musicians that make their own music though. I need more variety.