I was about 9 years old when my sister made me my first mix tape. I was so excited. It had a medley of tunes from the Sound Of Music, The Beach Boys, The Beatles and my favorite songs from Top Gun. Maybe there was even a U2 song or two from The Unforgettable Fire. I eventually found, to my sister’s chagrin, Milli Vanilli.
Armed with my Sony Yellow Sports Walkman, I disappeared into the music, as I had when I first watched Video Hits and then Music Plus.
Fast forward a few years and my teen angst, as I’m sure yours did, propelled me towards music. Nirvana and Pearl Jam, then Jim. My lack of worldly experience didn’t matter, I could plug into the emotions that were streaming right into my brain through my ear buds. Abandonment, fear, despair, anger… all real and all had a distinct voice that helped me identify those surges within me.
But music probably had the largest impact of me at summer camp. The barn radio being controlled by the alpha staff member, ensured that no one would be left musically uneducated. The alphas preferred U2, and The Doors, and The Rolling Stones and Bob Seger.
But then one day, The Pixies found their way to that tape deck and all bets were off.
Then, it was Portishead on repeat in the tent where I slept.
Then it was The Black Crowes.
Then Tori Amos.
Then Cat Stevens.
Then Paul Simon.
Then Erykah Badu.
Then Beastie Boys Intergalactic.
And then one day, the album disappeared and Napster took over. Playlists were full of Lou Reed, Outkast, Busta Rhymes and made no more sense.
On New Year’s Eve, our friend Francis who I lovingly describe as Jesus crossed with Bob Dylan and a 70s marathon runner, brought a crate of records that we listened to until the early hours of 2016. Tom Petty, Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse… they all played and I even danced.
I’ve been doing The Artist’s Way for a month now, and since I’ve started, I’ve been intensely reconnecting to music, something that went away with baby number 1. Music was quickly replaced by CBC Radio One, and then BBC, and then Radio Two to eventually be turned off all together and replaced by podcasts. Something about letting myself open to random spurts of news and other people’s opinions made it much less interesting to me over the years. I actually find it assaulting sometimes. Bernie and Sue Smith need to go away sometimes.
Anyways, back to music.
I think of the kids growing up without HMV or the corner record store, not saving up their quarters for the latest Pearl Jam album with llama on the cover. Who will their musical heros be?
I’ve rambled, but I hope you let your brain wander down the path of the music you connected to… what were the big albums of your teenage years? The album of your break up? Or the soundtrack to your best summer? Think about it, let me know, or pop it in on a Tuesday night and think about how many song lyrics your brain has held onto. Ask yourself WHY you can sing all of Weezer’s Blue Album even if you haven’t listened to it in ages.