I’ve been meaning to write something about music for quite a while, but haven’t really been inspired. Lately though, the theme of music has been popping up in my life, so now I am almost compelled to write.
Based on the recommendation of a friend, I started using last.fm recently. If you aren’t familiar with the website, it’s a social networking site based on music. It’s main selling point is the software that plugs in to your computer music software and updates your profile with your most recently played music. You can then find friends, share new music, etc. all based on listening preference. It’s a pretty neat service, and while I love some of the features for discovering new music, I realized that a much younger version of myself would have appreciated the friend making features of the service a lot better.
I first ‘discovered’ music in the 4th or 5th grade. Growing up with four older siblings, I had always been aware of it, but had never really considered my own taste in music until the last couple of years in elementary school. By middle school and through high school I pretty much defined myself by my musical taste. If you didn’t listen to the same thing that I listened to, or you listened to music that I deemed unworthy, you couldn’t be my friend. Likewise anyone who listened to music I though was cool was automatically cool in my book.
As high school progressed and my musical taste evolved, I faced a sort of identity crisis. Some of my closest friends, whom I had always counted on to have similar taste in music had begun to listen to music that I hated, and I was finding that they didn’t like the new music that I loved. Some of these friends drifted away, though not completely because of musical taste, I know that it played a role in the growing distance between us. Looking back I realize it was a pretty immature attitude and it took me far too long to open my eyes and see that musical taste was a pretty superficial way to choose friends.
What makes all of this especially poignant for me now, and why I’m writing about it, is another friend recently posted a blog listing his top 10 Albums of All time, the ones you would take with you if you were trapped on a desert island. As I began to compile the list I realized that except for a few exceptions, my musical tastes have evolved so much that I don’t really listen to the music that I thought was so cool that it was worth losing a friend over. More ironic still, some of my favorite music today is music that I hated back then.
Oh, and as for my top 10 list. I found it nearly impossible to pick 10, but finally settled on this list.
- They Might Be Giants — Flood (or Apollo 18)
- Indigo Girls — Indigo Girls
- Barenaked Ladies — Stunt
- R.E.M. — Automatic for the People (Life’s Rich Pageant or Fable of the Reconstrustion would also do)
- U2 — Joshua Tree (Any of them really except for Zooropa or Pop).
- Peter Gabriel — So
- The Pogues — If I Should Fall from the Grace with God
- Guadalcanal Diary — Jamboree
- John Denver — An Evening with John Denver
- Pink Floyd — The Wall
It took great effort to avoid “Best of” or “Greatest Hits” Albums, which I think are a cop out for the indecisive on these kind of lists. Actually of the First 5 Artists, I could pick almost anything they’ve ever recorded and be happy with the choice. Lastly, I didn’t even consider classical music, though I’m sure if I actually had to choose 10 albums to listen to for the rest of my life, I would have to consider this genre as well. Now that I think about it, if I ever had to do this for real, the Les MisÃ©rables Complete Symphonic recording would have to go, but I have no idea what it would replace.