The first gift I gave my son was music. He was only a few weeks old when my wife asked me to put together some mixed CDs for her middle-of-the-night feeding sessions.
With many music venues no longer printing physical tickets, my ticket stub collection has atrophied and I am left wondering how to compile a record of my concert attendance.
When I conceived of this blog, I did not anticipate an unfortunate side effect: I listen to a lot of bad music almost every day. Couldn’t I live a much happier life only listening to the Rolling Stones?
In that highly-charged moment, I needed to hear Springsteen’s Nebraska album. Why? Why did I run headlong towards that record like a masochist to the lash?
Some music just sounds better in certain settings. Like seeing an animal in its natural habitat instead of in a zoo. Over time, I have developed a musical geography of sorts, mapping the places where I hear certain songs more clearly and which, as a result, have become inextricably bound up with those songs in a way that is now impossible to untangle.
The Holiday Season is upon us and once again I find myself flailing around for gifts. Music used to be my go-to gift, but no more. The Streaming Age has robbed us of the ability to give music as a gift; my dream of one day presenting my son with every Rolling Stones album has been abandoned.
What is the shelf life for aging rock star Halloween costumes? With the demise of physical albums and CDs, it is getting shorter since a fan can now shimmy down the street, earbuds in, oblivious to what their favorite artists look like.
Watching Glen Hansard perform “Astral Weeks” is to see the power of music personified, how it shines a purifying light on the darkest internal recesses. It is like being let into a sacred space.
My friend’s mom gave us a ride to the Clash concert and instructed us in no uncertain terms to meet back at the car at 11:00 PM. I can still hear that command, which seemed reasonable at the time, ringing in my ears three decades later.
My father’s taste in music was grim. He tended towards Barry Manilow, regaling the family with tortured renditions of “Mandy” and “I Write the Songs” during interminable road trips. I remember thinking there has got to be better music than this.