Monday, November 15, 2010

Before it's too late (or is it too late already?)

I have posted and confessed before about my unusual musical tastes. I often tell people that the 1980s were my lost decade, but the truth is so were the 1970s, at least musically (although at the age I was then not everyone has intense musical memories, but some do...)

I'm not blaming anyone; indeed in many ways I am grateful, because the music I listened to growing up is still the core of my listening: mostly European classical music, with some veins of North Indian classical as well. My brother was the real music lover in the family, and he quickly took to European classical music, and I enjoyed drafting off his passion. My parents were very supportive of our interest. You might think it's an easy habit to encourage in your children, but revisit that thought after listening to Richard Strauss's Salomé blasting at full volume while you try to go about your business. My parents were also very generous in letting us travel on our own at an age when you might decide to lock your children in the house for their own good. That travel led me to good places, including Toronto, New York, Vienna, and Salzburg, and was my first exposure to Europe.

I truly came to appreciate this upbringing a few years later, when living on my own I began to revisit all the music I had listened to as a child and teen. And with some transformation that is perhaps maturity or experience everything that I had enjoyed culturally I began to enjoy personally, emotionally, viscerally. A few years later I added jazz into my listen repertoire.

The one byproduct of this path, though, is that my knowledge of anything other than classical music (or jazz to some extent) is random and in some sense tasteless. When I say tasteless, I mean just that I have no coherent taste. I also have gaps in my knowledge that people my age find truly bizarre.

Sometimes I come to music so much later than everyone else that it almost bizarrely retro-cool by the time I get to it. Other times, people shake their heads in mystification when some Robyn makes it into my iPod playlist at parties. Until recently my only real salvation has come through some intense cramming sessions with Mia whenever I am in Venice. The last few months or so I have been doing more than my share of road trips, so the car radio has been keeping my knowledge updated, while doing no good to my taste though.

This brings me at last to Phoenix. I've been reading about them on the blogs (Lola, Jane). I have heard them on the radio. And I've really begun to like them. Perhaps, for once, I might be on the right side of cool to declare my allegiances? But then as I was channel surfing a few nights ago, I heard them in the background to a club/dance scene on a cop drama on network television. Then I began to think, perhaps it's too late.

Oh well, I'll always have Boulez. He's sort of trendy in a Gallic-cuddly-old-man sort of way, isn't he?




Jude said...

It's so interesting to read how your musical evolution occurred. I was almost the opposite, with no one in the household into classical European music, except me. It seems like one great advantage is you can now, with your adult ears, really go deliberately forward with learning all you can/want with new kinds of music! And developing your own take on a more coherent 'taste' :)

Mary R said...

Dear BB,
Like you, I feel I have big gaps in my musical knowledge... we lived out of the states when I was young, so neither my family nor I had exposure to lots of American classics. I once shocked a friend when I didn't know the Eagles sang a certain song... as for me, my engagement with music fluctuates through the years, and I'm so behind the times!

If Jane said...

oh...and in a car commercial...(drats!)
but really..does it matter? ;)) (oh and a secret...i just started listening to the beatles, it has been only about 5 years...yep!)

Anonymous said...

Luckily, we are all old enough to carry retro-cool with style! no need at all to know the latest music fads.
PS hope you understand my bad English, feel free to edit!

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

I like Phoenix- also like Jefferson Airplane (70's)

Bombay Beauty said...

Jude - this is true - at this age one can follow one's own path (even if that led me once to a concert filled with teens!)

Mary - good to know I know I am not alone! The good thing with music is that old can become new again!

Jane - say it ain't so! beetles are great - for some reason, one of those bands whose music often appeals to people who like classical music...

Mia - I hear you! I think you're right - we are getting to age where liking what one likes isn't bad, as long as one does it with style!

Ren - many thanks - will look into Jefferson Airplane...



Pop Champagne said...

this is nice to hear, hmm honestly my weekend job is that I work for the top 40 radio station and so I have to listen to it... and most of it is garbage! my actual musical taste is out of style too I guess lol I like 90's rock

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