18 December 2008

Just cuz you listen to music...

Here's a confession... one that I freely make. It doesn't come at the cost of an investigative report to expose my dealings in some shady business deal or from a Senate inquiry into my past.

Here it is: I'm not a music expert.

You heard that right, I'm not a music expert.

Do I love music? Greatly! Do I know something about music? Enough to get me into trouble.

Just because I have created a music blog and I like to share with you my personal insights an expert that doth not make!

Will this stop me sharing my opinions? No. There are quite a few people out there who have tastes that are contrary to mine, and that's wonderful! One of the best "musical relationships" I've had in a long time has come over the past two years. We were co-workers and he taught a class called "Music in Society." He encouraged me to take it and because of him I gained a respect for Brandon at Properly Chilled and Chris from Beauty's Confusion. (Who both helped me tremendously on a project about downtempo, triphop and chillout music. Chris is now in a group called and then static since Beauty's Confusion is no more). This guy I would put into an expert position! He has books and books on the subject, his iPod is bulging and his knowledge, combined with the ways he juxtaposes it upon the topic, are immense. We would get into conversations about protest music of today versus the 60s. We would share great bands together and he'd teach me about others that I should listen to. There were times in his class where I'd be the only one to contribute because others would be stumped. All in all: it was great!

Did we agree all the time? No! Especially about Johnny Cash.

Here's what I'm saying, he wasn't willing to belittle you because you clashed with his ideas (unless you are far off the mark, he wouldn't belittle you. He would just say, "Awww, c'mon" and laugh). He would tell you they were not a favorite of his, and I can handle that (No, this isn't a hagiography! Just giving credit where credit is due).

This brings me to another story from my past. After swim class, this one individual was talking about music and I mentioned some bands I like (Cowboy Mouth and Old 97s... cowpunk music). Well, he didn't know about those groups (he's a post-punk, emo fan) and after I informed him of their unique style of music thinking he might be interested, he almost came unglued towards me. "Those two styles of music shouldn't be put together," he insisted. Boy, was I sorry I mentioned it (REGRET ALERT: I've done this a couple of times... more in a passive agressive way, hence me not calling myself an expert... for sake of argument - just becaue you do belittle a person doesn't mean you're NOT an expert. Here it seemed (yes, judgement statement) he was trying to promote his grasp of the subject when he wasn't willing to see other pastures. If he said, "I'm not sure about that," I can handle that!).

He shared with us one day his feelings about a certain post-punk group (which I can't remember today) and how they wrote great music. (OPINION ALERT) In my mind I couldn't help but smirk/laugh. I'm sure they write good music, at least to him. To me, how can you compare this group to people such as Johnny Cash (sorry, Bryce), Kris Kristofferson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson ("Tears of a Clown"), etc., etc., etc.? My list may not go very far, but we are comparing two leagues: Single A and Hall of Famers.

I mentioned earlier that I was a product of the early 90s rock scene. Let me add in that I also grew up on oldies. I was asked in High School who my favorite group was, and at that time it was Simon and Garfunkel. (It later became the Hollies - "Bus Stop" is such a catchy tune, and eventually landed on Our Lady Peace). My parents would listen to an Oldies station every time we were in the car which led me to know Elvis Presley, the Royal Guardsman, the Byrds, the Guess Who, and other great bands. Some days I can give you the names of these groups in seconds. Others, I have to wait and see.

So, I do know a little bit... as I said earlier - enough to get me into trouble.

Here's the point I'm getting at: there's a difference between being knowledgeable and just listening to music; being a child of fads and a fan of the art. I could be wrong about the second individual. I'm willing to admit that. When you laugh at someone for their points, and your tone is one of condescention... it tends to speak volumes. It also speaks volumes when you are willing to listen to others and their opinions and just go "right on" and let that be.

I guess I need to listen to Malcolm Gladwell more and stop making unrealistic quick moment judgements that will get me into trouble.

With all of this said: I'm no expert. If you disagree with me, wonderful! Through this blog, I hope you get a taste of some of the musical genres I enjoy. You never know, you may find something you like.

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