Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Post About Music

This week's assignment is to talk about our music preferences and pick a song that illustrates those preferences. This is difficult for me - I'm a lot less knowledgeable about my music tastes than about TV, movies, or books. I grew up with - and have played and sung - a lot of classical music, so I often like that. With pop music, I tend to like things more as they become more familiar, and there's not a lot that I really don't like. I will often think I really like a song without ever bothering to really listen to the lyrics, and then feel disappointed when I actually learn what it's about... I tend to like things with tight harmonies, clever lyrics, and/or catchy melodies. My main Pandora station is seeded with people like Coldplay, U2, Dar Williams, and Dido.

I definitely have emotional associations with a lot of different music. There are certain songs that I associate with particular periods in life because they were playing on the radio a lot at that time. For example, I might not usually care for a song like "Meet Virginia" by Train, but it was on the radio my senior year in college so I always think fondly of my dorm room when I hear it. And one of my friends in Peace Corps had Dido's album No Angel, so when I hear songs from that album I usually think of the dilapidated CD player we had at our house.

One song I picked to exemplify my musical tastes is "Young James Dean" from Girlyman's Little Star album. Back in 2005 or so, my roommate and I got tickets to a Dar Williams concert (I think it was at Macalester or something). I almost never go to concerts, but my roommate loved Dar Williams (she's from Iowa, though of course that's not the only reason) and I liked what I'd heard of her, so I was happy to go. But before she came onstage, this band called Girlyman opened for her. We were a little skeptical at first, but they totally won us over with their energy, charisma, tight harmonies, and clever lyrics (as I mentioned, things I tend to like in my music groups). So I actually bought their CD! And now every time I hear one of their songs, I remember the great time we had at that concert.

This particular song has interesting lyrics and imagery, plus great harmonies and a catchy tune. Here are the lyrics (sorry I can't link to the full song - the band only has samples posted online). (Note that there's an added dimension of complexity because the song is sung by a woman).

In the back of a camouflage truck
They locked me in once with the materiel
I was full of a rage no one could handle
I was a private in the army
All the real girls with their backs turned called me crazy
Called me crazy

I worked for a while at a diner
Manager said I had to wear that little uniform
Said I was part of the problem
But I was in love with that blonde girl
She kissed me twice behind the counter
But when I asked her to get into my car
She called her man, said 'don't bother her'
She called her man, said 'don't bother her'

I guess I'll feel less than real all my life
With these feathers I made
Under me lifting me up
But I was a young James Dean
With a way with ladies
All the real boys in their black jeans called me crazy
Called me crazy
Called me crazy
Called me crazy

I could go on and on, or write a whole other post about musical theater, but I won't (at least not for now).

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